Massif Traverse

The first ride of Spring was an old project that had lain dormant for a long time. Since first coming to ride in the Laurel Mountain Massif, The Logging Road Cyclist had had an eye on a traverse right across, from the Siletz North Fork to Falls City. His old riding buddy D. had also had a jones for this one, but they just never got to it. Having scoped out the S Line road during the winter the last piece fell into place and TLRC had a big loop to do just the way he liked them: a set of pieces that he knew well enough to put it all together without glancing at a map.

This ride is moderately long, moderately hard, and is a good introduction to serious Coast Range riding. It has a couple of big climbs that are not inordinately abusive, reasonably easy navigation, and a real sense of the isolation available out there. One gets a feel for the size of the Massif: It’s 25 miles from Falls City to the start of the traverse back at the base of the S Line, and then a solid 20 miles over the Massif, most of which is behind locked gates. If something happens, no one is going to come and get you, and even the sections along the Valsetz and North Fork Roads are only lightly travelled.

On this ride, there was a nice display of the Coast Range aesthetic. On his way into Falls City and the Post Office parking lot, TLRC saw an older gent in a small and beat-up pickup pull up in from of the store. He had a huge, rufous dog riding shotgun. TLRC was puzzling over what breed this might be when he suddenly realized this was no canine but rather a goat! A while later, grinding up the Valsetz grade he found yet another wonderful display of art loggeaux:

Oregon’s Spectacular Coast Range where Industry and Art blend harmoniously.

The weather was supposed to be reasonable, and it was up to the pass, but beyond into the Valsetz Triangle a steady soaking rain greeted TLRC.

Spring in The Triangle

The weather got back to tolerable, even pleasant up the North Fork, enough so that some nice views into the steep canyon that hold Boulder Creek were obtained.

Looking over the Boulder-NF Siletz confluence.

Looking up Boulder Creek.

TLRC felt he understood how timber prices were fairing lately. There are some truly appalling new clear cuts, even by Massif standards.


Blog Lacunae: Regretted, Adumbrated

 Every fucking night, I, that could cut a throat and sleep the sleep of the just, spend six fucking wakings trying to fill a piss-pot with my dribble and wondering when I got to be so old. – Al Swearengen

Early last Fall, The Logging Road Cyclist was paid a visit by his Little Sister, The Machine. A cyclist since her teens, she rides circles around TLRC, and a ride with her is akin to running with a faithful dog who sprints ahead out of sheer exuberance, and then, feeling guilty at leaving the pathetic and slow one behind, zooms back to check on him.

TLRC had lured her to Oregon by the prospect of an adventure down the upper part of the Middle Willamette trail. TLRC had ridden the lower parts, below Sacandaga, and was anxious to ride down from Indigo Lake.  He had considered self-shuttling by bike, but since the trail was unknown to him, and the climb to Timponagas long and steep, he thought it better to car shuttle it, at least the first time.

The Machine scoffed a bit at this, and, while consenting to use two cars, she allowed, after the first few miles down the trail, as to how she might just go ahead and do the shuttle herself by bike, just so as to be sure to get enough exercise for the day, since the trail was, after all “all downhill”.

Well, of course it isn’t all downhill, and in fact the trail has a surprising amount of rather brutal “uphill”. A few hours later when asked if she still intended to ride back to the car herself  The Machine (never one to shrink from her delusions) declared: “Well, that was a blowhard statement.”

On this trip, TLRC and LSTM met their heroes for life at Campers Flat.

Vicki, Manfred, Otto, LSTM

Otto and Manfred, German expats who were in at least their mid-seventies were installed at Camper’s Flat in their mini-RVs. Manfred’s bike, a fully tricked out Ibis with dropper post lounged against a tree. Manfred was down from WA, and Otto up from CA had hooked up for their annual OR MTB trip. Manfred had just spent a week or so riding around Bend. These guys were old enough to make the siblings feel like kids, and they (the sibs) were in awe that these guys were still at it. M&O commented on how tough the sibs were in that they were still sleeping on the ground. This was nothing, thought the sibs, and for the rest of the trip they reflected on how amazing it was that M&O were still out thrashing around.

The sibs were directing towards their elders what TLRC often gets from the kidz whom he occasionally rides with. They (at 35-40) seem amazed that TLRC is still at it at his advanced age.

TLRC is learning what it takes to stick with it, and he will here share the secret: Stuff on your person breaks and one simply has to do whatever it takes to get it fixed, or find a workaround. It takes persistence. Sometimes it takes rest. Sometimes you just have to quit something to save something else. Hence Blog Lacunae.

Through simple attrition TLRC has had to quit most of what he used to do for fun and fitness. Shoulder gone: no more kayaking or mad Ninja skillz. Hips scoured: no more runs through forest or desert. Feet: problematic, no more rock shoes. TLRC sometimes feels like he’s been hunted down into a corner and cycling is what’s left, so when that is threatened, he gets pretty upset, especially since low exercise means low cookie intake. This is aging, kids, and it isn’t dramatic, it’s petty and niggling and leaves one feeling sorry for one’s self while others of your cohort suffer from some real, honest, serious stuff that they did not bring upon themselves (cf. TLRC’s former lifestyles) while you can’t ride as much as you want to. Add self-dislike to your mild depression.

At times like these, TLRC usually begins a frantic round of visits to orthopedists, PT’s, acupuncturists (but never podiatrists), followed by a period of gingerly feeling his way back into form, noting to himself that he has been worse hurt before and hardly thinks about that now, and finally just gets back to it. The present round, maybe dicky feet, maybe a bit of a disk problem, who knows, has left TLRC to ride a bit. In this circumstance, he loses interest in the blog. No riding to note, no riding noted. While he has been out, e.g. on Feagles Cr. on a spectacular winter’s day

Prairie Mtn looms above Alsea as seen from Yew Cr. Rd.

and back out behind Praire Mtn on the biggest rain day in two months

these were tentative outings, and not the explorations TLRC likes to document here. Being in his usual final stage of just getting on with it, he hopes to take up keyboard and exploring both again now.