Landed in Portland, got the bag, got the car, got the bike (Specialized Carve Comp 29er HT) from the good folks at Camas, WA Bike and Sport and got to the TH of Sandy Ridge (recommended by Bill at the shop) and got wet and muddy (as it rained pretty much the full 3 hours) and most importantly GOT ON SOME GREAT TRAIL!!!
Didn't get the view of Mt. Hood as in the link above, but did get the Sandy River.
Even in the steady rain the trail was just super solid. One can see where the crews carried in crushed rock to mix with the clay to make a surface almost unaffected by moisture....and in Oregon, there is a lot of it.
Brian and Sandy, locals from Vancouver, WA got to the top of the paved climb the same time I did. They were nice enough to fill me on on the sweeping route to the left and what to expect.
Then we took off.
I stopped for a photo and Sandy was good enough to take one of me.
A little further, at the true top of the ride.
It seemed too dark for the iphone camera, even out in the open, so I didn't bother stopping to take any more pics, but believe me...the immaculate berm switchbacks (there must have been 2 dozen of them), huge/tall Douglas fir and Hemlock at the top and Alder at the bottom and your typical Northwest Rainforest was better than I ever remembered it from when I lived out here in the late '70's and early '80's.
We pulled in around 8:30 and it was just about impossible to see the trail in the understory due to the poor light from the cloud cover and sun angle....
This is probably an average trail out here and I hope to find that out over the next 10 days....but I was giddy over it...rain, darkness and all. I still can't believe how solid it was in the rain.
It's really probably an all mtn. or downhill type trail (and there were a few young kids out there, even young girls...14-maybe 15?), but it was still a joy for an old guy to ride it on a HT.
Not a lot of rocks or drops to eat up, but plenty of kickers, whoop-de-woos, table tops and just tight short bumps to fly over.
Once we got to the bottom and I was saying goodbye to Brian and Sandy, Sandy said it best..."it was a great ride, but you have to try it in moredaylight and under dry conditions" and I hope to some day.