Saturday, October 11, 2014

Too Much Pavement--Not Enough Gravel

I really wanted to ride Mama Cass on JBLM today. Of course, none of the areas near me were open. I probably could have ridden area 22 (the area closed because of a butterfly), but if I got caught, I wouldn't be able to say I was just on my way to 20. Sooooo, where to go?

I thought about Capitol Forest--going the way I've gone with the guys, but I think there is still a good possibility I could get lost. I looked at the PDF map I have and saw there was the S-line on the other side of Hwy 8 at Summit Lake. It looked like a fairly straight forward out and back. Okay, S-Line here I come! I headed out at 11:30.

It had started raining just as I left the house. Might have been a good idea to bag it, but no, I headed out anyway. Except for my torso which was encased in my new Showers Pass jacket, I was thoroughly soaked by the time I reached the Westside. Might have been a good idea to turn back, but no, I continued in the hopes that I would reach the blue sky I could see ahead. 

I did reach the blue sky, and was beginning to dry out, when, as I was coming down Mud Bay, it started to pour again. So much for drying out!

Once again, the rain stopped, and the sun came out. I stopped while it wasn't raining to eat a bar, then continued out to Hwy 8. From home, it was a little over 17 miles just to get to the Summit Lake exit. The S-line takes off to the right as Summit Lake Rd goes left. Finally, I was on the gravel! And, as an added bonus, it hadn't started to rain again! 

Before I'd gone far, the road forked. Now, the smart thing to do would have been to get out my phone, and look at the map. I didn't do that. I opted for the left fork. The road started climbing. I caught up to 4 guys in hunting camo and orange vests, with rifles slung over their shoulders. Ah yes, hunting season. Perhaps not a good time to be riding in the woods. At least I had my bright yellow rain jacket on (which I would have liked to take off as I was quite warm from the climbing, but didn't as I did not want to be mistaken for a deer--albeit a very SLOW deer). They asked me if I knew where the road went. I told them what I thought (but I was wrong). They then asked if it just kept climbing. I told them I hoped not!

It didn't keep climbing. In fact, there was a pretty steep downhill that curved. As I was nearing the curve, I thought to myself, trust the bike, or slow down? I opted for slowing down. Such a chicken am I...

After a few more ups and downs, I could see I was coming upon an active logging operation. Time to turn around. I went back the way I'd come, stopping to tell two of the hunters that this particular road went to where they were logging (I don't know where the other two guys went).

I returned to the fork and decided to take the other road. I think this was the real S-line. I rode for a short distance until the road started to climb. I knew I still had more than 17 miles to go to get home. It was about 2:45. I decided to turn around. When I got back to the pavement, I added air to Mama Cass' tires for the ride home (less bouncyness). 

I like the Surly saddle when I'm on the gravel. However, for prolonged riding on pavement, I'm not so sure. My butt was not enjoying the ride home so much. Of course, it could be that I haven't done much riding in the last 5 days (in Eugene visiting my grandson).

Out of a total of 43 miles, 35 were on pavement. That's too much pavement. I don't mind riding to the gravel from home (I don't have much choice), but I'd like the gravel miles to be at least half of the total miles!
Cresting one of the climbs.

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