I had just gotten back to my home on the Oregon Coast from a road trip to Boise, Idaho when my shreddy endurbro Chris T. hit me up and invited me on a trip to Oakridge, Oregon. Oakridge is a very special place and I hadn’t been out there yet this season so I figured even though I missed a lot of work already I better just go ahead and tag along. I mean, why wouldn’t I go ride bikes for 3 days and drink beers by the river?
The weekend couldn’t come soon enough and I packed frantically the night before the trip. I pretty much nailed it with packing except ending up with way too many boxers and not enough just regular shorts. It all worked out. The next morning I rallied up to Chris’s to load up and hop into “Busty” the bus. The raddest 1978 VW Westfalia bus! With Busty loaded down, we hauled ass down the Alsea highway and then Busty started burping a little. We pulled over and checked shit out and determined she was running a little rough because of old fuel. We stopped in Corvallis and picked up a little fuel treatment and burritos. We continued onto Oakridge and arrived midday. The Bod Nazi (Chris) hooked up a hotel for the duration so we checked in and thought about what to do next. It was so hot we decided we better drink beer and hang by the river for a bit, and wait for it to cool off.
A couple beers later it was time to get a lap in and of course it was our go to loop from town, Dead Mountain. Oakridge is definitely a shuttle town but we did not participate this trip. Miles are good so we pedaled a shit ton this weekend. The Dead Mountain crush went great and the trails were in spectacular shape! (Thank you G.O.A.T.S.) We descended right into the Brewer’s Union and enjoyed amazing grass fed burgers and tasty brews. We pedaled to our hotel and discussed the plan for our big ride day. We decided to pedal Dead Mountain again, but add from there Heckletooth and finish out with Larison Rock. We didn’t bother to figure out the mileage or elevation because we knew it would be pretty damn brutal. So we woke up early, I made coffee with my Aeropress and some delicious Loam Coffee beans. I heated the water in the hotel room with my Jetboil, don’t tell… Meanwhile the Bod Nazi was grabbing breakfast burritos from the spot across the street. Burritos and coffee down we pedaled through town towards Dead Mountain. We pass our buddy Marcello and end up visiting with him for a bit of course. We were trying to beat the heat but talking with Marcello is a must, I mean this is the man himself who coined our Oakridge nicknames. He called me “blue steel” and Chris “bod Nazi” haha! Anyway after a bit we were on our way. Dead mountain is about a 15 mile loop with 3k of elevation gain, we knocked that out and pedaled mellow to start climbing the gravel grind to drop into Heckletooth. I hadn’t been on this trail and was a little nervous because of the stories of how gnar the first few turns were on this trail. The climb was a bit brutal and it was hot, so we took a couple breaks at little waterfalls and cooled down. Eventually we made it to the summit, took some photos and prepared for the drop. The Heckletooth certainly didn’t disappoint but I must say the gnar wasn’t quite as gnar. Bod Nazi took a small fall on some loose rocky turn, but he bounced right back up and kept barreling down the super fast tight singletrack. Then, it started getting pedally and I was out of water. Luckily we got done with the trail and it popped us out right by “Dink’s” store where we bought water and a six pack of beer. We pedaled to the river toward the beginning of the climb to Larison. We crushed beers by the river and I tied the remaining beers to some vegetation on the bank and let them hang in the water. We continue up the road and at this point it was almost not fun anymore, actually it wasn’t until about halfway we caught up with a couple of riders. It was Olivia from the Willamette Mountain Mercantile and her brother (forgot name sorry). The only way we caught Olivia was because she was waiting for her brother haha. We passed them and then there is Olivia on her single speed and she pretty much drops us too… We struggle to the top and visit for a few before dropping into our final descent. Larison rock is awesome and we ripped it pretty well, catching a few people on the way.
The ride that day turned out to be a painful one but super stoked we did what we wanted to!
We make it down safely and pedal straight to the Brewer’s union for dinner #1.
After dinner #1 we head to the hotel but stop at the local Distillery “Deep Woods” on the way. This one eyed man makes amazing spirits but can only serve “mini cocktails” currently. My goodness the drinks were top notch!
After a few mini cocktails we head to the hotel with intentions to go to the river, we end up shooting the shit with fellow guests at the pool. Bod Nazi took it upon himself to be the “pool boy” and he cleaned the whole pool and then didn’t even swim. We end up just having beers and soaking our feet in the hot tub and visiting with a cool couple and an old ganja farmer lady. The lady insisted I try some of her tincture (RSO) Damn I love Oregon! The oil didn’t really hit me but it was nice and mellow. After a while, it was time for dinner #2 so we went to the Mexican place and ate huge burritos and syrupy margaritas. Showers and bedtime.
Morning comes and it's burritos and coffee again and we end up pedaling another Dead Mountain loop and we stopped into the local bike shop, Willamette Mountain Mercantile! The Merc is probably the coolest bike shop in Oregon, and it was great to visit with the crew! Thanks for the beer and good hangs Eugene and Olivia!
After that it was river time, we rescued the beers from the river bank that I had stashed the day before and headed to our favorite swimming hole! Soaking up the sun and taking dips in the frigid river for a while we knew the inevitable, it was time to head home….
We mob the bus back towards the coast, just past Corvallis flying through the orchards. Chris asks me if I notice the bus making a weird shaking, I’m like “nah not really man.” Just then the right rear tire exploded and Chris kept her under control as we pulled over into the orchards to deal with it. Chris is an ex race car driver and it was like we were in an Indy 500 pit stop! Before I know the spare is on but it is a little low. So I did my part and pumped it up with the good old park tool floor pump.
Back on the road as we approach the coast range, the sun went away. Enveloped in this grey fog (aka sea Jizz) this time of year the coast is actually pretty grey so it was a little depressing to leave the sunshine. All in all the trip was a success and I am very thankful for the good times and good people! Until next time, this is “blue steel” signing out!