I may be a little late on this one but info on the 2015 Oregon Outback is up! I first heard about the ride from Jan Heine’s account of the ride in Bicycle Quarterly earlier this year. I was immediately determined to do the ride this coming year. Why do a 360 mile rando-style ride on the road when you could do it (mostly, 75% to be exact) on gravel and fire roads!? I’m all for getting on dirt whenever possible and the route sounds like too much of an adventure to pass up.
For those who haven’t heard of the ride before, the Oregon Outback is a 360 mile ride in the backcountry of the Beaver state, starting in Klamath Falls in the south and ending up north above the Deschutes River. The route links up dirt and gravel roads, with the recommended tire width being about 2″ knobbies. Upon first hearing about the ride I thought to myself, “But damn, I bet registration’s pricey.” This is one of my favorite parts about the event; because there is absolutely no support whatsoever – no sag wagon, no assistance with injury or mechanicals, nothing – it’s totally free. There isn’t even registration. Just a start time and an awesome route. All you’ve gotta do is show up with a bike and turn the cranks over (and then ride 360 miles). Which brings me to the next issue: what kinda rig do I whip for a ride like this?? And how to tackle the distance? One big push? Take it easy and camp? Everyone’s got their ideal tool and strategy for a job like this; post your ideal ride and approach in the comments!
There’s a bicycle I believe would be perfect for the application that occasionally lives in the shop that is begging to be ridden in the Oregon Outback. Expect a profile of the bike and why I think it’d be the best for the task later! To be followed by a reality check and what I will actually be riding (to be clear, a bike I’m equally in love with).
…there’s a new CX Hairs video out! This time it’s not Sven but Marianne Vos we get to watch put on a clinic on ‘How You Should be Riding Your ‘Cross Bike’. And for those that don’t know, CX Hairs has been keeping us here in the ‘States up to date on the ‘cross scene across the pond and providing excellent commentary and race breakdowns since 2008. So for those of you who plan on racin’ into January (I’ll see you out there!), enjoy the video and get stoked for the weekend! PS — For those planning on puttin’ the CX machine away ’til next season stay tuned for a walkthrough of some simple things you can do to make sure you don’t pull your ‘cross bike back out only to find the headset is crunchy, your bottom bracket is seized and hub bearings shot.
This Sunday’s race was the last in the Cross Revolution series (the series formerly known as Seattle CX). The course this weekend was simple; relatively flat with a short, punchy uphill on the back side followed by a fast descent, a run-up with a couple barriers, another fast descent on which you were sorry if you didn’t commit to the rut, and a tricky downhill, off-camber left-hand turn (which you could really rail if you unclipped your left foot). Nothing out of the ordinary there. It was the frozen, uneven ground that made this course the sufferfest that it was. The below freezing temperatures ensured that no matter how many riders plowed through, there was no smooth line that developed on the day. The pain we had the good fortune to experience this weekend was one you experienced throughout your whole body – there was no resting or carrying speed after a downhill through the flat sections. It took constant adjustment and using your core and arms to keep from getting bucked out of the saddle by a rogue pothole (I found that trying to ride it like a rhythm section, pumping through the depressions, helped to keep speed up). The next morning my arms, back and abs were screaming at me just as much as my legs. it was a good day out at the races.
There is no shortage of ‘Tubular vs Tubeless vs Clincher’ articles out on the internet right now, especially since we’re in the thick of the ‘cross season, but I’d like to toss my hat into the ring. I’m not too particular to the marketing-speak of the bike industry and I’ll try to keep the tech jargon to a minimum and focus on the real world feel and performance of the tire. So with that long-winded introduction I’ll keep my review brief: Hot damn. Having raced clinchers for all of this year’s ‘cross season until this weekend I say with confidence that the difference is real. I felt considerably more confident being aggressive in the muddy, off-camber corners. The suppleness and compliance offered by the latex tube inside the Gripo equals pure, unadulterated shred through the technical sections. They give visceral feedback, assuring you, “We’ve got you.” They produce an audible ‘hum’ that lets you know exactly when you’re on it and when you need to “Harden the Fuck Up” (Rule V). If you’re looking to start upgrading your race setup, skip the carbon and get on a set of tubulars.
We are Branford Bike. A small shop tucked away on Seattle’s Capitol Hill. We sell bikes and fix them. We are also cyclists. We commute. We race. We train. We ride dirt, climb mountain passes, seek quiet country roads and the sound of a freewheel whirring on a long descent. We are passionate. Our goal is to share that passion with all who walk in our door. We stock the good stuff but believe that there is no place for an attitude in the cycling industry. The more bikes on the road, the better. Through this blog we hope to share with you our love for cycling, and celebrate the ways in which these machines bring us together. Cheers.