Portland cycling has been everything I'd come to expect from the one of the most bike progressive cities in the country. There are spectacular roads and world class mountain biking less than an hour, if not minutes away. Aside for the lack of inner city trails, the cold and damp climate, it's hard to beat the laid back vibe and culture where Portlanders take their pleasure seriously.
Need a challenge? Just head into the West Hills and get lost on miles of twisty roads and steep climbs. Skyline road offers many offshoot adventures to keep your legs and heart pumping with stoke.
Need a little dirt? Forest Park has endless miles of fire road and gut wrenching climbs, especially on the northern end of the park where it's more remote and less traveled. While not the best in terms of trail it offers a great sense of exploration.
The further away you get from the city the better the riding gets, both road and mountain.
On the Road
The gateway to glorious hills starts with Cornell Road. At the heart of Northwest Portland, Cornell takes you through beautiful residential neighborhoods and through the southern end of Forest Park. It's the best way to access all of the great riding off of Skyline. From there head north and loop either Germantown or Springville Road. These have been my go to rides in the morning.
If hills are what you're seeking for De Ronde is Portland's legendary course, covering 50 miles and climbing over 7,000'. The designers sought out the steepest of the steep and connected everything in one glorious route. Designed after a similar ride in Belgium called the Ronde van Vlaanderen. Course markers can still be found throughout town (a crested yellow lion painted onto the road).
Head east along the river and prepare yourself to be amazed. Historic Highway 30 brings you along the infamous Columbia River Gorge. Towering tall cliffs and the wide river below to offer breathtaking views for miles. Vista House gives you the best vantage point before dropping down along the waterfall corridor below.
A few weekends ago I participated in the last of three training rides/races called the King Kong Classic. The ride is a mix of country and gravel road of the North Plains and the hills of Rocky Point. The fast pace and consistent surges reminded me of the lunch rides at Specialized. I felt right at home within the group and kept myself towards the front. I felt strong and finished with the lead bunch amongst some of the strongest riders in Portland.
De Ronde is Portland's legendary course, covering 50 miles and climbing over 7,000'
This is Mountain Biking
I made it back out to Hood River to ride Syncline again, this time as a tour guide for a couple of friends. I brought my trail bike and was able rip it a bit faster than the last time I was there, making good use of my dropper post, fatter tires and burlier suspension. We managed to make it up to the very top and bomb down the upper trails and explored Hidden Canyon, best to come down rather than up. It was fun, nonetheless. The weather held up as usual, and the sun was beaming down the entire day with Mt. Hood as our distant backdrop.
In less than a mile I can find myself lost in the woods of Forest Park, the largest inner city park in the country. I've done a few epic rides, covering all of the legal fire roads, including the remote northern sections. There's plenty of climbing and zones to explore. Next on my locals list are the trails just north of the park in Scappoose. There's also Sandy Ridge, which I've done, as well as everything near Hood River, which will be another story altogether. For now I'm completely satisfied with my options.
They're part of my ever expanding tribe of cycling nerds, bonded in friendship and the love of two wheels.
Oregon XC Racing
My race season just started, competing in the Echo Red 2 Red in Eastern Oregon. I had a solid race and finished 3rd out of 27 in the Cat. 1 19-39 field. I didn't have the best start, and as a result had to claw my way back towards the front. Not an easy task considering that the course was rolling with very tight single track where power and technical skills were critical in holding position. I bonked at the very end missing 2nd place by just 30 seconds over the 30 mile course. It was nice to see where I stacked up and that I still have my race legs. Really looking forward to the remainder of the season. Next up, the Mudslinger Classic, home of my first ever XC race nearly 20 years ago. God, I'm getting old.
Finding the right people to ride and train with is important. Those that are faster than you, and those that are slower but enjoy being outdoors more than anything else. As long as we're all having fun is what counts. It keeps the of the sport of cycling humble. There are so many sides to riding a bike, and it's important to find that balance between being serious, training for a goal, achieving those goals and having fun doing it. Portland's cycling culture is unparalleled. So far I've met some rad, humble, passionate and talented folks. They're part of my ever expanding tribe of cycling nerds, bonded in friendship and the love of two wheels.
Moving time: 1:34:14