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The Oregon Stampede – September 6, 2014 – 7:00 a.m.


Welcome to the first, final, and only update for this year’s running of the Oregon Stampede!!!

We’re working hard getting our spurs polished and the beer lined up for the big day.  However, before we get into the details, let me tell you what this is NOT.  This is not a bike race, bike event, or anything similar.  It is a fully self-supported ride.  We are not responsible for you whatsoever, either before, during or after your ride.  You are riding as an individual.  That means YOU are responsible for YOU.  No one else is responsible for you, especially not us.  If you get lost, hurt, can’t finish, or your bike breaks down, you must take care it yourself.  Under no circumstances are we responsible for helping you out, rescuing you, etc.  You should have an emergency contact who know where you are going in case you do not return.
Note: Because this is not a race, event, etc., there is no registration.  Just show up if you want to ride.


When:  Saturday, September 6, 2014 – 7:00 a.m.
Where:  Deschutes River State Rec Area
Biking:  127 miles, 60% dirt, 9,000 ft of climbing
GPS & additional route beta from Oregon Bikepacking
Drinking:  As always – we’ll have a keg of beer
Camping:  Camping is available the night before and night of – September 5 & 6 – see below


UPDATE:  The market in Grass Valley is closed down.  So is the gas station.  The only Grass Valley option is a small cafe, but it closes at ~3pm in Saturday.  Obviously this will cause problems for most people.  You therefore have TWO OPTIONS:  1)  bring everything you need for the rest of the route from Tygh Valley; or 2) re-route into Moro.  Moro has a small convenience store – Huskey’s Market & Deli.  They are a CASH ONLY business and are only open until 6pm on Saturday.

We will be using the official Oregon Bikepacking version of the route.  You are welcome to leave the route to utilize services in Grass Valley and Moro, to the extent necessary.

We MAY run the route backwards this year mostly because of the lack of services towards the end of the route.  This would make the services a little more logically spaced.   If you feel strongly about this, one way or the other, let us know.  We’re still kicking the tires on this idea.

PLEASE NOTE:  We do not bring copies of the cue sheet or maps for you.


We’ve reserved three group campsites at the Deschutes River State Rec Area for September 5th and 6th.   We have room for 75 people each night.  If you want to camp with us, you must email me your name/s and which night/s – we’ll give preference to folks camping both nights.   I’m fine with non-riding friends and family camping with us as long as it’s not a big group.  Camping with us is $5/night per person.  Email us at

The 75 person maximum for our group campsite is not negotiable.  And as a note – the entire campground is booked solid that weekend.


*  Group spots A, C & D down near the end of the park road.

*  There are very nice, free showers along with sinks, drinking water, etc.  The showers and flush toilets are over in the RV section.

*  Parking is IN the group spots, along with all our tents, etc.  We are going to have a full house, so please pack in accordingly and carpool to the extent you can.  They are picky about where/how you park and where you set up tents, so you may be asked to move.

*  There are no fires allowed right now – we’re deep in the heart of fire season.  They do allow charcoal for grilling.

*  They usually sell ice and firewood at the campground.  I assume they still do, but if not, Biggs is 5 miles down the road.

*  The area under the willow trees is reserved.  That area is mine…


The sun sets at ~7:35 p.m. on September 6, 2014.  If you plan on taking more than 12+ hours to complete your ride, bring appropriate lights.   The final descent down Gordon Ridge and Fulton Canyon is not fun in the dark.


II want to remind everyone that this is a completely self-supported ride.  So the following apply:

*  You are totally responsible for yourself.  Under no circumstances are we responsible for anything you do or anything that happens to you before/during/after the race.

*  This is not a bike race or bike event.  This is just a bike ride. There will be no one associated with VeloDirt to assist you at anytime, whatever your circumstance.  There is no sag wagon; there is no mechanical assistance; there is no medical assistance.  In some cases, there is not even cell phone coverage in the event of an emergency.  Just as if you rode this route all on your own (which you are doing…) – you have to be able to get yourself out of any jams you get yourself into.

*  There are commercial services available at mile 40, 65 and ~105 (this one is off route).  Bring money – that shit’s not free.

*  Bring spares, patch kits, pumps, etc.   Know how to use them…


The course is primarily made up of good quality gravel roads and pavement.  However, one 4-mile section of the course consists of an unmaintained dirt road.  This road contains steep grades; sections of loose shale; sections of loose baby-head to goat-head sized rocks; small rock drop-off and ledges; loose sand; and at least one water-crossing.  This section will require significant bike-handling skills to navigate safely.  In addition, this section of the course is very remote and sees very little traffic.  If you get injured or suffer a mechanical, you will have to walk to the nearest road before you can receive assistance.  Cell phone coverage is poor/non-existent in this area.  You’ve been warned.


If you are camping, you’ll be parking in the group campsite.   If you are just staying for the day, note that the Rec Area charges $5/day for parking unless you are camping.   Bring cash.


