Yesterday I biked from my house to Lost Lake, near Mt Hood. The route I took was about 65 miles, and it took me 9 hours. I left the house at 8am to give myself plenty of time in case of flat tires or bear attacks, and arrived at the campground shortly after 5pm. The journey was pretty definitively split into 4 sections:
1 Springwater Corridor
The Springwater Corridor is a multi-use trail built over a former railway. It was a really nice, peaceful place to ride, and it was the first time I saw Mt Hood since January.
Other than a narrowly-avoided altercation with a feral cat, the trail was fairly boring (it also led to Boring, OR).
2 Route 26, or the Mt Hood Highway
26 was ok I guess. Cars were fast but I had a huge shoulder, and sometimes a bike lane. Along the way I met another cyclist and we sort of leapfrogged a bit until our paths diverged. Crossing it was scary, but I had to turn left somehow.
3 Lolo Pass
The first half was hell. It was 6 miles uphill in the noon sun. I did get plenty of good scenery though:
There were a lot of twists and turns up the pass. The pictures in the next set are from a spot past the ridge you see in the previous photo.
This entire stretch of 6 miles was on average 5 or 10 degrees uphill. Also there was very little shade. Finally I hit the top of the pass, and the road turned to gravel:
The downhill gravel road was a good test for my new NorthSt panniers, and my tires. Thankfully I had no flats, no broken spokes, and no spilled gear.
4 Lost Lake Rd
When the gravel turned onto a paved logging road I got to do 5 miles of steep downhill, which was a lot of fun. Unfortunately I was descending into the valley, and had to climb out the other side again. The climb out wasn’t that long though. When I got back to a main road (Lost Lake Rd) I knew I was only 6 miles from camp. That 6 miles was even worse than the climb up Lolo Pass. Not only was it still very sunny, it was another windy, uphill road, and I was starting to get very tired. I got pretty frustrated: lakes are supposed to be downhill, especially when I’m coming from a mountain pass. I ended up walking most of the road into camp, but at the VERY end I got a little bit of downhill. I couldn’t figure out which campsite was ours, but there was a note on the camp’s bulletin board. I still wasn’t sure though, because I didn’t know the name of the person who reserved the site. I biked over anyway and I recognized Curtis’ truck by the cassette tapes on the front seat.
In all I drank 2 gallons of water, ate 2 Clif bars, 2 bags of jerky, 1 bag of trail mix, 2 pears and 2 chocolate bars, climbed over 5,700ft (total elevation climb. total elevation gain was just over 1,400ft), took 1 sponge bath, used 1-2 floz of sunscreen, and had 1 excellent weekend!
I originally planned to bike back, but (a) to backtrack through Lolo Pass would have meant 5 miles steep uphill followed by 3 miles uphill gravel, and (b) the alternate route along the Gorge would have been 80 miles, and I can only do 1 adventure per weekend. So I hitched a ride back with Curtis.
I’m hoping that I can start a routine of doing one long bike trip every weekend until the tour starts. We’ll see what happens.
PS: For all you data nerds I’ve exported my gps data in xml format, and shown here is the elevation profile of the route:
UPDATE: After a closer examination of my GPS and route data I’ve done a little more analysis. Here’s a spreadsheet of stuff I’ve come up with so far. Short version follows:
560 mins (9:20), 65.2 miles traversed, 6.99 mph avg velocity, 1470 ft gained, 5745 feet climbed
Note those charts should probably be step-graphs, but I couldn’t figure out how to make Google Spreadsheets do what I wanted. Also know that “climb” refers to just positive vertical movement, not the net positive and negative (ie up 30 ft then down 50 ft = climb 30 ft, gain -20 ft). It’s a significant portion of any personal effort model, since energy conversion from kinetic to GPE is very inefficient (especially as loaded as I was). I did notice a few times that although I was going downhill, I was slowing down. These internal losses will only get worse after I put on a hub dynamo.