A couple weeks back we went out to the newly remodeled Suttle Lodge for a couple days of riding and just as many drinking and eating. It's an idyllic little spot of nature nestled in the trees on the edge of a beautiful little lake. The weather was starting to dip that first week in November and while we may have been a little under prepared in our cycling clothing choices everything else was dialed. Plus, we did that Rapha thing, that was fun AND a long day on the bike. Then, we went to Grinduro and that was also hard and a very long day on the bike. So, what did we do to relax?
You thought I was going to say another long, hard day on the bike? Wrong. Really, what we did was explore. Just cruise. Look around. Swing your legs over that bridge and just be cool looking at the rushing water for a minute or two. Or at least be ok not rushing off to somewhere. There are some damn fine roads to ride out here in Oregon. There's no need to hurt yourself after all.
There's a great little trail that you can hop on straight from the doors of the Suttle Lodge. We had a couple cross bikes - Me (VYNL) - Julie (Trek) - Max (Focus) and Greg on his Poler Single Speed (Specialized) and then our guy Marchi show's up with one of those fancy OPEN UP bicycles with the 650b tires looking straight up PLUSH. It's important to know these things, right? So that you've got the right GEAR for every angle.
So, were we grinding? Groading? Or just Griding Along? You tell me, I'm behind the 8 ball on this one because I just like to ride — and a cyclocross bike with some fat-ish tires seems to do just about everything these days.
But, let's not get ahead of ourselves because breakfast at the Boathouse is the thing to do. Stuff yourself with the some pancakes because you want to, not because you need it. And the hand rolled, hand made, "hand held" hash browns are something special. Marchi even threatened to put a couple into his jersey pocket for later. "They'll get all warm again when we get going." Hmmm, maybe not. But they are amazing. And so is the bacon and the coffee and the eggs and more coffee. Yeah, we were jazzed by the time we actually started riding. Yes, jazzed.
It only got better from there. Wait, where were we? Oh yeah, breakfast. At some point during this breakfast excursion we started looking at maps, ok, one map that a local has put together with all of the "Mountain bike" trails on it. Well, it turns out that what passes for MTB track is very, very amenable to the cyclocross bike. Very.
As if we didn't have enough reasons to be out there. We also had a slew of new socks to shoot. So, that was it, that was our raison d'état as it were. Food, friends, fun socks and fall riding. Covered all the F bases.
So we roll out through the forest, jump on some backroads and then Max or was it Marchi mention that we should just pop down that way and check out the Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery. Yes, that's it's real name and not something we made up. The Metolius River rushing past the hatchery had an immense blue color to it that could only be matched by the skies above us. Did you know that the Metolius magically originates below Black Butte Were we really still in Oregon and was all of this really happening? Or did the Wizard of Wizard falls place some spell on us a we laughed at his fish and tossed feed at them from the quarter machines nearby?
Side Note: Take a few quarters with you if you happen to be near this place. Watching massive fish swim for that food is a strangely fun and strangely freaky thing to do.
This is sort of the point in the ride when we decided that we needed to "get serious" about the ride or we weren't going to make it back before dark. Not a single one of us had thought to bring lights either. Thankfully, the left turn out of the fish pond turned us onto a long descent. One of those descents that you think is never going to end, even to the degree that the sweat that has sort of made its way to the forefront of your kit starts to make you cold. Then you start pedaling and thinking "ok, if it's going this far down... when do we go back up." Well, it turns out, that answer was just around the next bend, out into the open and up and up and up.
It was right around that time that we started to question our route. Were we lost? Did we know the way back? Did anyone have any extra food? Could you pass that joint this way again? All the important questions.
But we weren't lost and we did know the way and it didn't even matter that we were running out of food because we were quite literally around the corner from the lodge. Another beautiful dirt road to sprint down and suddenly the lodge had jumped into view and with it a couple frosty brews to be enjoyed as the sun was setting on the lake. Like, seriously, where are we?
It begs an important question though, and one that we hope to answer soon. Wouldn't you like to come and ride with us out there? I mean look at this built in bike repair stand. That's probably enough right there.
All jokes aside, Gravel Camp is coming...