Bald Mountain Climb

1:45 of climbing to get here at a tempo pace

We finished a week of riding in McMinville Oregon with the Bald Mountain climb, the longest, sustained climb in the area. It winds up from the Willamette Valley to Sheridan Peak and the Upper Nestucca Viewpoint at ~3K feet. That viewpoint is actually a distraction from the clearcut valley below you and you’re on Forest Service roads for the last 5 miles.

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The climbing starts after a few turns past working farms. The road is shouldered for most of the route and is the smoother flavor of chip seal. We climbed part of this on Monday after our wrong-turn, gravel grind. Watch for broken, sunken pavement, seams, and holes on the way down. There are mile markers on the route too, that aren’t from the Forest Service or State Highway. We counted them out and stopped at 9 1/2 for a photo.

On the way back, there were 4 of these machines harvesting

8% with pitches to 10 and 12

Nice valley on this side, the other is clear cut and the reason the Mountain is called “bald.”

The locals keep going past the peak, descend to Willinia, then back up for a 70 mile, brutal loop. Considering the locals, we singled up when we heard a car or truck and didn’t get brushed or harassed. No one called us fags like we heard in Portland. The Portland area is reeling from 3 deaths in the last week – 2 in Washington.

The risk in this area is not knowing what route is used to bypass 99W. You’re riding on a never-ending, road-to-nowhere in particular and a wave of cars and trucks going 70 MPH roar past you. The “Mac” is in transition to a winery destination and should consider self-guided bike tours in its plans, like the Sonoma Valley. They could do that with lanes and signage.

Rolling Countryside in the Willamette Valley

Don’t know what the locals call it, but our name for this climb is D’yer Mak’er or “D’you make her climb that”?

There are no wineries on the road or anything but rolling countryside that ends in more gravel. If you’re coming here for a wine tour weekend with your bike, there’s not a lot to do on this ride. Use it for training and seeing some country. It’s not particularly hard or steep, just a typical Willamette Valley hill that rolls with a few pitches. We did it twice to get our time and miles in.

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Margherita Pizza


After the ride and a nap, we enjoyed good food like this Margherita pizza from Nick’s Italian.

Tuesday Worlds PDX

Tuesday Worlds PDX

That thick red oval on the map is 24 laps at the Tuesday Worlds PDX. It was fast and furious at times with 35 MPH efforts across the finish line stretch and about 100 racers. On the back side, we pushed 27/28 and 25 on the friendly laps. Teams attacked until a group got away on lap 14 and I found myself at the front during a particularly spicy lap. After closing a few gaps, I pulled off for the next line to take over and sat in for the finish. As I wrote earlier about grinding in the gravel, we’re here to return to base before Masters Nationals and then Cross season. During another single-file-near-the-front, dig-deep section, I found myself asking Scotty for more power from the engine and my legs said, “I’m giving her all she’s got, Captain!”


Today we’re climbing with a post to follow.

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24 laps on PIR is about 45 miles. The to and fro makes it a 65 mile ride.

Magic Gay Portland

Tweeted this morning Retweet

Riding through construction zones, commuters challenging us, and then a driver called us fags. Portland!

We waved back and got an stiff arm, middle- finger response, out the window of an Oldsmobile Calais.

                |   |
                |   |
                |   |
             /'\|   |/'\..
         /~\|   |   |   | \
        |   =[@]=   |   |  \
        |   |   |   |   |   \
        | ~   ~   ~   ~ |`   )
        |                   /
         \                 /
          \               /
           \    _____    /
            | (( +==)) |

A Classic Calais

The driver did that so automatically and with such precision, I think that’s what he does on a Tuesday night in Portland. He patrols his neighborhood and calls bike racers fags. @ptklein replied

That’s where we all come from? #magicgayportlandia

Magic Gay Portland!

Gravel Grinding in the Willamette Valley

Occasionally when riding in the Willamette Valley, near McMinnvile, the pavement turns to gravel. This happened to us after taking a wrong turn, riding 8 miles on 47, and deciding we wanted get off the highway. There were foothills to the left of us with much less traffic.

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Checked Google Maps on the phone and NW Olson to Canyon View got us to Yamhill where we’d get back on course and climb Meadow Lake Rd to the Reservoir. NW Olson is a steady, rising, rolling climb with a slight tailwind. We didn’t see a car for miles and then abruptly hit gravel.


I wasn’t planning on testing the Stinger 5s on dirt until September and Cross season, but they performed as well as expected. Stiff, double-wall carbon with tubies plowed right through the gravel. My only concern was over-heating the brake pads on the descent back to Yamhill. I found a groove in the gravel and braked occasionally.

Pam’s tubeless tires, with a tread as soft as a pencil eraser for road racing, did puncture on the gravel and we used a can of Hutchinson Fast’Air. We’re riding tubular or tubeless now and carrying a can of sealant. As the instructions on the can say, I checked the tire for any debris, flicked out some gravel pieces, connected the hose to the valve, and pressed the button. The sealant looks like shaving cream and worked. We finished the ride and will replace the tire when we’re back home.

We’re riding in the Willamette Valley all week and expect to find ourselves on more gravel. Meadow Lake Rd is on our all-time favs rides list now and we’ll climb it again later. Tonight we’re racing the Tuesday Worlds in Portland.


From the RAGBRAI group on Flickr.

Uploaded by Milwaukee Photographer Corey Hengen | more from the Bike Hugger Photostream.

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