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

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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.

RIDE DETAILS

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

ROUTE

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.

CAMPING

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 info@velodirt.com.

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

Details:

*  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…

RIDING IN THE DARK

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.

SELF-SUPPORTED

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…

COURSE WARNING

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.

PARKING

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.

BEER

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.

Donnie
info@velodirt.com

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

 

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“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 →

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 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.

Oregon Coast Gravel Epic

There’s a new pay-to-play gravel event taking place out on the coast next month – the Oregon Coast Gravel Epic.  It sounds like the route is roughly on par with the Rapture, just in a completely different area of the range.  I’m hoping to make it down to check it out.  If I do, I’ll post a run-down.  If anyone else makes it out, shoot me an email to let me know how it went and any photos you don’t mind sharing with the world.

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The Rapscallion Reacharound: Mt. Hood Edition

 

Click here for more details…

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Crater Lake’s Rim Drive – Car Free

No dirt on this ride, and nothing epic either. But I’m posting about it because despite being a tame ride, Crater Lake’s Rim Drive were car free and had the sort of isolated, spooky feeling one usually only gets on dirt roads. There weren’t even a lot of cyclists. I don’t think I saw more than 20 once I got deeper into the road.

If the NPS opens the roads to only bikes again next year, I don’t know that I’d make the drive down from Portland *just* to ride the road, but I’d consider making a long weekend out of it, especially considering Oakridge is a nice stopping point. It would also be fun to haul camping gear on the ride around and spend the night on Mt. Scott.

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The Oregon Stampede – June 1, 2013 – 7:30 a.m.

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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.

RIDE DETAILS

When:  Saturday, June 1, 2013 – 7:30 a.m.
Where:  Deschutes River State Rec Area
Biking:  127 miles, 60% dirt, 9,000 ft of climbing
Cue Sheet OLD / Route Map OLD / Route Map UPDATED Page 1  – Page 2 / Garmin Data OLD / More Details
Drinking:  As always – we’ll have a keg of beer
Camping:  Camping is available the night before and night of – May 31 & June 1 – see below

ROUTE

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.   The re-route through Moro is as follows:

1)  Skip the Right turn on “Stradley Rd” at mile 94.5 – just stay straight.  You will meet back up with the route and will continue North on Sayrs Rd.

2)  Turn Right on Harris Canyon Rd. (off Erskine Rd, shortly before the final climb up to Gordon Ridge Rd.

3)  Follow Harris Canyon down into Moro.  (you’ll be reversing this, so remember your way).

4)  Turn Right on US-97 – Huskey Market & Deli is a few blocks down on your Right.

5)  Turn around, reverse your way back out of town.  Either take Harris Canyon Rd. back to Erskine Rd. or take the paved Van Gilder Rd, turning LEFT on Gordon Ridge Rd. (gravel), continue with the route up and over Gordon Ridge.

-See above for the updated route map – changes in RED.

Otherwise the route is the same as all previous editions.  See details above, or find out more about the route here.

PLEASE NOTEWe do not bring copies of the cue sheet or maps for you.

CAMPING

Once again we’ve reserved two group campsites at the Deschutes River State Rec Area for May 31st and June 1st.   We have group sites C and D again, giving us room for 50 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.  Donnie@velodirt.com

The 50 person maximum for our group campsite is not negotiable.  If we get enough folks beyond 50 who want to camp we’ll reserve another group spot.

If you want to camp but don’t really like us, there are still plenty of other spots currently available at the recreation area.  A link to camping reservations can be found here.

Details:

*  Group spots 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.

*  Bring firewood if you’re camping.  We will appreciate it, so will your neighbors. Don’t rely on someone else to do – you’re the someone else…

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

*  There are fire pits in the group sites, but I don’t believe they have grates for grilling.  Feel free to bring a grate or full grills, etc.  I know lots of folks would appreciate it if you did.

*  The spots under the willow trees are reserved.  Those are mine…

RIDING IN THE DARK

The sun sets at ~8:45 p.m. on June 1, 2012.  If you plan on taking more than 13+ hours to complete your ride, bring appropriate lights.   The final descent down Gordon Ridge and Fulton Canyon is not fun in the dark.

SELF-SUPPORTED

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 95.  Bring money – that shit’s not free.

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

COURSE WARNING

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.

PARKING

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.

BEER

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.  I think we have a lead on a keg, but that hasn’t been confirmed yet.  If you have a beer hook-up in Portland and want to help us help you out, drop me an email with details.

Donnie
donnie@velodirt.com

Rickreall Gravel Classic

 

Jason & Ryan’s new Rickreall Gravel Classic went off without a hitch this weekend.  The weather was welcoming (50’s with rain, hail, high winds), the route was stellar (leave the road bike at home), and the beer beckoned.  It was a new experience for me to be able to show up and just ride – stress free, nothing to do but enjoy the day – and I took full advantage of the opportunity.  I’m still riding my high from yesterday.  Hats off to Jason and Ryan for all the time, money and energy they put into it.

As I said, the route it stellar.  Jason did a great job putting this together and the loop up through Blackrock is not to be missed.  It’s rough, remote and the descent can’t be beat.   You can find all the ride details here (full route; lite version) if you want to go exploring the route on your own.

Ryan King’s photos can be found here.  Jacob Tong was out snapping pics for the better part of the day, so check out his site for much more, much better photos (expected up later this week).

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Read more →

Oregon’s Perry Roubaix

In preparation for Jason’s upcoming Rickreall Gravel Classic a good crew of friends headed down to the Perry Roubaix this past weekend in hopes of making some new gravel buddies. We knew the riding was spectacular, the gravel was in primo condition, and the forecast quite pleasant. About 45 riders congregated sipping coffee (and a PBR or two) and took off around the Basket Slough Wildlife Refuge. While we cruised along at our healthy pace, the pack of serious riders left us in their dust. Soon enough though, they came barreling up past us from behind. This probably happend 2-3 more times before we realized it wasn’t a series of hilarious route finding errors, but rather the leader’s sadistic tendency to take the pack off on short brutal side loops. Ryan was one of the un-expecting who got eaten up by this, and we didn’t see him again until the end of the day. All-in-all we all felt great, enjoyed the bucolic countryside, and finished the ride strong in about 4 hours. It really whetted our appetite for the upcoming spring riding!

DETAILS:
53 miles, 70% gravel
Mellow, rolling hills
Start/End: Just west of Salem
Services: None, but could easily pop into Amity or Sheridan
Tires:  Optimal = 28-32c
Gravel conditions change frequently out there, but are super fast right now.