Written by donnie

The Oregon Outback – Guest Post by Matt

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We’re doing a series of guest posts by riders planning to tackle the Oregon Outback.  Look for a new post about every week or so as long as we keep getting them. 

·      Why are you doing the route?
I’ve been fortunate enough to have work (Brodie Bikes) support me in this endeavour, so that’s the full disclosure of me working for a bike company. Back in 2005, when I was a dumb trackbike/alleycat kid in Seattle, we used to come down to PDX to play mini bike polo and hit Zoobomb; it was always the hope that I would do more bike camping and racing. I’ve been serious about my CX and road racing, for Mighty Riders in Vancouver, and organizing for Vancouver Cyclocross Coalition. This sounded like the best way to really get a big trip in on a tested route and enjoy myself in the middle of the beautiful state of Oregon while not too far into the race season.
·      What is your goal, if any? (race, casual ride, etc.; how many days or hours)
Our plan is to ride casual – 3 days of riding, two nights of camping. It could change, say if we feel super hardcore, but the intent is for a bit of a sightseeing trip and to be in the woods.
·      What experience do you have doing ultra endurance races, multiday backcountry touring, and/or bikepacking?
My touring and multiday riding has been mostly road – things like one-day STP on trackbikes, riding through Yellowstone, 3x over the Great Divide and into Grand Teton with backpacks on road bikes, riding Seattle to Vancouver. I also have experience with stage racing (road) and multi-day road races. I will have two bike-packing trips under my belt by the time we do this!
·      What bike/tire combo are you planning to use?
The plan currently is to run the Brodie Monster – a monstercross bike with drops, 29er wheels, Tiagra grouppo. I’ll be switching out the stock Clement tires for some Kenda 2″ Slant Six tires, to handle the loose gravel. I could run it as a flatbar MTB, with 650b (it has sliding drops) and wider tires, but think the 2″ will do the job, and I’m pretty used to the drop bars.
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·      Other relevant gear choices
Scott at Porcelain Rocket did me up a beautiful pack setup; Mission Control handlebar bag and a custom single-compartment frame bag. It matches my existing saddle bag in white VX07 fabric, which looks rad and will show mud really well. I’m borrowing a SPOT from one of my Rando friend, Ryan, so people can be sure we’re moving.
·      Training plan
I’ve been training already for the road and cyclocross season with about 250-300km a week. We’ve hit Spring Series here in Vancouver, so we’re putting in some fast 115K days doing the road races, and some MTBing in the woods to keep us sane. There are two tester trips planned, one on Vancouver Island, from Nanaimo towards Nanaimo Lakes and around Lake Cowichan to Duncan or Victoria, and the other might be Sunshine Coast or Interior BC. This is more for the gear choice than for the legs… every day is leg day.
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I am excited you guys put this together, and though the response to it was overwhelming, it’s certainly a great sign that people are willing to test themselves and get out there and enjoy the wilds.
See you on the trail!
matt “meat” hornland

The Oregon Outback – Guest Post by Maria

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We’re doing a series of guest posts by riders planning to tackle the Oregon Outback in May.  Look for a new post about every week or so as long as we keep getting them.  Note – don’t let Maria’s wit and pink front basket fool you – she’s ridden the Rapture and Stampede and is tough as nails.  While I expect to be cursed out afterwards for how hard the route was, I have no doubts she’ll crush it.  Enjoy!

-Words and photos by Maria.


Preparing for a 360 mile, mostly off-road, totally self-supported, two-wheeled adventure called The Oregon Outback may be as hard as the ride itself will be.  My method has been to chip away at it slowly, ask for advice, spend money, and, think.  Yes, just thinking about what to expect may help. Read more →

Dalles Mountain N°5

Five years, five great runnings of the Dalles Mountain 60 solidly in the books.  This ride always serves as a reminder to me about just how good rural gravel can be – it doesn’t get much better than Dalles Mountain Road and feisty Old Moody.  Oregon is blessed with thousands of miles of good dirt and gravel and we hope this experience helps push you along the path of finding ever better, ever more remote roads to explore – like it did for us many years ago.

Special thanks 21st Avenue Bikes, Chris King Precision Components, Wabi Woolens and Sugar Wheel Works.  They support us, thereby making rides like this possible for you.  We encourage you to return the favor.  We also want to give a special shout out to The Dalles’ Burgerville, which gave out coupons to riders before we got started.  I am particularly stoked to see the local community embrace us rather then send us packing.  That was very, very cool.

Please feel free to add links to photos, write-ups, etc. in the comments below.  And hopefully we’ll be seeing the shots from Asylum Cycles soon – they were the ones out shooting photos throughout the day.

Many thanks to you all for making these rides so much fun!


ps.  Liked the route?  We’ll be posting new routes, one per week, from now until we run out of them.  Keep an eye on the “Routes” section and the “Blog” for weekly updates.

Bunyan Velo – Issue #4


Once again we’re honored to be part of Bunyan Velo’s fantastic, and free, online magazine.  Look for Gabe’s article “It’s Always Sunny in The Dalles” and Donnie’s collaboration with Daniel Powell on fatbiking the Oregon Dunes.

Lucas puts a huge amount of work into each quarterly issue and it shows.  Big, big thanks to Lucas.


