Monday, May 04, 2009

Bike Route Toasting, Part 3: The Alsea Falls 400k

I dreamed up this route as an alternate spring 400, in case the Covered Bridges route has gotten a little stale:

The Alsea Falls 400k

This ride starts in McMinnville, heads north up the Yamhill Valley, and immediately undertakes the challenging climb up the Nestucca River Road. Halfway to the coast, though, the route turns south onto Bible Creek Road, taking it all the way to Willamina. From there, it's south through Ballston, onto Broadmead and Perrydale roads to Dallas, and into King's Valley. King's Valley Highway takes riders to US 20 just outside of Philomath, where they come within shouting distance of Mary's Peak and turn onto the Alsea Highway. In Alsea, turn onto the South Fork Alsea River scenic byway, and take that to Monroe. From there, the route crosses to the other side of the Willamette Valley and heads back north on flat country backroads through Brownsville, Jefferson, and Turner to Salem. In Salem, riders cross to the west side of the Willamette, and take roads at the foot of the Eola and Amity hills back to OR 18, and then into McMinnville.

The inspiration for this ride was my affection for the Nestucca River Road, and my interest in riding Bible Creek Road, King's Valley Highway, and the South Fork Alsea Byway. Brownsville looks like a neat little town, too, and Parrish Gap Road into Turner is a fantastic place to pedal. This route is open pretty close to year-round, and should easily be doable as either a spring or summer 400. It's a nice complement to the Covered Bridges 400, too, in that it goes south in the foothills of the coast range, and returns on the flat parts on the east side of the valley, while the CB 400 goes south in the foothills of the Cascades, and returns on the flat parts on the west side of the valley.

The elevation profile is below. Not a ridiculous amount of climbing, and you get most of it out of the way early.


Blogger Marcello said...

Looks very nice. I look forward to riding it next year...

How are services along the last 100k? The slower riders arrive throughout the night, and there is usually nothing open in the rural areas that we ride through. It was an issue for me last year.

4:16 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Hi Marcello,

I don't know if it'll be run next year, but I'll certainly suggest it as an option. I'm hoping to run a summer 400 (the RASH 400) and a summer 600 (which I'll describe next week) next year.

As for services on the last 100k, you're in Salem at the 350k mark, and there's plenty open late there.

Before that, there's Jefferson at the 320k mark. Not sure much is open there once it gets late, though.

Most people will probably need to load up at Brownsville, at the 280k point.

Have you come up with the routes for your 600/1000?

4:24 PM  
Blogger Susan Otcenas said...

This looks like a great route. Might want to give it a try a little later in the season when the weather warms up a bit. I love riding Bible Creek.

5:05 PM  

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