Hood River

Heat wave cleared out the rain and chill. Temp in the gorge is almost 100 degrees @ 581′ elevation. I ride @ 4000′ which makes the heat feel, well, like cooler heat. Sunday’s observance.

Hi to Jim Niece for his amazing recall after he greeted me by name and how we share something that we have never met, on the road climb towards Lookout mtn yesterday.

Thurs was a rest day recuperating from the beat down on Wed. Weather was changing to dry and hot. Slept in Post canyon. I received my new Garmin Edge 800 bike computer, 2 day delivery from the east coast. I read the instruction manual and programmed it to my variables. Bell has a new helmet, Super, out that I have been interested in as it has more head coverage than even the Feature. A bit heavier, I accept the 3 ozs of penalty for more head protection. I bought one. Dirty Finger had a shop ride and an after ride hang out, I made the hang out.

Fri I putzed around town. My bronchitis is gone but I still have an infrequent dry cough, doesn’t happen when I am riding. The antibiotic cleared something else inside me increasing my level of comfort. I wanted to test myself and the  2 new pieces of gear up on the Whoopee trail for a short ride. All conditions checked out.

Andrew, Lee, Mark, and rookie Mack planned on Sat to ride Gunsight down as a shuttle. Meeting TBD early Sat AM. Meeting time and location was finally agreed on: Sat, Dog River TH, @ 8:ooAM. We shuttled up rt 35 to Bennett Pass and pedaled out gravel roads to start of Gunsight trail. 5 of us and another group of 9. This is a big ride, more downhill than up but nothing to sneeze about. There were less than 10 trees blocking the trail on Gunsight. Up and down along the ridge line. I rode this part and down to Gumjuaac years ago. The road climb up was on some of the steepest paved roads ever, the shuttle today spared me the killer. 3 small patches of snow. Andrew is the fastest of us, I was slightly behind on a downhill. My look ahead sight caught the path of his body which didn’t match trail condition. I saw snow flying up, and I heard him yelp. Body english and reflexes saved him a sure wipe out, he saved it. The ST dumped us out on a rustic rocky resource extraction road (RER)  to climb up to High Prairie which is where Jim said hello. We dropped down another beater RER going downhill, just flying. Not really water bars on the road but they work very well as launching ramps for air. Flying. A left onto Eight mile creek upper section. This intersected where we rode on Wed and where the guys met me once b4 back in ’09. Crossed the road and climbed up towards Knebel springs then a jaunt over to pick up Surveyors ridge traversing over to Dog River TH which shares w/ Surveyors. Now the big vert downhill begins. We ran into maybe 10 riders riding up this steep thing. Fun deep shade forest letting gravity be the engine allowing carving, swooping, letting speed take the bumps away as I skipped over them. Controlled speed, technical trail. Seat dropper is so desirable. Finally down @ TH on the highway, 27.36 miles in 3 hrs 31 mins, climbing 3479′ but dropping 5971′. Killer ride. Andrew and Mark kept their heads down and pedaled. No sit down and enjoy a rest ride. I kept after them just a little behind but within sight. Mack performed well above his experience level. He was riding a 26″ hard tail, flats, Avid mechanical brakes, running shoes and gym shorts. He stuck it. Well done. I came from that and less before, I been there. I enjoy my equipment and clothing choices that I have chosen to buy. I am continually seeking better, more money.

Andrew fed and watered us b4 heading back to Portland. Mark and Mack split. I worked on my bike in the sun. My sweat production is not in question. I hung out in cell coverage for Les to call so we could make Sat plans. I drove down to Parkdale to Solaro brew pub for a lingering pint. No call from Les by 6:30. I drove back up to rd 44 then out to spot off 17 road. Shit, a camper was @ my spot. i picked another one in same area still able to see a good chunk of Hood. I learned that I received cell coverage up here. Still no call from Les.

Slept well. Plan today is to ride Knebel springs loop finishing up on the lower 8 mile creek trail. I parked @ same spot where we parked last Wed, a NW Pass pay site. I assumed my senior pass covered me. I was told different by the campground host. No big deal. I drove to a spot on the shoulder of the road, where i parked last year when i discovered the transmission leak. This time I did not look. I climbed up to the lookout, I felt the results of yesterday’s effort. My goal was to ride @ my pace. A couple started up ahead of me that I caught up to. The woman who was second was wearing ear buds. I pedaled quietly behind her as she was following a man. The trail steeply climbed, I heard her utter sound that to me indicated she was not going to clear the hill. I spoke up cheering her on. She shot forward like a spurred horse. The male said something about her success causing a heart attack. Oh well, the joys of choosing ear buds to cut off a critical sense. I dropped down Bottle prairie swooping on wonderful single track. Ignore the damage from a selective cut. The climb out was a rerouted better built trail which lessened the steep trail by increasing the length of the ride but on a rideable grade. The trail dropped to a packed TH off rd 44 and start of wonderful lower 8 Mile creek.

