Saturday, August 28, 2010

Biking in Oakridge, Oregon

After a week in Oregon, Helen had to head off to California for a workshop and conference. This was the main reason for us being in the country, actually. I dropped her off at the airport Wednesday morning and headed down to Oakridge, the self-proclaimed mountain biking capital of the Northwest.

By mid-day I was on the Middle Fork Trail, which follows the Middle Fork of the Willamette River. This is a really nice trail that rolls along the side of the beautiful river. It was great riding but very warm and I was struggling a bit. I managed to ride about 11 miles (18km) up the trail then turned around and came back. When I got back into town I discovered that it was 98°F or 37°C - no wonder I was struggling. The trail is 27 miles (43.4 km) in length so I still need to go back and finish it off.

Middle Fork of the Willamette

After realizing that I was even more hopeless than normal at riding uphill I decided to try and catch a shuttle up to the top of Alpine on Thursday. This turned out to be a really good idea. We met at 10am and $20 and one hour later I was near the top of the Alpine Trail. I wanted to amke sure I rode the entire length of the trail so instead of taking the easy left I turned right and rode up to the highest point of the trail. From there the trail turned downward and passed the Elk Camp Shelter. I didn't think the US had huts like we do in NZ, so this was a bit of a surprise to see.

Elk Camp Shelter

From the far end of the trail I had to ride firetrails back to where the shuttle dropped me off. This time I took the left turn and had a short climb to the top of Sourgrass Mountain. From here things headed down again and I was in heaven. Alpine Trail has some of the best singletrack I have ever ridden - it flows really well and is scary fast in places.

Alpine Trail singletrack

There are a few places where views open up along the trail. The picture below is a nice overlook of the town, with Diamond Peak in the background.

The town of Oakridge

After two days in Oakridge, I headed back to my parents. The next day I went for spin around Corvallis, the place I first started mountain biking. As I was riding along I realised that I started riding here 19 years ago. Wow, I am getting old...

Willamette Valley from the top of Dimple Hill

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