I’m going to admit something: fitness and speed are really secondary objectives for me. I mostly ride to go interesting places under my own power, get outside, and take a few pictures. I don’t race, and I don’t want to. Not because I lack competitive drive, I just don’t want to be responsible for crashing other people out of the race.
I’m trying to get over my mindset that any ride of less than 50 miles is a waste of time. Frankly, my longer rides really don’t build fitness, they’re mostly for exploration and to satisfy my curiosity. It’s nice that I am in, by all accounts, extraordinary shape because of cycling, but it’s really just a side effect of my curiosity.
That said, speed and fitness are essential for getting where I want to go, particularly out here where 100 feet/mile of climbing is the norm. So I designed this, and I’ve been riding it daily for the last four days. I’m trying to bore myself into focusing on exercising, rather than being continuously distracted by my surroundings.
Twenty miles, 2100 feet of climbing, lots of gravel! It’s the least boring boring loop I could design. I decided to document it today, since it was day 4 of riding the loop and I was taking it a bit easier to recover. Some pictures for you:
It’s still quite cold out here, as you can tell by the pictures. I’m really tired of riding in the cold, so I’m keeping my rides <30 miles for the next week or two. Hopefully I’ll make up for that by getting out every day, though. Soon I hope to get back to exploration and route finding. Click on “Worth the Trip” to the right if you’re just here for the 50-100 mile routes.
Short loops, long rides – it’s all good stuff . Keep on riding & writing. This blog is great.
Curious, here…How often do you encounter motorized traffic on a route like this one?
Very rarely. I’ll see maybe 2-3 cars in the entire 20-mile loop. That’s both good and bad: I like the silence and peace, but if I crash nobody is going to find me for a while!
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My girlfriend and I did your loop this weekend at the ending of our camping trip. It was GORGEOUS! We added a 5 mile detour to see the reservoir which was cool (the descent was amazing). But I think it made us miss most of your gravel, which is tolerable because it was so damn soggy this weekend. The mountain houses on that ride are the most beautiful I’ve seen, and we scared up dozens of flickers, red-bellied woodpeckers and pileated woodpeckers, as well as a blue bird and a bald eagle over the reservoir. Thanks for sharing your route!