And last, but not least – BEER.   We will of course have our customary keg-o-beer at the finish line and tap into it the night before as well.


Revelate Designs

It’d be really hard not to love Revelate Designs.  I’ve been riding with their stuff since I first got into bikepacking many years ago.  Despite the abuse, my original bags are still going strong.  So I jumped at the recent chance to bring Revelate into the VeloDirt family as our latest sponsor.  The fit is pretty perfect – as our shop sponsor 21st Avenue Bikes is a stocking Revelate dealer.  And for those of you in Oregon who are into buying “local”, most (all?) of his bags are hand sewn right here in Oregon.

Big thanks to Revelate for helping us keep the dream alive here at VeloDirt.


Breadwinner’s B-Road

Here’s the video James Wilson put together for Ira and Tony at Breadwinner Cycles about Ira’s experience at the recent Oregon Outback.   Great work to all three of these fine gents!


Breadwinner B-Road and the Outback from Breadwinner Cycles on Vimeo.

The Oregon Outback 2014 – In Aggregate


Well that was one wild ride…  I’m exhausted both mentally and physically and frankly, I’m ready to move on from talking about the Oregon Outback.  But before I do, I wanted to do a quick recap and begin aggregating links to photos, stories, etc.  While I tongue-in-cheek quoted someone else saying that this was going to be the “most well documented bikepacking event ever”, it’d be hard to deny it now.  There were enough video crews, professional photographers, writers, bike fabricators, and industry folks mixed in with the rest of us normal people that nothing happened that wasn’t documented to the n’th degree.   And if you missed the live show on Instagram, I highly recommend going back and looking through the 1,200+ photos posted under #oregonoutback.   It was wicked fun following along with everyone before and during their rides.  So there’s that.   And it’s admittedly all pretty rad.

I had a few comments I wanted to include without going into too many details.  First, Amtrak was great.  They were super friendly and cooperative and made sure everyone was able to get their bikes and gear on the train.  They even went so far as to put everyone coming down from Portland in one big passenger car so we could all hang out together.  Color me impressed.   Second, I was taken aback by how responsive, friendly and cooperative all the small towns were along the route.  They let us take over their churches, parks and other open spaces to camp, businesses stayed open late and opened early, and overall everyone was very receptive to our bunch of spandex-clad city folks traipsing through.  And while I acknowledge there’s always an economic incentive to opening doors to people who intend to spend money, I thought the response we received all along the route went above and beyond that.   Again, color me impressed.

Lastly, I’ll just add that I’m humbled and honored with the overall response to the route.  You folks put a lot of time and effort and money into doing this, and it’s a relief that everyone seemed to enjoy it.  It’s always nerve wracking doing something new, especially something this big and committing.  However, we seem to have mostly pulled it off and folks are already talking about coming back to ride next year.  That’s awesome.  Plan on it – same 7:00 a.m. start time the Friday of Memorial Day weekend.

Also, for those interested, the crushers came in as follows:

  • (1) Ira Ryan – 28:04
  • (2) Jan Heine – 29:58
  • (3) Ethan Stehley – 32:00-ish
  • (4) Owen Murphy – 35:00
  • (5) Blake Bockius – 36:28
  • (6) Rick Hunter – 37:00-ish
  • (7) John McCaffery – 37:56

Send me your time if you want it included, crusher or not –

Read more →

Interview with Western Bikeworks

The fine folks over at Western Bikeworks interviewed Donnie about bikepacking, gravel, and the Oregon Outback and did a great job putting together a short video.   Enjoy!


Western Bikeworks Conversations: Donnie Kolb of Velodirt from Western Bikeworks on Vimeo.

The Oregon Outback – Guest Post by Britten

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

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

As they tend to do, a one-way flight completely changed my life 3.5 years ago. After graduating from the University of Washington I moved to Central America, where I’ve cycled thousands of miles all over the isthmus as a cycling guide. Now, I’m starting my own bike touring business that will allow me to combine my passions of traveling by bike, Latin America, and community development. Read more →

Hart of Darkness: A Bikepacking Journey into the Sheldon and Hart Nat’l Antetlope Refuges



“Now when I was a little chap I had a passion for maps. I would look for hours at South America, or Africa, or Australia, and lose myself in all the glories of exploration. At that time there were many blank spaces on the earth, and when I saw one that looked particularly inviting on a map (but they all look that) I would put my finger on it and say, `When I grow up I will go there.’”

