Ride Around Tidbits Mtn.

Ever since The Logging Road Cyclist turned his attention to the Santiam-McKenzie divide, he has had his eye on this loop around Tidbits Mtn. Like the other rides in this area, it has beautiful forests, striking views both up into the High Cascades and down towards the Valley, and brutal climbs. This is a worthwhile loop, but eat your Wheaties for breakfast. At 46 miles and 10,000 feet of climbing, it takes some doing, and some energy. The ride starts in Canyon Cr., crosses to the upper reaches of the Calapooia, climbs up and over to the Blue River drainage, and then hauls itself back  to Canyon.

Navigation is blissfully simple: follow roads 2026, 2820, 1510,1509 and 2022 back to the start. At every critical junction there is a clear road sign. One could almost dispense with a map. It seems that the Willamette Forest is more fastidious about their signage than the Siuslaw, or perhaps the local fauna are just less inclined to steal or shoot to bits whatever signs the authorities choose to erect. The (for once) adequate road markings are a relief: the first ride around this loop took some serious insult to the Fundamental Axiom, given the long and steep nature of the descents one would have to reverse in the event of a retreat.

There are some pretty creeks along the way, the usual breathtaking steep canyons, and for TLRC on this trip, a cougar, who, having crossed the road in front of TLRC had stopped to sniff the daisies until he (TLRC) whistled, at which the cat took off. Of course, TLRC had to pedal up the hill past where the cat had taken off, always a bit unnerving, even knowing the cat was likely long gone.

This is an excellent and serious ride. Go do it!

Valley of the Calapooia, from the 2820 Rd., just prior to the cat.

A crucial junction, just post cat. Absent the unambiguous sign, TLRC might not have dropped off down this one. It’s a Long Way Down.

The steep country below the 1510. Tidbits Cr. in front, Blue River behind, Three Finger Jack somewhere back there.

Rhododendron Ridge Trail Ride

A couple of years ago when he did the Rhododendron Ridge Loop, The Logging Road Cyclist felt sad that he had no mountain bike with which to go back and explore the Rhododendron Ridge Trail. Well, he has now, and with shiny new red rims to boot. Thus the first real backcountry test of his wheel building skills was just that ride.

Granted, TLRC did not take the most rational approach to the RRT this time, but he was nostalgic for the Humbug Cr. start and the climb up the 4698 Rd, with it’s healthful climb and great views. He had forgotten just how steep it, and the final climb up to the Ridge actually were, and how much real MTB time they would consume. Next time, he will probably explore a couple of other sections of the RRT, and take a more direct start up the 6350 Rd., right off the pass between the Clackamas and Breitenbush.

This ride covered that part of the RRT between Cachebox Meadow and Graham Pass. It’s a nice and moderate sort of trail that even TLRC rode most of, walking the occasional steep-ish or rocky part, he ever mindful of incurring excessive fatigue on a hot day, or injury way out there by himself. There are spectacular views of the High Cascades,

Jefferson, Three Finger Jack and Washington from the Rhododendron Ridge Trail above Cachebox Meadows.

and lots of nice rhododendron-y forest:

From Graham Pass, it’s a pretty easy spin back in your middle and big rings along the 6350 with a lot of very nice views to the north.

St. Helens and Hood from the 6350.

Back at the pavement 9 miles of fast downhill lead back to the start. TLRC got up to nearly 40mph on his new wheels, and they were solid, dude, like being on a rail. He is coming back for more soon.



TLRC Pimps His Ride

Many have the impression that The Logging Road Cyclist is a mild-mannered, suburban milquetoast sort of fellow. This is certainly consistent with his retiring, perennially polite and self-effacing manner. Little do they know about the beast that lurks within.

For example, TLRC’s vehicle of choice is sensible and efficient, chosen for practicality rather than style:

In his dreams, though, is quite another thing:

But a dream is just that, and TLRC faces the fact that he has neither the courage nor the money to get the ride of his dreams, and he has to make do as he can.

Red Velocity Blunts laced onto Chris Kings

At least the reality has the same color wheels as the fantasy.

Latiwi Mtn- Old Santiam Wagon Rd.

Another Sunday found The Logging Road Cyclist huffing his way up another punishing climb out of the SF Santiam River. This time the climb was up the 2044 Rd out of House Rock, and at the top, 9 miles away, was TLRC’s new favorite road, the 1509 (“Backbone of the Sweethome RD”!). His goal was a new take on the Old Santiam Wagon road, whereby rather than use a car shuttle, he would ride it as a loop. The serious climbing ends at the junction of the 2044 and 1509, after which the ride rolls along the Santiam-McKenzie divide through beautiful forest and with great views to the High Cascades and some big peaks way out over by the Brietenbush.

The big climb is not without its charms, eg. Three Crrek:

which tumbles down out of wonderful forest on its way to Latiwi Cr. far below. After the 1509 junction, the ride gets easier and the real views start.

View back to last week’s objective,Tidbits Mtn.


Looking north off the 1509 towards big peaks above the Breitenbush.


Browder Ridge, etc.

The 1509  rolls along, passing beneath the face of Latiwi Mtn, on it’s way to the junction with the paved 15 Rd, after which it’s a piece of cake down to Tombstone and the Old Wagon Rd. Moderate single track varying from scruffy to beautiful takes one back to House Rock.

On the Old Wagon Road.

This 30 mile, 4700′ loop is certainly more strenuous than just riding the trail and doing a car shuttle, but the major 9-mile climb pays big dividends in terms of some exercise, lots of great views and some very nice Cascades forest.  A wonderful ride for a summers’ day!