|The South Fork of the Trask River|
First, a little background. If you've read this blog before, you've probably seen something about Velo Dirt. The VD (haha, VD) gang inaugurated the Rapture route a few years ago to coincide with one of the many "end of the worlds" various lunatics are always forecasting. Unsurprisingly, the world didn't end, but a small group of dedicated cyclists did ride their asses off in the Coast Range. I had done the Dalles Mountain last year, and after riding quite a bit this spring, I was thirsty for a new challenge. In the Rapture, I got it in spades. I somehow convinced Senior Chilidog, and Dik Dik Tracy (aka D-Bone, aka Dime Bag) to accompany me on this foolhardy and potentially suicidal venture. The route is tough, around 70 miles in length with over 7,000 feet of elevation gain, virtually all of it on gravel roads. What adds an extra degree of challenge is the remoteness. Unlike other VD (haha, VD. That just doesn't get old) rides, you don't pass any convenience stores or restaurants, and hardly even any houses. You are really on your own, responsible for carrying anything the ride might call for, including of course food and water but also anything that might be required to keep your bike rolling through some pretty deep and rough gravel roads.
|Girding our loins for battle.|
|Donnie from Velo Dirt putting the fear of God into us.|
|Just getting started. If you look close, you can see the nice deep gravel on the shoulder.|
|Halfway up the initial climb.|
|Still halfway, but this time looking uphill. The ridge to the left is where we end up.|
|The top, more or less.|
|This gate marked the bottom of the descent and our return to public lands.|
|Sr. Chilidog coming in for a landing.|
|The boys, making some water safe for democracy.|
|How's that for mountain fresh?|
|The road ahead.|
|82 degrees and blue sky in May?|
|Barney Reservoir, looking southwest. After this I was too tired to take any more pictures.|
Finally, we re-emerged onto the pavement like dusty butterflies bursting forth from a gritty chrysalis. The asphalt was even more blissful than before because it descended gently, allowing me to take my hands off the bars and stretch my aching back. We found the turn for the bypass, and limped back to the Flying M. It was 6 pm. The final tally was 8 hours total, with 6.5 hours moving time and about 63 miles total. I found myself thinking "what the fuck were we doing for that hour and a half we weren't riding?" it certainly didn't feel like we spent that much time off the bike.
Our timing was good, because the food came off the barbecue right after we arrived. That didn't stop us from getting milkshakes at Burgerville on the way home.