-Charles Marlow, Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

The dichotomy of my life is never more clear to me than when pouring over maps and planning trips.  Raised on fictional characters like “Smoke” Bellew and Charles Marlow, my dreams have always been those of the solitary traveler, heading off into the unknown, fragile and alone but inevitably poised to become the hero (anti-hero?).  The ever-constant themes of liberation from the yoke of a stifling society and evolution (if only in psychological terms) drilled into me by Jack London, et al. molded me over decades.   Add in a childhood dash of Big Sky Country, tales of the Old West, and its no wonder my dreams are solo endeavors in the classic man-against-nature mold.  But dreams are just that, and despite my insistence on the hatching of each new plan to go it alone, invariably each successively bigger trip results in an invite and a mild sense of disappointment in myself. Fear and the desire for companionship (even from a self-professed loner) are strong motivators. Read more →

The Oregon Outback – Guest Post by Jason


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

The Outback is just about a month away and I’m feeling pretty calm about the whole thing, even though I keep forgetting what weekend it’s supposed to take place. The initial interest was huge and it kinda freaked me out; would 300 people really show up in Klamath Falls? I guess we won’t really know until the morning of, but I’m really excited to see what happens, and to be a part of it.

I started bike touring about 6 or 7 years ago when my wife and I moved to Portland. I didn’t know very many mountain bikers at the time, and my road bike was much easier pick up and get lost on. I have always enjoyed camping, and I soon realized how accessible the woods were. Touring became a big thing in my life pretty quickly. Before too long I was looking for smaller roads and better views. In 2010 I rode the Stampede and something really clicked. I had unlocked a door to a style of riding that was completely my own and all I had to do was keep pedaling. On longer rides, I find my mind wandering and floating along. I look forward to routes where I don’t quite know what lies ahead, but I am always excited to get over the next hill; who knows what might be there (hint: it’s usually more sagebrush). I’m looking forward to the Outback for the ride as well as the preparation leading up to it. The planning and packing before a big trip is something that occupies multiple days before departing and I enjoy putting the puzzle together. Read more →

The Oregon Outback – Guest Post by Donnie


We’re doing a series of guest posts by riders planning to tackle the Oregon Outback.  Look for new posts as long as we keep getting them.  And yes, we know technically Donnie isn’t a “guest”, but we wanted to stick with the same format, regardless of who was doing the writing… 


We’ve been putting on rides for 5 years now and each year organizing them brings new twists on the familiar themes of bike and tire selection, weather, and seeing new and old faces. We consider it an honor to ride with you all, and love how stoked everyone is to come out and suffer together on some of the most beautiful roads anywhere.

I expected much of the same for this year’s Oregon Outback. Yes, it was more ambitious than anything else we’d ever done before – but generally the longer the route, the fewer people want to do it. So we figured it would be relatively simple to organize. Little did we know that the response would be overwhelmingly positive.

I’ve been asked over and over why I think so many people want to ride the Outback route with us next month. After months of making shit up so I didn’t sound ignorant, I think I’ve actually figured it out. Read more →

The Oregon Outback – Guest Post by Ashley


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?

Really, I don’t know!  I was asked if I wanted to this, by a giant  of a man, Robert “Rando” Trombley. He pulled out to prep for the Dirty Kanzaa 200, so that leaves me and Matt.  I have always loved self supported travel and this is a cool objective. I need to do this ride just for the sake of it, and the promise of internal greatness. No prizes, no results board, just finishing. That is why I want to do it.

  • What is your goal, if any? (race, casual ride, etc.; how many days or hours)

Matt’s plan is to ride casual – 3 days of riding, two nights of camping.   I really want to just experience Oregon, and push myself as hard as I can. 3 days seems legit, maybe four if weather goes to shit.  200k day is nothing to sneeze at and we know each other well enough to know when we can go on or call it.

  • What experience do you have doing ultra endurance races, multiday backcountry touring, and/or bikepacking?

Ultra endurance? Ummm nope.  I like sleeping. I don’t think the goal here is first place, just finishing. Backcountry touring. Yep, I used to ski tour, multiday self supported in the coast and interior ranges.   I will be running in 2+ Bikepacking trips this spring with meat and it should be a solid breakdown of the gear. 

  • What bike/tire combo are you planning to use?

Brodie Monster, either 40c Knards, 40c Clement MSO, or the 2.0 29r Slant Six. I am digging the MSO right now. Stock Tiagra 10sp triple groupset; and discs.   The frame is heavy, but seemingly solid.  27 lbs doesn’t make a spritely climbing bike.

  • Other relevant gear choices:

Relevate frame bag and seat bag, Salsa Anything cages on the fork. Maybe a Relevate gastank, loads of chamois cream, and decent bib shorts.  Teva touring sandals(j/k)

  • Training plan

Lot of miles.  A bit of Strava segment hunting and some liquor.   I need to get up to 300k per week and two back to back 100 mile days before I am ready to hit it.  Mountain bike on weekends and a long fast ride once a week with the club.    I am a Clydesdale Mule, so I will just keep plodding along until I get there.
I ride with Mighty in Vancouver BC and Hodala in Seattle, so if any one from PDX can complete or at least attempt the ride, so can I. 
Thanks for putting this ride on and finding the route. I am stoked to put the power down and ride.