Post Nirvana

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Sweet love shines down on us at the top of Mobius in the early morning.

I don’t know what nirvana looks or feels like. And I probably never will.

But what I do know, is trail nirvana. And you can find it, too, by riding a sweet little 3ish-hour ditty that hits all the greatest hits of lower Post Canyon with nary an overlap (ok, just one, little, teensy, tinsy, one). I call it – Post Nirvana. Basically, it’s nirvana that goes beyond nirvana because it’s POST nirvana (see how that works?).

A couple years ago I lie in bed wondering – how can I connect all my favorite trails in lower Post Canyon? Perhaps you’ve considered this yourself, or maybe it seems a strange thing to do while lying in bed. Regardless, this is what the Gorge does to some of us. We go adventure and then drift off to sleep dreaming of more.

So there I was wondering how to make it work. I’d start at the bottom of Seven Streams, of course, and work my way up. But then how to get in both Mobius and Cardiac Hill? (The Slog as I call it). I want to ride Kleeway and also Mitchell, not to mention all of 8-Track and, obviously, my beloved Charley’s. But I need efficiency. A clean route, not sloppy with overlaps and double backs. So I started to lay out the route and with the help of sweet honey’s suggestion to use the 140 road as a link I came up with the following:

1. Up Seven Streams
2. Up Mobius
3. Down Spaghetti
4. Up Charley’s (sweet, sweet Charley’s)
5. Down Toilet Bowl (from the toilet, mind you).
6. Cut over to Cardiac Hill (don’t you dare get on Kleeway yet, that’s for later)
7. Up Cardiac Hill
8. Through Family Man
9. Up Lower 8-Track
10. Up Upper 8-Track
11. Down Bad Motor Scooter
12. Down Upper GP (hello Moments of Silence)
13. Down Lower GP
14. Head left onto the 140 Rd. (I always take wrong turns on it)
15. When you get to Post Flats staging area, cut over to those trails that connect to Mitchell Ridge.
16. Down Mitchell Ridge
(*Now, at this point, some of you – myself included – are going to arrive in that upper parking lot and you’re really gonna wanna just be done, and it’d be so easy to just head down, but TRUST ME, YOU HAVE IT IN YOU! Turn that bike towards Cardiac Hill and hit it.)
17. Go all the way up Cardiac back to Family Man.
18. Get over to Middle School and take that to Float On
19. Down Float On (humming Modest Mouse)
20. Down Kleeway
21. Down 7 Streams and YOU’VE DONE IT! Go buy a beer with your buddies and celebrate the feeling of awesomeness.

I call this Post Nirvana 1.0 – I’ve yet to see if I can reconfigure it to add in some of the new stuff like Mix-Tape, Eldorado, Sister Wife etc. I’m open to suggestions if you have them. Until then, this makes me pretty happy and maybe it’ll make you happy, too. I’ll be riding it tomorrow morning at 7am – if you’re awake, come join us for any or all of it! Or lemme know when you wanna give it a go and I’ll pack some extra snacks and join you (Doug? Jimmy? Come on!)

And one last little hurrah, because Old Man Graka is back in the country and back on his bike! Thank goodness – cuz he can be a real grouch when he’s not riding.

Go get it y’all! The dirt’s real nice and vine maples are glowing!

 

Wild Ride

Hey all, if you haven’t heard, there was a recent bear/cub sighting in the Toilet Bowl vicinity of Post Canyon. We also came across a dead goat on our ride yesterday – right near the base of Seven Streams. (Anyone know if that’s connected to all the signs about a cougar sighting?) And this morning we passed a runner who warned us of the infamous attack owl…We’ve got a great, wild place in our backyard – so be prepared to share the trail, with all walks of life.

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Julie and I were a little rusty in our wild animal preparation for this morning’s early ride – but we did our best. I’ll be Googling “what to do if you meet a (fill in the blank with a wild animal)” before our next ride. But feel free to weigh in (Jocelyn, I’m looking at you.)

 

 

Logging in Upper Post Canyon

Logging has begun in the Post Canyon neighborhood of Dirt Surfer. I don’t know the upper trails that well, but you can see in the photos/video where we finally ran out of trail and met the clearcut (which was in progress this morning, Sept. 24, 2016).

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I’ve not had a chance to do much research or thinking on the topic of clearcuts and our mountain bike trails, which is what I’d want to do before I say much more. But I will point you to an older post (2012) by Temira (an excellent source of all things outdoor/play/weather in the Gorge) that takes a deeper look at logging and trails. I’d be interested to hear thoughts/facts/experiences from others who follow this more closely.

And, it’s a great reminder for all of us riders/hikers/runners who use these trails to give some time or money to HRATS (Hood River Area Trail Stewards) – who do so so so much to build, maintain, and advocate for our amazing trail system. Just consider the number of hours you spend on our trails, multiply that by the health benefits, whoops of joy, and good clean fun that these trails provide us all and it’s worth every darn penny.