Trail 49, 2.5 miles long needs a separate paragraph. This trail is the most fun one I have ever ridden. Let it rip. Mostly straight line w/ little wiggles to shed h2o, non technical, less than 6% grade (prolly), still slightly damp. Great sight lines allowing controlled stop to yield to uphill rider or hiker. I encountered 2 groups each that I stopped and leaned off the trail allowing them to climb past. Back on the coasting. Just so m uch fun. On Wed I hit 25 mph. I didn’t beat it this time. Big grinner trail. Rides up easily also. Amazing what a shallow grade trail can give.

Les called me when i was @ the 5 Mile Butte lookout. Evening plans were launched. I plan on driving back to town for tasks. The temp climbed as I drove down from 4000′. Dinner w/Les & Gloria, old Boeing Spokane friends.

Heat wave.

Plan tomorrow is to drive to Hailey, ID into their almost identical heat 2000′ higher. riding in the 90’s sweats.

I rode on Wed in the rain and clouds, precip dampened the forest trails. The organic material held moisture in the solids which made the trails tacky and no dust. Today, 4 days later the trails I rode today except 8 mile had dust. Trail building here keeps the organic in the tread which is contrary to IMBA design. Roll w/ the local conditions.

Happy Monday y’all.

Tack alert in full force

Rain had been falling off and on since Sunday. Yesterday a little less fell drawing Lee G., Mark, and Andrew from out of shelter for a killer ride. We rode in the clouds and mist getting soaked from the low hanging leaves and plants along the trail to ride 15 mile creek. Big ride. So the Tack alert is sounded when the trails are tacky for great woods traction. Mitchell from Dirty Finger sounds the alert.

So, it was the summer of ’09 I ran into this group of riders while on the NUT. We were going in opposite directions. Said hello. The next day I drove to the Toketee lake TH for the Deer Leap section and they were there. They invited me to ride along and shuttle me back. Two great offers. I said good bye after the ride. Later that summer I was on a ride here in Hood River and ran into them again. Lee was hosting the group and invited me to attend. Andrew is the chef that fed us. Ryan is working for the Fed government off shore. I said good bye the next morning. Several weeks I was in WA in a campground near Crystal mtn and found Ryan in the mist. said hello. Made plans for a ride outside Roslyn. Ryan, Andrew, and I rode. I said good bye afterwards. Lee texted me on Mon greeting me and inviting me on the ride that happened yesterday. That’s how the people contacts happened.

So yesterday the plan was to meet @ the Dog River TH on rt 35 @ 11:30. The rain probability diminished as the day wore on. It was raining @ the meeting place. Original plan was to shuttle up to ride Gunsight down to Dog River. We had no trail condition report for Gunsight, concern was winter downed trees. We changed the plan to ride the 15 mile creek loop up on the 44 road. On the way up I spied the Cog Wild van and a cluster of riders. I stopped to say Hi. They had just ridden Gunsight and reported about 10 trees down but manageable. Future knowledge.

We parked @ Eightmile crossing. We pedaled up the creek trail that I had only ridden down. Gentle climb on tacky woods dirt, going to be super descending. We crossed 44 rd still climbing up Eightmile creek. We hit the high elevation point b4 dropping down to 15 mile XG. From there is was 4.7 miles of sometimes challenging ST down to the bottom. Clouds rolled in during the descent but, hey, it is June and above freezing. Sure like the seat dropper and the strong braking of the front brake. All the while I am thinking about the grunt climb out. Mark hit a rock w/ his left Candy pedal and snapped the shaft killing the pedal. He pushed his bike up and wasn’t much slower than Andrew and my pedaling. I walked several sections. The climb was rewarded by a 7 miles down hill tacky trail and no rain. Super sweet. The 8 mile creek is just a killer high speed trail on a shallow grade that just keeps pulling the rider down. Seat dropper and front brake. Fly. Hit 25 mph. Andrew took the long way to get back to our cars, about 100 yards from my van my left quad threw a cramp. And Mark beat us back as he coasted the paved roads. 26.09 miles climbing 4461′ and burned 3406 cals. I spent 2 hrs 9 mins above my threshold heart rate of 136 bpm. I was spent and smiling. They drove home while I drove back to my camp spot off the 17 road. Hood was playing hide and see in the clouds.

Andrew and Mark
Andrew and Mark

I really didn’t sleep last night.

I have developed a dry non productive cough that has become a concern. Tues. I drove to an Urgent Care in Gresham that is under contract w/ my insurance. DR diagnosed it as bronchitis and prescribed antibiotic. He said if not better than I might want to call my pulmonologist in ST George. The daily dose did knock down the cough. Tomorrow will tell of success.

I am resting today. I did my wash, took a shower, and tested my blood. I am hanging on the street @ Dirty Finger.

Gary inside the shop.
Gary inside the shop.

My plan is to leave here on Monday for Sun Valley.

Weather is clearing and getting into the upper 80s real fast. No wind surfing winds. I asked Mitchell what the surfers do when there is no wind. He said they ride bikes. It’s raining, what do they do: like us: Drink beer.

