I've been scoping this route for a few years but since it covers so much ground (for me) I figured it might be too much. turns out it was just enough. When I e-mailed Terry and Debbie about the ride they said "YIKES!" I knew Jeremy would be into it no matter what and I figured I have enough anger left to make it. Tanya was going too and I knew she'd love to do it as an out and back but would do a shuttle if we gave her a prize at the end. The night before I talked to Jeremy and he said his cuz "mumbling Matt " was going to come. hmmm. I wasn't sure about that since it was a ride of unknown mileage, and he’s been on like 1 pedaling ride this year. Oh well. not my cousin.
We met up with Terry , Debbie and Tanya at the Mt Hood store and headed to drop off their car at the end of the Oak Ridge trail. We started the ride at Bennett Pass and went 4.1 miles up to the Gunsight Ridge trail and then up and up. The Gunsight ridge trail was really cool with nice rocky sections and great views. One big long rock garden was really challenging. It was actually more like a land slide that we were riding across. Of course there was the dinner plate section. Slab’s of rocks that clanked like plates when you rode across them.
So we thought we got to the end of the Gunsight ridge trail when it came up to a road and we knew we would have to be on a road for a bit after that but the mileage on Debbie’s computer wasn’t adding up. When we got to the bottom of the lame WAY dusty road we realized that we missed the 2 miles of down hill single track . OOPS. Debbie said “ There’s always next year” but Terry and I knew it had been 5 years since we had tried to ride this trail and ran into mass amounts of snow. So with out too much thought Terry and I decided to ride back up the dust road and ride the single track and then continue on. Debbie said “I’m not waiting” Jeremy and Matt looked like they thought we were crazy and Tanya always wants to climb so it was set. As we pedaled away Jeremy heard Debbie say that this was a bad idea. We did not see them again for nearly 3 hours. She was right.
At the top of the road we celebrated with some dark chocolate and then started climbing on the single track decent. Yay. It didn’t last long then we were flying and the section of trail was pretty fun. I was getting some serious arm pump. Maybe because my rear brake was not really working. Combined with the front brake I could slow down so that was good I guess. We got back to where we left them and started up the road and ended up and a huge Forrest road climb Probably a thousand feet in 2 miles or something. I was realizing why it was hard to get anyone to go on this ride. Good views though and nice and quiet because I couldn't keep up with T ‘n’ T. We got up to the High Prairie parking area and there were a ton of riders resting but not the ones we were looking for. Some of the riders were on a 4 day hut to hut ride from Hood river back to Hood river. I could have used a hut at this point in the ride.
So we were on a dirt road for a bit and then got into some great flowing singletrack. A lot of descending. After linking some trails together we had to ride some black top until we found the connector to the beginning of the surveyors ridge trail. DBL track for a couple of miles then back to single track. We had been riding really fast and were surprised that we hadn’t caught up with our group. ( never split up on a group ride) SO on the dbl track my phone starts ringing but the time I could get it out of my pack I missed the call. It was Jeremy and they were a half a mile ahead of us. Cool. It was good to see them again. Matt looked like he had been done for a long while, pants torn in half etc. etc. Debbie was Chip and Jeremy was in a good mood as usual. Surveyors ridge was as great as I had remembered but a lot of climbing. We got to a section where it was fast and rocky. I was chasing Tanya and she was flying!. I was right on her and then when it would smooth out she would take off and be losing me I would be like Oh no! what gear am I in. Man is she fast. It would have been great helmet cam footage. Next time. We eventually made it to the Oakridge trail which would drop us down to Terry’s car and the end of our long day. Ton’s of switch backs awaited us and more rocks. The switchbacks were tough and I made a lot of them. It was super loose. About a mile from the bottom I wasn’t making a switch back and tried to hop off running I got a cramp in my leg and couldn’t pull it off. ( my leg was bothering me a bit as I had gotten a cramp about 2 hours earlier) So I went off the bike and rolled , landed about 20 feet from my bike and then I heard Jeremy yelling “ Look at your leg” . Got a crazy slice from the rocks I guess. too bad. So after sitting there and bleeding for a while I finished the ride by walking the switchbacks and riding the trail. Great ride and a long day. I’ll do it again next year and be stronger but I’ll skip the blood.