Still riding out the Goldendale buzz, so much fun!
We arrived in town at around noon on Saturday, got our base of operations set up and got to marking the course. I brought Brooklynn along to help. She was great, anytime I needed someone to sleep in the passenger seat, or say “wow, look at that mountain” she took care of it. Marking took a bit longer than I expected, there’s lots of turns. We got back just in time to turn around and head out to the Windy Ridge Saloon for an Irish Death and early check in (in that order). Any excuse we can come up with to hang out at a cool bar with bike friends. After that it was off to bed. At 4 am I was up to do one last preview of the course (Brooklynn wasn’t interested in coming). I got back at about 7 and the ladies had reg all set up with not much left for me to do.
We got our speech out of the way and got started right on time at 9 am. Looking in my mirror at this mass of cyclists behind me as we roll through town is always one of my favorite parts of the day. From there I tried to be a little bit of everywhere, but not anywhere too much. It was a lot of fun seeing everyone out there enjoying the ride. It’s always a little scary with a new ride. I made it back to the finish line just in time to see the first rider of the day Rusty Dodge come in. Everyone looked pretty tired and at the end thanks to Horseshoe Bend climb, rollers on top of roller on top of rollers, and a little headwind for a bonus. The ladies at the Grange did a great job of feeding us, big thanks to them! Also to our Lyle aid station and Horseshoe Bend aid station volunteers. Great support from the community!
I am so dang excited to show off Goldendale! Don’t get me wrong, I love the “classics” like my home course of Ephrata, but there’s something special about a new ride, somewhere you’ve never ridden. With that said I’m almost reluctant to share my story. It’s kind of like when someone tells you the main character dies at the end of a book you’ve been wanting to read. Yeah, it’s actually a lot like that. But here goes… (more…)
What a weekend! We totally blew the poor Bistro up at early registration Saturday night. That was awesome! Sunday got rolling bright an early with our two unicyclist taking off at 6:45 am (crazy!). As we did our riders meeting and neared 9:00 reality set in of just how many cyclist 200 is.
Gran Fondo Ephrata is just days away and we can’t wait! And maybe, just maybe we are going to have nice weather. We don’t want to jinx it, but we may just break the curse this weekend. The course is in great shape and we are looking forward to a stellar ride. But that’s just Ephrata. In exactly one month we will be in Goldendale for what is an absolutely amazing ride (trust me). Less gravel, but more climbing and breathtaking views. We will be giving the t-shirts a rest there and have a sweet thermal cap instead. And don’t even get me started on Leavenworth and Winthrop. So much epic gravel awesomeness your head will spin! Let’s get this started, see you this weekend!
Gran Fondo Ephrata
I consider myself a mountain biker to the core. I enjoy all forms of cycling, but always feel most at home in the dirt. Lately I just haven’t been feeling it though. I raced all of the FTR last year, marked all of our courses, and pretty much spent a ton of time on my mountain bike. By the time fall came around I was ready for something different. I tried to be stoked for cx, but wasn’t. All I wanted to do was giant 80-90 mile gravel/forest service road rides. So I did. And it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I felt any mountain bike mojo. The upcoming Echo Red to Red race was just the jump start I needed. Well, some shiny new parts help too. I am building up my Trek Superfly Pro as a super light rigid single speed. It’s been a few years since I’ve been full on ss so I’m looking forward to that. I’m also scheming to possibly slip another mtb into the quiver sometime this season (don’t tell my wife!). As we roll into the Fat Tire Revolution I am excited to share some of the ideas I’ve been cooking up to hopefully build some mtb stoke and get more people out in the dirt! Until then I hope to see you in Echo.
Gran Fondo Ephrata is exactly one month out with only 27 spaces left (as of Feb. 16 at 10:30 pm) This will fill up soon, don’t wait! We’ve had a very mild winter here so far, thus allowing us lots of riding on gravel roads normally snowed in. Heck, I did the whole gfe course in early Jan which is pretty much unheard of. I believe all of this will make for a memorable Gran Fondo Ephrata this year. Good or bad… I don’t know, but memorable.
Gran Fondo Ephrata 2013
Here’s a nice write up from our friends at Cycle Central on the how this whole Vicious Cycle thing came about.
And check out what CyclingWEST has to say about the toughest seven gravel grinds in the west. Guess who made the list. Twice.
Well, I guess we knew this would come sooner or later. Winter that is. I say with much disdain. I know it’s good for the mountains, ski industry, farmers, and kids, but I’m none of those. What little bit of excitement I may get out of playing in the snow has pretty well passed by February. But really, I guess I should be thankful for just how mild things have been up until now. I’ve lucked out at work and got the house we’re building closed in so interior work can begin, and I’ve got a fair amount of riding it. In fact a couple of us even got out last weekend despite temps in the teens and new snow on the ground. It was definitely not the mileage we were hoping for, but all in all it was still a decent ride. The cold snow makes a very satisfying squeak under your tires and provides reasonably good traction. And it was way better that slaving away on a trainer!
Riding into the white abyss.
It seems everyone has something to say about this, I mean after all our own Seahawks are Superbowl Champions, what’s not to love? To be totally honest though, I’m already kinda sick of hearing about it so if you quit reading right now I won’t have hurt feelings, promise. This may come as a shock to you, but I don’t follow football. Nothing against it, I barely even follow pro cycling anymore. I don’t paint my face (or chest), I don’t critique plays, live via social media, and I don’t understand how people get so caught up in it, that there happiness is hinged upon the outcome of a game. I spent most of my Sunday on my bike. It felt good, so I even added a little extra to it. Yes, I did make it back for the game, not because I had to so I could paint a 12 on my chest (I don’t even know what that means) and eat Doritos and drink Bud Light. I watched it with my family. And I even enjoyed it.
After a three + week inversion of fog and low clouds we got our first peek of sunshine yesterday, and it was good! So we were excited to get out and ride today. Due to the recent snow fall we were headed south to begin our ride at Mardon, and from there head through the Seep Lake area for some gravel and the unknown. Unfortunately it soon became apparent that we would have no sunshine. It was going to be cloudy and cold. We rode across the O’Sullivan dam with a light breeze rolling right up our skirts from the frozen lake. Upping the tempo only upped the breeze. We made a right turn on an unmarked road into the Seep Lakes area. It was gravel and rough. In fact gravel could be bit generous, more like rocks with washboards. On the plus side the beating warmed us up.
Checking to see that we have not rattled loose any fillings.
We made it through, back on pavement and looped down through Othello, and what was apparently the bad side of town. We followed an irrigation canal adjacent to a “rough neighborhood” with a lot of angry dogs. From there we jumped on highway 26 for a jaunt then back north on another unmarked gravel road. This one was slightly better if for no other reason it was not frozen rock solid.
Riding through time on forgotten roads.
This road took us back into the Seep Lakes area where we were again pounded into submission. But just when we though we couldn’t take anymore we were saved. By sweet singletrack! This was the coolest part of the day, a nice little nature path in the middle of nowhere complete with informative trail side signage telling about the area. Ironically it ended up being way smoother than the road too.
After that it was back to the beating for a couple more miles of gravel and then the final push across O’Sullivan and back to Mardon “Resort” where we hit up the local hot spot for Beef Jerkey and an Oly. Can’t argue with that.