I’m in Portland, for OSCON. I arrived Friday night. Saturday morning, I headed north into Washington to do some mountain biking. The trip leader was Gabrielle. She led Jonatha Leto and me into the Siouxon Creek Trail. This is described by the locals as rolling single track. Umm, yes. That’s right. Rolling.
Compared to what I rode in NZ, yes, this is rolling. Compared to what I’ve ridden in Florida and Pennsylvania over the past year or so, this was hilly. Not really big hillly. Just some slogging long-ish hills. 10 years ago, they would not have been a problem. But age and lack of practice made this a puffing trail for me.
I’ve added this trail to my collection of Google maps.
The trail is amazing. Green. In the trees. By the creeks, rivers, and streams. Beautiful smooth trail. Fast, nice corners. The whole trail was about 22 km (about 14 miles). We parked at the trail head, which was unusually busy given the temperature and weather (overcast and 54F). The parking lot was full, so was parked on the side of the road. We started by riding back up the road from whence we came. This started off easy, but became harder as we went. I claim the road got steeper, but I suspect it was simply my lungs and legs getting tired. The ride up the paved road was about 4.5km (roughly 3 miles).
Only a few spots were get-off-and-walk. These were creek beds with large rocks and really rough spots.
The single track from our alternative starting point was wonderful, and well worth the warm-up climb. Great flowing single track, and mind-blowing scenery. The trail was lightly used and we saw relatively few people. Probably more people then we’d see at Pennypack Park in Philadelphia, but the trails don’t really compare.
Shortly after starting the ride, blue sky came out. The sun shone. By the end of the day, there were no visible clouds and it was in the low 70s. This was wonder riding weather.
Our destination was a waterfall. About 2 miles before that fall, we had the first mechanical. Gabrielle broke her derailleur. It snapped right off. The only practical solution was a single speed. This suited Jonathan and me very well. Gabrielle was kicking our asses and putting her onto a single speed should level the playing field a bit. It was a group effort on the chain for about an hour to get a combination that worked. She wound up with middle in the front, and 5th biggest in the back. The chain was tight. Very tight. But it never came off during the rest of her ride.
We zoomed up to the falls. Tossed sticks for the dogs that were there, talked to the hikers, watched the falls, and relaxed in the wonder of the local scenery. Then it was time for us to head back.
The ride back seemed to have more uphills than on the way back. I think that was merely perception.
However, the final hill, back up to the parking area was the hardest of the day. Perhaps because it was the last hill, but that was hard… I was getting tired. We started the riding at about 11:30 and got back at about 3:30pm. That include the hour of repeated efforts with the chain tool.
I’d do this trail again. It was good fun.
Some pics from Gabrielle.