Sunday, September 21, 2008

Struggle in the Gorge

Mid week I emailed Nelson seeing if he had any plans for the weekends. His response "What you got in mind?" We decided initially on biking up to Mt. Hood, climbing it, then returning. A last minute decision was made - due to the changing weather - opting for riding out to the trailhead of Mt. Defiance in the Columbia Gorge, hiking to the top and returning. The hike part of this adventure would be like climbing Hood (albeit the altitude) since the elevation gain is ~5000ft (Mt Hood gain is Timberline Lodge at 6000ft and the summit is 11,200 +/-) so we thought it would be a good alternative.

We both bid farewell to the wives and headed out of Portland from Nelson's house at 10pm. Our rationale for these all-night adventures is to satisfy our addiction for adventure (and a little bit of pain and suffering) and be able to return to home at a reasonable hour - at least most of the time - to spend time with the family.

The ride out, for the most part, was uneventful. The descent from Crown Point is always fun to do.

The single track section just west of Cascade Locks, was a little dicey in areas so we did the hike-a-bike thing......the boulder fields with moss and lichen that were wet from recent showers made it slow going. Amazingly I ended up crashing once. My NiteRider headlamp worked great. They're worth every penny ---- even though they are expensive.

As usual, Nelson and I talked about future races/adventures....Hardrock, Badwater, John Muir Trail, Wonderland Trail....politics, the yoyo of the stock market, family, etc.

It starting raining as we rolled into Cascade Locks. We stopped briefly to relieve ourselves and to shed clothing since surprisingly it was rather mild. There wasn't a head or tail wind tonight so we made good progress. The last 8 miles was on I-84. We flew through this part of the bike section.....fearing that some driver would run into us after falling asleep at the wheel. We rolled into the trailhead at 2:45 am after having ridden 62 miles. We filled our hydration bladders, changed into our running shoes and ditched the bikes behind a rock wall.

The hike up Mt Defiance was steep, windy and cold. Trail is here: Nelson set a good pace. My legs were a little tired from the ride and were still in recovery mode from the Wasatch Front 100 - just 2 weeks previous. The rain had stopped, but as we ascended, we went through a layer of dense fog from 1500ft-3000ft. The wind also picked up --blowing 25-35 mph. About a mile from the top we added layers. We arrived at the top at 5:20am after having hiked 5.5 miles and ascended the 5000ft. I took one photo at the top and we headed down.

We arrived back at the trail head at 8am. We climbed onto the bikes and headed home. By now the wind had picked up down by the River and we were now having to deal with a 30mph head wind. After a number about 10 miles of this torture, my engine was out of gas. I was struggling to keep the pedals going. Luckily, Multnomah Falls came up rather quickly and we stopped for about 10 minutes. Nelson stopped because my lack of riding fitness. When I returned with a 16oz cup of coffee (in the hopes this would get me up and over Crown Point), Nelson was talking with a roadie who was going some where east of the Falls. I didn't listen much but was trying get get beta (info) from Nelson about any mountain bike trails in the vicinity. I quickly downed a Clif Bar, drank some Nuun and we headed off. The first few miles went well but as we started the ascent to Crown Point I was again out of gas. Apparently I was still recovering from Wasatch.....or that this bike ride (my longest in many, many years) was just too much for me. I told Nelson repeatedly he could go on and I would meet him at his house. However, he was nice enough to stay behind and go at a snails pace. He literally pushed me halfway up Crown Point. The ride down to Troutdale went well.

The long haul on Halsey St was pure agony. It seemed like it took an eternity to get into Portland. We stopped at an AM/PM and grabbed a bag of Doritos. I downed a few handfuls and we headed off again. We arrived at Nelson's house after 15 hours on the go ----- riding 122 miles and hiking 12+/- miles. Another Nelson and Trevor adventure completed. Thanks Nelson for getting me through this one!

I got home, slept for an hour and was then on my way to pickup a glider for our soon-to-be daughter's room.

No comments: