Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Gravel Practice

I was treated to two gorgeous rides in the Willamette Valley over the weekend. The plan was to ride about 20 to 25 miles each time for the purposes of exercise and exploration.

To my delight and surprise, the first route led to a gravelly road, Robison (or Robinson, depending on which direction you approached from!). I got in about four textured miles before my "deadline" to turn back.
On the return trip, I noticed a sign for Coffin Butte road and behind it, a giant rectangular-topped butte. I vowed to return and climb it on the following ride.

Fast forward two days and several gingerbread cookies later. This time the road was wet, there was a thick fog and I expected fanged deer to leap out at me from behind every bush.

Coffin Butte turned out to be a landfill covered with no trespassing signs. I turned into a gated drive labelled "dead end", rode past the "dead end 1/2 mile", the "dead end 1/4 mile" and finally to the dead end.

The road led to a small bridge, passable only by bikes and squirrels, then a lot of leafy muck and blackberry brambles. Just when I thought I'd have to turn back, I spied some gravel ahead, which finally gave way to a hard-packed dirt road.

So, without road signs or a map or any visibility whatsoever, I forged ahead. The dirt changed back to gravel. Finally I encountered a road sign - my old friend Robison - and put in a total of 6 or 7 gravelly miles before returning to pavement and "civilization".

I am now feeling ready to unleash some bravery on the Velodirt 2012 rides. Look out world!

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