Bikepacking Seminar – February 27, 2014 @ Chris King


With support from 21st Avenue Bikes and Chris King Precision Components, we’re putting on a bikepacking seminar on February 27th, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.  We’ll be talking about bikes, different types of bikepacking setups, camping gear, etc.  We’ll also be talking about routes, navigation, electronics, and DIY gear.   We’ll have plenty of time for Q&A, so bring your questions.

We’ll have plenty of sample rigs on display, including Surly’s ECR, Ogre, Karate Monkey and Pugsley, Salsa’s el Mariachi, Fargo and Warbird, a custom Ti DeSalvo 29er and bikepacking gear from Revelate Designs and Porcelain Rocket to check out.

The seminar is free and so is the beer.  Come on down and bullshit with us about bikes.  If you have any questions, drop us a line:



The Oregon Outback – Guest Post by Michael McCullough


We’re doing a series of guest posts by riders planning to tackle the Oregon Outback in May.  Look for a new post about every week or so.  Of note – Michael was involved in the creation of the OC&E Trail, which makes up the first 70 miles or so of the Outback route.  Enjoy!

-Words and photos by Michael McCullough.

I am considering participating in the 2014 Oregon Outback bike tour. I love the concept – it is a 360 mile unsupported bike tour, most of which is on remote dirt roads (and trails) in the barely populated Eastern part of Oregon (commonly referred to as Oregon’s Outback).

The best part is that the beginning of the ride, the first seventy five miles or so, is on the OC&E Woods Line State Trail – a 100 mile long Rails to Trails project that is a long, narrow Oregon State Park. Read more →

Christopher Skogen on the Almanzo 100


Christopher Skogen is the brains behind the Almanzo 100, the biggest gravel “ride” in the U.S.  He sets the bar higher than anyone, leaving the rest of us looking up to him and what he’s accomplished.  I’ve admired Mr. Almanzo for years and continue to be inspired by him.   Here is a short diatribe he posted on Facebook recently, which he granted permission to reproduce here.  As a fellow outsider to the bike industry and someone who struggles with many of the same issues, I enjoyed this.  Hope you do as well.

Words by Christopher Skogen:

By my estimate there is a lot of money to be made in the circles that are gravel road cycling. Having had a front row seat to the changes that have unfolded, I’d like to believe I’m somewhat of an expert on the situation. Expert or not, money is being made and I’ve found that it really isn’t my bag. I didn’t start Almanzo because I’m a capitalist. I didn’t start it to gain fame and notoriety. I started it because I thought the world needed something different. When this all got going (as I’ve mentioned a few times before) I thought there were enough pay-to-play events so I added one that didn’t cost anything. I added one that I thought would feel just like a pay event without all the bullshit.

Read more →

The Oregon Outback – Guest Post by Ryan King


We’re doing a series of guest posts by riders planning to tackle the Oregon Outback in May.  Look for a new post about every week or so.  Enjoy!

-Words and photos by Ryan King.

Sometimes, things in life just make sense.  These are the things we do because we have to, not because we know why.  Sometimes, these things aren’t really all that sensible but we’re driven toward them anyway. When a dream, scheme or idea gets in your head like a song you can’t stop humming, sometimes it must be pursued to its conclusion for good or ill, regardless of rationality, profitability or cost-benefit analysis.  Such is my relationship with the Oregon Outback.

Read more →

A Healthy Rant


So… apparently the demand for a cross-state gravel race/ride is off the charts.  We originally anticipated getting 50-75 people total, but apparently there are hundreds and hundreds of you out there.  That’s super rad, but it also poses a huge problem:  the route cannot handle that kind of traffic.  Part of the reason we love this route and selected it was because the services are limited – there are very few places to buy food, snacks, get water, etc. along the route.  It’s perfect for probably 100 people at one time, maybe a bit more, before it’ll become a shit show and it’ll lose its charm.

So… we closed “registration” because the number of people who want to ride far exceeds the number of people we think the route can reasonably handle at one time.  Yes, we get this is a free event and you could just show up and that “registration” doesn’t really mean anything.  However, given the grossly overwhelming demand, if everyone who wanted to show up actually did, chaos would reign and it would end up sucking for lots of you.   We don’t want that.  You don’t want that.

So… we kindly ask that if you really really want to do this route and aren’t already “registered”, that you go do it another weekend.  The route is ride-able a large part of the year (skip winter, early spring and the high-summer), and there’s literally nothing stopping you from riding this any other time.   We actually encourage it – the route is amazing and we think it deserves a lot of traffic.  However, we just ask that you respect us and all our hard work and not just show up on May 23rd if you’re not already “registered”.  Everyone will appreciate it.

And lastly… please don’t email us to try and get on the list.  If I let you, I have to let everyone.  And I can’t do that.  Go ride the route some other time or wait until next time around – we’ll do this again, I promise.  AND – if we get enough people who decide not to ride, we’ll open it back up again.

Thank you all for your awesome support, crazy enthusiasm, and respect.




The Oregon Stampede in Dirt Rag Magazine

I have to admit that all the attention we’ve been getting for the Oregon Outback is really really nice.  Folks are stoked and the response thus far has been outstanding.  However, I just want to point out to those new to VeloDirt that this ain’t our first rodeo – we’ve been doing this for years.  Proof can be found in the the new issue of Dirt Rag, where author Morgan Coleman teams up with one our favorite people, Ryan King, to give a brief account of last year’s Oregon Stampede.   You’ll have to track down your own copy to see the goods.