Rode it again 5/18 with a buddy

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  • Mark Guglielmana
    May 20, 2016 at 9:11 am #1650

    Pretty much the same ride as last time. The first section of gravel through farm roads (the “warm up” hill) seems to be in better shape than last August (2015). The washboard there seemed to be gone, perhaps it’s graded in the spring? Also less loose stuff. There’s a switchback on the backside before you temporarily hit the pavement again on Turner Creek – be mindful that this small section has some nasty washboard, almost lost it on the downhill.

    The section next to Barney Reservoir had fresh gravel dumped on it, only partially packed down by traffic. Be careful there! I biffed at low speed when my front end washed out, just a few scratches, bike was ok. There are also some newly “patched” sections here and there with very large rocks and dirty well packed-just slow down on these short sections and pick a line that’s packed down by trucks.

    Only 5-6 logging trucks were seen the whole time vs the dozens last year. Could have been just the luck of the draw.

    Water is an issue-I brought two large bottles and two 1 liter bladders – about a gallon total. My buddy had a Camelback with 70 ounces and ran out 15 miles before we hit pavement at Trask River Road and had to borrow some from me. This was on a day that got into the mid-70’s, and cooled off significantly by the time we got to the top of the climb. If it were a hotter day, I’d consider bringing about a gallon of water and a filter. There are plenty of places to refill after the reservoir, but you’ll want to filter it first.

    Same recommendations as before: the Tillamook Forest map that is a “must have” cannot be found. My recommendation is to download the ridewithgps app on your phone, then download the ride ( to your phone with maps. If the maps are on your phone, you won’t need an internet connection and GPS will still work. About half of the ride is remote enough so there isn’t a cell tower for miles. I turned on the “turn by turn directions” – it may be annoying to hear the female voice tell you where to turn, but it would be more annoying to make a wrong turn, go 4 miles downhill and dead end at a river, then have to turn around and climb back out. Or you can just stop at every intersection of forest roads and check the map. If you’re fearful and confused by technology (or if you just want a backup plan!), print out the route from ridewithgps, and make sure you have a well calibrated cyclometer so you can tell where you are. I did all of these things.

    Also consider a buddy system. The roads look well travelled, but if you’re alone and you have a mechanical issue, or worse, a medical one, there’s safety in numbers.

    June 9, 2016 at 11:14 am #1651

    Thanks for a great write up, complete with practical tips. I’ve been looking forward to riding this and finally get the chance to do it tomorrow!


    June 13, 2016 at 2:13 pm #1652

    After riding this, I would like to highlight several essential pieces of advice from Mark Guglielmana:
    1) Stock up on plenty of water and food
    2) Download gps maps — there are almost no signs whatsoever on the gravel road portion of the route
    3) GRAVEL — in some places the gravel is sparse, and in others it can be deep. I rode on 2.1″ tires, which were great for the uphill. Downhill? My neck and shoulders are still sore from long and bumpy sections of the downhill
    4) Buddy system. I saw 3 pickup trucks at the very beginning of the gravel section, and exactly one more pickup at the very end, and saw no other people or camps for the entire rest of the forest section.

    Physically, this became a very challenging ride. Weather conditions on June 10 included wind, and intermittent rain, which made some sections slick and muddy. The long descent became especially tiring for my hands (brakes!) and neck.


    Mark Guglielmana
    June 16, 2016 at 6:10 am #1653

    Hey, you made it! I was wondering about riding in the rain up that climb. The first time I rode it the day started sunny, but somewhere past the reservoir it started to rain a bit. By then there’s a lot of tree cover, so I didn’t really get wet much, and it seems that the roads get a bit more consistent and packed down. I really got wet when I was back on pavement for the last stretch to Tillamook.

    The downhill sections made me think of getting a dedicated gravel bike. The Elephant NFE seems to be just about perfect, I’m on the waiting list for one, but in the meantime I had a chance to take the UBI framebuilding course this last couple of weeks, so I’m building one around the Compass Rat Trap Pass tires.

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