 

Falls Creek Falls

I don’t want to tell you how to live your life, but if you’re feeling a bit blue, it’s probably because you haven’t ridden Falls Creek Falls in awhile. And I want you to know I understand. The Gorge is full of great rides or you’re coming from Portland and don’t want to cross the river. But look, it’s the end of August, and time to break out of your riding rut.

Last weekend I got to ride FCF. The 3 ways to do it are as a shuttle (not too shabby), an out-and-back (yuck), or a loop that starts with climbing the road up to the start of the trail(hmmm….)

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A lucky few will get to see an actual old man at Oldman Pass.

I’d only ridden it a couple times before, as a shuttle starting at Oldman Pass, but the gung-ho group I was with convinced me that riding up the road wasn’t-really-that-bad.  Plus, they argued, riding the road took just about as much time as shuttling so might as well earn our turns, right?

 

And while I’d never state this publicly, I actually enjoyed the ride up the hill. Though it certainly helped to have an early start to beat the heat, and great conversation partners.

The singletrack itself is dreamy. An exercise in moderation. No epic climbs. Not too much technical. Just flowy, swooping singletrack through gorgeous forests (a great place to practice your turns!) And sure, there was some dust, it’s mid-August afterall, but there were also sections with a bit of tacky dirt AND huckleberries!

To top it all off, a new, sweet sweet section of singletrack has replaced a big-ol-chunk of gravel road riding on FCF. Have you ever built trail before? It’s friggin’ hard. So go give some of your money to the folks at the Northwest Trail Alliance.

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BB getting ready to check out the new section of trail!

They built the new section (along with fantastic volunteers and partners) and it’s incredible. Banked berms, kickers, rocks and boulders thoughtfully placed, views, benches even! So much more than just connecting A to B. As of August 2016, the trail’s still pretty fresh, which means some extra dust and bumps – even more reason to give it a ride, pack it down, and help it get ready for the glory days. When you’re done, hop in the water to cool off, then grab a beer at Backwoods Brewing. Now, aren’t we all feeling just a little bit better?

UPDATE: Since writing this post, I heard from Mr. Andy Crump over at the NW Trails Alliance. He knows a thing or three about the new section of trail and pointed me to a recent NWTA newsletter that describes this epic, 5 year project to create 3.5 new, awesome, trail miles!

 

 

Ouch!

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Love hurts.

A friend once told me that if you don’t fall when you’re riding then you’re not pushing yourself enough. I get what she’s saying, but come on. This humdinger kept me off the trails for 10 days, and I don’t even have a good story for it. I was riding down sweet, sweet Kleeway here in Post Canyon. A trail I’ve grown to love. It was named after Matt Klee – a force for good in the Gorge riding scene, who unfortunately died in an accident before I ever got the chance to know him or give him kudos for all his hard work.

Kleeway is a swooping, hillside ride that moves from clearcut into forest. An alternate downhill route to the ever-popular Seven Streams. I’ve heard some grumblings from folks who don’t feel it’s accessible enough to all skill levels – ie. that it’s more advanced than they’d thought it was going to be – but I beg to differ. I have a blast riding it, even if I roll a lot of kickers and can’t even imagine gapping the gaps. Plus, since it’s a bit wider than your usual singletrack, you have a bigger landing pad when trying some of the smaller jumps.

I’d like to tell you that when I had my crash it was because I was shredding the trail like a pro – but, I wasn’t. I can’t even remember the exact spot where I fell. I didn’t black out, but I hit quick and hard. My bike and body were pile-driving my head into the dirt before I  had a chance to try and catch myself. Ouch. I lay there and groaned long enough to assess the situation. My riding group was long gone and fortunately, no one was zipping down the hill behind me.

I crawled back onto my bike and rolled the rest of the way down Kleeway. Once I hit the upper parking area I stuck to the road until I met my group waiting for me at the bottom. I didn’t feel like being tough and frankly, my knee had a big flap of skin hanging off that was really grossing me out. I got my group’s advice on preferred knee-pads (more on that in the future) and bid them adieu.

At home, my hubby tried to use our hose with a spray nozzle to clean out the wound, but the combination of pain, a messy gash, and 2 curious kiddos crawling on my achy bod, made me realize the job was not going to get done and the flap might just need some professional help. Off we went to the Emergency Room for some family bonding on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

The nurse told me my knee looked “gross” and the doctor told me it looked like it had just “exploded” on impact. Thanks to some magic injections, a fancy cleaning syringe, and a tetanus shot, my knee was cleaned and stitched up in no time. And, of course, the best time to take your bike in for a tune-up is when you won’t be needing it for awhile. So off it went for a tune-up to get ready to ride another day.