Monday, April 27, 2009

Bike Route Toasting, Part 2: The Mollala River 100k

Here's another populaire to do in the Portland area, one that takes us out of the Tualatin River Valley:

The Mollala River 100k
(Click the map to go to the bike route toaster interactive version.)

My buddy Bruce showed me this ride, and as it turns out, it works out great as a slightly augmented 100k populaire (it's actually 107k). The ride starts out in Canby, at the Thriftway, and heads south across the prairie to Mollala. It's flat, wide-open, easy terrain. From Mollala, the route goes down to the Mollala River, and follows it to Dickey Prairie. From there, it keeps following the river up the recreation corridor almost to the Table Rock trailhead. The climb up to the turnaround is gradual, but when you turn around, the descent is quick and fun. The route takes a slight detour on the way home at Dickey Prairie, going over a small hill and picking up Macksburg Road on the other side. The ride back to Canby is a cruise along the edge of the Mollala River.

This ride can be done most of the year, though you can get some snow on the ground up in the hills in the winter months. Services are available at Canby, Mollala, and Dickey Prairie.

Here's the elevation profile:

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bike Route Toasting, Part 1: RASH 400k

Since discovering the bike route toaster, I've gone kind of nuts designing new randonneuring routes in the Portland/Willamette Valley area. If a route goes on quiet roads that add up to a multiple of 100k, I'm all over it. As a result, I've come up with a few promising routes that I'm gung ho about organizing in the next couple of years. So I'm going to share some of my ideas here, to get feedback from folks and to maybe build some enthusiasm for exploring these new areas. First up:

The RASH (Ride Around St. Helens) 400k
(Click the map to go to the bike route toaster interactive version.)

Start in Vancouver, and head east on the old Evergreen Highway, followed by SR 14 to Carson. Up Wind River, and over Old Man Pass and Elk Pass, down to Randle. West on US 12 to Mossyrock, and then backroads to Toledo. South through Castle Rock, Longview, and Woodland on backroads that parallel I-5 back to Vancouver.

The beauty of this route is that it starts off easy, with the traditional tailwind up the Columbia River. Then you get almost all of your climbing done before the halfway point. It's mostly downhill from the top of Elk Pass all the way to Toledo, and gentle rollers back to Vancouver (except for Green Mountain). There are nicely spaced resupply opportunities at Skamania, Carson, Northwoods, Randle, Morton, Toledo, Castle Rock, Longview, Kalama, and Woodland. And the distance works out almost perfectly, coming in at 406 km.

I would like to put on this ride as Oregon Randonneurs' summer 400 next year.

Here is the elevation profile:

Friday, April 10, 2009

I Propose a Toast!

A few days ago, I got an email from the Seattle International Randonneurs' mailing list about their upcoming 400. I didn't really care about the ride, per se, as it starts in frickin' Ephrata, which would make it a bit of a challenge to get to the start, but the online map of the route caught my eye. It was created using a tool called Heavens be praised! This is exactly the kind of tool that I have been hoping for since before the Google Maps Pedometer was created. It contains the following highly awesome features:

* One-click waypoint setting
* Automatic route finding
* Drag & drop waypoint relocation
* Automatically generated cue sheets
* Scroll-wheel zoom
* Easy route archiving
* Automatically generated elevation profile
* GPX import/export

Now, it's not perfect -- the drag and drop waypoint relocation can be a little goofy, especially if you'd trying to revise a really old part of your course. The elevations can be kind of crazy, but that's par for the course with contour map extrapolations. Finally, I've heard that the export to GPX functionality might not be fully implemented yet. But, hey, it's freaking free. And awesome.

Needless to say, I have gone hog-wild designing possible future randonnees over the last few days. I'll be sharing them in this space over the next couple weeks.