Last week, a team of Cycle Oregon staffers went down to Monmouth to experience the 2010 weekend course as riders – a task that was both beneficial and enjoyable. This year, riders are in for a real treat. Here’s a preview:
Day one features six distance options ranging from 19 to 100 miles. Every option features lush farmland, picturesque vineyards, beautiful old houses, magnificent barns, mature trees, rolling hills, a wildlife refuge and a ride on the Buena Vista ferry. The longer options include two loops that give new meaning to the phrase “bucolic splendor.”
The Hanna Covered Bridge Loop is the most challenging and the most spectacular. It is the only section that has any significant climbing, the majority of which happens on a single, stair-step hill. There is a second climb steep enough that it might make you cry, but it’s short enough that your tears will barely get a chance to dry before you reach the top. The Hoffman Covered Bridge Loop has a lot less climbing and is only slightly less scenic.
Day two is a lot like day one in that it’s also awesome. More fertile farmland, rolling hills, trees, orchards and vineyards await. Outside Dallas, there is a great loop that penetrates the eastern edge of the Coast Range. This section offers a few short, challenging and rewarding climbs that are best described as steep. Fortunately, the section is so pretty that you might not even notice them.
The road itself will play an important role on day two. There is not a speck of chipseal to be found. With the exception of a few gravel sections, the whole ride takes place on silky, smooth, sexy asphalt. There is nothing better than riding a properly tuned and lubricated road bike on this type of surface. The only thing you hear is the hum of your tires as the miles fly by. Those of you with squeaky cleats or bikes that rattle will be extra noticeable – and possibly a bit lonely – on day two.
Which day will you like the most? There’s only one way to find out. Good thing July is nearly here. In the meantime, if you’d like to see more photos, check out the Cycle Oregon 2010 flickr group.