My Garmin Edge 305 has been failing not holding a charge or dumping a charge. I stepped up and bought the Edge 800 that just arrived thanks Mr Brown.

I will miss the shop ride tonight but will attend the after ride party @ the shop. Mitchell has a good gig going. 10  Speed coffee roaster owns the building and shares the bldg. Yesterday I learned about specialty roasters and the quality of coffee they can produce. Brian has been roasting for 10 years. He made me 2 cups of coffee of different beans to sample. What a quality difference. He said that Starbucks roasts too dark so all you taste is the roast. He is better able to control the roasting which brings out the flavor of the beans. Pay more but enjoyment is justified.

No, really, I said Stop

I have been living out off the 44 road well out of cell phone and internet access. When in internet access I spend time socializing and don’t record what I chose to share. Presently I am parked on a side street in Hood River a good stone throw away from Dirty Finger Bike shop and owner Mitchell.

Some catching up. Friday I rolled into town. Gary fixed the chain problem. I asked about my front brake if both pistons are to extend when the brake lever is pulled. He said yes, and if it or they don’t move a simple service is required: remove the pads, pump the lever to fully extend the pistons then clean the surfaces w/ alcohol, then swab on some DOT on the piston sides, spread the pistons apart, reinsert the pads, and pump up the lever and the brake is good to go. I thought about performing this service where I am parked on Fri so if I needed help I was a short walk away from help. Except the shop closed early for a full moon ride. I drove out to camp stopping @ Solara brew pub n Parkland for a tasty pint. I made camp for the night.

Plan was Sat AM to service the brake then ride a loop up here b4 the rains few. My service went well until the final step of pumping the lever which went all the way to the bar. Brake fluid leaked out so there was no stopping the front wheel. Help was 33 miles back into town. I called ahead to reserve a bench spot w/ Gary. He said simple bleed. It took 5 bleeds and my just wondering of pumping the brake lever on the 5th bleed that forced out a hidden air bubble. The brake works like I hoped it would, actually better than when first installed. I can now w/ great assurance lock up the front wheel allowing for rapid deceleration and nose wheelies.

Sat was the sunny day. I wanted a ride and a shower b4 bed. Mitchell sang the rave of the Whoopie trail just outside of town. It is an old school made trail. I followed the given directions arriving @ a newly created TH parking lot. Land is owned by private timber company.  A 10 mile loop awaited my wheels.  I pedaled off. great views of MT Adams being clouded in and the placid river:

Adams across the river in Washington
Adams across the river in Washington

The trail up above was in regrowth and twisty and windy. It dropped down into the clear cut then climbed out on a machine cut trail. Fun close in go to ride. 9.32 miles climbing 1494 miles.

Back into town for a shower, grocery shop, then drive back out to rd 44 area for the night. Sunday is a scheduled trail work day right near where I camp.

Sunday Jimmy T, the FS district trails coordinator, lead maybe 20 volunteers building a climbing single track thru a partial cut timber unit. Cut the timber and a user group will build a trail in it. Actually the trail avoids a gravel road and adds more ride distance. Trail tread is on top of organic material instead of down to mineral earth. Almost a rake and ride over the slash.

pin flags are center line of trail and width is a macloud width either side.
pin flags are center line of trail and width is a macloud width either side.

Rain spit off and on as we finished early afternoon. Forecast was for increasing amount as the day wore on. I decided not to ride. Everybody left for the river and I drove a short distance back to my spot. Rain did fall and I was content to be snug as Craig is his van. I fired up the heater that runs on propane. The CO and Propane detector voiced its displeasure w/ the heater sounding a warning of imminent threat. I opened ventilation and the alarm went quiet. I closed the vents, it went off again. Strange, never had this problem. I shut it off and let it cool. I started it up again and went thru the alarm vent cycle again. Didn’t need the heat for the night but needed to resolve the problem. I started and ran the heater this morning and all was quiet.

Today I drove back to town. last week I contacted Verizon help about my Jet pack issues. I new one was shipped to me @ Dirty Fingers 2 day air for delivery today. It arrived. I took both units to the in town Verizon store for tech help and inspection of my device which if damaged would result in a great expense to me. The tech said the unit is fine. My new unit is named “fbisurveilancevan” So far it works.

Next was to solve a virus issue w/ my banking. I scanned my computer that took 222 minutes. Issue w/ download was still present. Tech help @ Vipre was great. I switched to Firefox browser which allowed the download. Now I need to figure how to import to my checking register.

Forecast calls for wet until Fri. I checked Sun Valley where sunny skies arrive on Wed. Do I stay here and hang in the wet ( which is not now) till maybe after several rides in sunny weather or split. Rainfall is serious amount here. I’ll put off that decision.

Tonight I will try camping out @ Post Falls area which is just outside the city.

Off to beer me @ Dirty Fingers, a shower, food shop, then camp.

Clear skies make for great front window view of the world: