I found a nemesis that day - Old Moody Road. This gravel and dirt road, although beautiful at the top, is steep going up. I had to walk, and it wouldn't be the last time. On my first real gravel grinder ride, the 2012 Velodirt Dalles Mt 60, I walked up Old Moody again. And I'd continue walking up Old Moody the next several times I encountered it.
We rode together as a giant peleton, crossing the Columbia and spreading out along the first dirt climb on the Dalles Mountain Road. Unlike past years, I kept up with the fast kids. A few people passed me, but I also passed a few people. It's not a race and it's silly to compare oneself to other riders, but it sure felt good to ride fast and strong.
Now for the descent. I wasn't scared at all, not even for one second. I flew down the hill at 30 miles per hour with complete confidence. The AX (my new cyclocross bike - the Focus Mares A.X. 3.0) is a dynamo. The Panaracer T-Servs (32s!) felt like a favorite pair of worn-in sneakers. Reliable and comfortable.
When the gravel ended, I actually felt disappointed. But I took comfort knowing the loops awaited. Unfortunately, access was denied angrily by a selfish hording hillbilly standing in his front yard screaming and swearing and spitting all over the place. It occurred to me how this poor schmuck and Donnie are the exact opposites. Donnie shares. He finds beautiful amazing adventures and tells people about them.
Old Moody's beauty cannot be beaten. From the top of the ridge, you can see forever and forever looks pretty fantastic. The weather was also pretty fantastic. I spent the day riding with The Kid, who asked that I change his nickname to The Pirate, and we had a glorious time.
Rolling into the Dalles, I felt a single raindrop on my cheek. We found a place for a beer and ran into other riders there, two of whom are actual readers of my blog (hi Bob, hi Kevin!). The drive back to Portland was so wet it was scary. What a different day we would've had if the rain came earlier.