Finally, Fanno Ridge

Thanksgiving day was wet and dreary, and a session of uncontrolled gluttony loomed, so, undeterred by the weather, The Logging Road Cyclist hauled himself out of bed and headed off on his usual Holiday Escape. Gingerly pivoting around the corner at the bottom of his hill (where, during the Unfortunate Event of 12/31/11 he had incurred his comminuted fracture of the right acetabulum), he headed on out to Mary’s Peak and beyond. The final stretch of his ride over Cardwell Hill Rd. was a pleasant surprise: The Powers That Be had rocked and compacted what used to be a veritable swamp in the winter so that this steep finale to the ride was simply that, rather than a test to see if one could make it through the mud lakes that used to comprise the “road” here. He paused at the top to admire his mud spattered De Salvo, with its new TLRC-made “Rattle-Free” ™ fenders:

This bit of exercise was certainly worth the several pieces of pie TLRC allowed himself that evening.

TLRC was back in love with his cross bike. As exciting, promising and new as the Lynskey was, it was simply outmatched on the Logging Roads by the DeSalvo. The Fall maintenance program had put the latter into tip-top shape, and she rode without a sound, shifting almost at the thought.

Thus TLRC got back into an exploring mood and he resolved to right an old wrong. Last March he had attempted a loop out of Falls City via Fanno Ridge, from which he was chased, whimpering in chilled misery and confusion, by the dogs of winter. Well, Sunday was wintry, but at least it was dry and clear, so TLRC had high hopes that he could avoid both hypothermia and becoming lost, so he headed back.

He left Falls City on this sub-freezing morning, well equipped for the cold. The grind up to the pass above the Valsetz Triangle seemed both easy and not really tedious. Likely the scenery improved with sun:

or TLRC was simply at peace with his surroundings. On a clear day, one gets a great view of the Laurel Mtn Massif proper:

Riley Peak and Laurel Mtn from the Valsetz Rd.

He reached the base of the Fanno Ridge Road in good order and relative warmth, and headed into the unknown. In contrast to the last time here, there were spectacular views off the ridge

Looking over Valsetz Lake from Fanno Ridge.

The road climbed up into winter. Soon the riding got tricky, with apricot- to peach-sized rocks and various sticks and branches hiding beneath a thin layer of snow. Frost heaves grabbed tires, and icy sheets lurked in the shade. The wind came up and TLRC found himself in full gear with double gloves against the cold. His water bottles froze. The navigation was tricky enough to pose a challenge but not to cause incipient panic, although TLRC was acutely aware of how quickly hypothermia would get him in the event of any unpleasantness. He was happy: this was exciting riding.

Mt Hood beyond the Little Luckiamute, Rickreall Cr. and the Willamette.

Sugarloaf Mtn.

A fortuitous BLM road sign gave him a fix, and soon TLRC was in the well-known ground behind Riley Peak. The steep descent to Falls City soon took him out of the land of ice and back to firm riding and a warm drive home.

In spite of the massive cutting going on in this area, this is still a worthwhile ride.

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