One of the major downhill rides from my trip to Ashland, Oregon in October, 2019. Ashland Outdoor Adventures took us to the top and dropped us off for the 12 mile trip back into town.
The upper half of the ride was very, very frustrating since my Rockshox Reverb seat post stopped working. It turns out that, at lower temperatures (around 40º f), the hydraulics cramp up and the post won’t rise. That makes long climbs a challenge and it was rough to deal with on top of the cold and slippery rocks. But it opened back up at the bottom of the trail. I’m hoping that a good bleed will help it out since I haven’t bled the post in almost two years. If not, I’ll be purchasing a new post.
As we descended, the trail dried up, got warmer, and became more flowy. This also means it got a LOT more fun! It was worth freezing and holding on for dear life in the first 4 miles in order to enjoy the trail when it opened up and more resembled something I might find in Santa Cruz or at the Demo. The trails were clearly marked, but that was partly because they were ribboned off for the race.
Off the bottom of the trail, there was a fast descent into town on some mighty lovely residential roads which were lined with a few luxury homes. After we reached the main drag in town, it was a short ride back to Ashland Outdoor Adventures where we had parked the 4Runner. Then it was home, showers, and a well earned dinner at Smithfields steak house!
We rented a nice VRBO listing in the center of town. It was located near the Co-Op market where they sell ULTRA HIPPIE stuff that is both tasty and expensive. Aside from the dreadlocks and (what appeared to be) witches, it was a pleasant place to get good healthy food for the rides.
Ashland Outdoor Adventures took care of our shuttle ride to the top of the mountain. It was tricky getting a reservation for any days except the middle of the week because, as we learned shortly before our arrival, there was a big race in town. The Ashland Mountain Challenge is a portion of the California Enduro Series and attracts top level riders from all over. We arrived on Wednesday, the race was on Saturday. We declined shuttle rides on Friday since we figured the mountain would be packed with training riders wanting to get a feel for the course. We used Friday to tour the town and go beer tasting.
The beer left a lot to be desired. Aside from an occasional imported brew from Bend or a distributed tap from California, we were in an apparent beer desert. Although the locals seem to be comfortable with their local brewers, they clearly have not jumped on the latest bandwagon; I’m talking about the hazy craze and the west coast citrussy fresh flavors and noses. In California, even the local Bay Area brewers are adopting the San Diego mentality of making their beers aromatic and fruity while retaining a hoppy flavor and just a bit of fruit (hoppy fruit, or infused fruit, depending on your taste – not judging). Fruity beers, in my humble opinion, are great Summer drinks. Southwest Oregon beers are very similar to a Pliny or a Lagunitas IPA profile. They are heavy on hops and light on fruit. This isn’t bad or good, just different.
Back to the trail! The lower sections are some of the funnest riding I have done. The fast trails roll with fun drops and banked turns. There’s even the occasional jump! Several runs (and several climbs) are included in the video.
Here are the times and titles:
01:47 AMC Fireroad
09:39 Super D Climb
19:17 Lower Bull Gap
26:16 Upper & Lower Lynx
32:41 Missing Lynx
57:37 Caterpillar Trail
1:02:08 Jabberwocky II
1:12:00 Entering Town
Sorry for the chatter, and the breathing!