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Old 08-18-09, 09:40 AM   #1
jonathanb715
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Crater Lake Ride report (+ other stuff)

After a discouraging few months with lots of back problems and then getting sick on the Death Ride, I was ready for a good century. I'd done Crater Lake last year, and some friends were heading up to go camping there, so Lori and I decided to tag along. Other than mosquitoes (the Klamath basin is basically a giant marsh), the camping was fine, and we woke up cold and ready to ride.



At the start we saw JoBob and LeeBob. Jo's recovering nicely from her nasty spill back in the spring - it was really good to see her and her bike back out there. She was intending to ride up to the rim, which is a pretty remarkable recovery in a short time! We also saw Glen (gw 12), but figured we wouldn't see much of him once the ride started!

The start of the ride is 30 or so junk miles through empty farmland. Lots of cows, a few farms and not much else. Lori and I were warming up slowly (our friends decided to start a bit later) when Glen came by at 20+ mph. He slowed down (all the way down to 20) so we could hang on his wheel for a while, but neither Lori nor I felt up to that pace so we let him go.

The last couple of miles before you get into the trees and the obvious start of the climb are a subtle false flat. You are climbing a very gentle grade (my computer showed 1%), but it looks completely flat. Our speed started creeping down, and it gets kind of discouraging. Finally, into the trees and a sign for the park:



This is where the climbing gets more obvious. Still not steep - maybe a 3% grade overall, with a few sections getting up to 5%. Just grind it out for mile after mile. The road doesn't help as it's mostly just straight, and with a nice fresh layer of chip seal to boot. The chip seal looked really fresh, but there really wasn't much loose gravel around and not much fresh oil either. They did a great job of cleaning the road after laying down the fresh stuff! Here's Lori working her way up to the park entrance:



At the actual park entrance, a ranger is there making sure we all come to a complete stop at the stop sign (a point that was emphasized all day), and then an easy couple of miles before the final climb up to the rim. The climbing does get steeper through here, but it never gets stupid steep. My computer had the steepest climb at 7%, but it got that steep for some fairly long stretches. The climbs around the rim are actually the steepest parts - and a couple of those go on for a few miles. Once you are up on the rim, you lose any semblence to a shoulder or bike lane, and it was free national park weekend (no entry fees? who knew? a lot of folks apparently). Lots of traffic - much more than last year. Most were pretty good drivers though, and I only got one schmuck yelling at me to get off the road (he was a little surprised because we crested a hill just after that, and I promptly caught him on the descent).

The climb to the rim is worth it, because the views are spectacular:


The ride around the rim is all climbing and descending - nothing flat. As I said before, the steepest parts of the ride are around the rim, but it is never stupid steep. More than half of the climbing is in the part around the rim, and the rest is the climb up, so you get pretty much all 6,500 feet of climbing crammed into a 45 mile stretch - that's the only thing that makes this ride challenging. The altitude isn't bad - you start at about 4,000 feet and get up close to 8,000 at the hightest point. Even silly old cars were able to deal with it - we saw a group (herd? gaggle?) of Nash Metropolitans cruising around the rim amongst the muscle cars, RV's and motorcycles:



And the views were spectacular all around the lake:



After the rim ride, you get to descend that long gradual climb back to the Klamath basin. Even with the fresh chip seal, it was effortless to cruise along at 35 + mph. I'd taken some air out of my front tire to deal with the chip seal, but others did complain about the buzz coming up through their handlebars. Then onto that false flat (it's great to effortlessly ride at 22 - 23 mph on a section of road that looks flat!) and the final flat miles to the museum. There was a post-ride BBQ that was really excellent (especially the homemade BBQ sauce and homemade icecream - strawberry and peach!). Here's JoBob, Melissa, Amy and Glen (and a few others I just met and can't remember their names):



Overall, it was a nice relaxing bike ride with just enough climbing. My stats: 105 miles, 8 hours 6 minutes riding time, 9 hours 22 minutes total time, 6,426 feet of climbing.

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Old 08-18-09, 09:53 AM   #2
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Ok, I promised more - since it was free entry to the park all weekend, Lori and I decided to stay an extra night and hike around on Sunday. The views really are spectacular - from the deep gorge running along the road up to the rim (somehow I missed that during the ride!) to how crystal clear the lake itself is. We hiked down to the lake itself - they have a swimming hole (forgot my suit!) and a boat doing tours around the lake.



















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Old 08-18-09, 09:57 AM   #3
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We also went out to the Pinnacles, kind of some cool volcanic rock formations in a gorge a few miles off of the main crater.









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Old 08-18-09, 10:05 AM   #4
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We left Crater Lake late afternoon, and headed south. We figured we'd find someplace to crash and eat close to Mt. Shasta and spend Monday exploring some of that park. On the way down, we went by a sign for a Veteran's Living Memorial Sculpture Garden. I'd seen the sign several times, and never stopped. It turns out to be some very powerful sculptures created by a former Marine, pretty much in the middle of nowhere - we were about 10 miles north of Weed.



















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Old 08-18-09, 10:12 AM   #5
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Finally, on Monday we explored Mt. Shasta. We stayed overnight in Shasta City, and saw this sign for an interesting combination of goods and services:





















Great long weekend exploring!

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Old 08-18-09, 10:23 AM   #6
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Wow - amazing photos!! Those sculptures are incredible. And of course the lake isn't all that bad either. So glad you guys had a great ride.
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Old 08-18-09, 10:23 AM   #7
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Wow - great photos, and great ride! Thanks for posting!!
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Old 08-18-09, 10:41 AM   #8
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Great photos Jon ... thanks for sharing them. Such awesome scenery. It's been awhile since I last did the Cascades Tour ... makes me want to do it again next year.
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Old 08-18-09, 03:57 PM   #9
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Great Photos! We'll be there at the end of August and now I can't wait to get there!
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Old 08-18-09, 04:14 PM   #10
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Wow! Thanks. Tricia and I have to ride Crater some day.
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Old 08-18-09, 05:46 PM   #11
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Ah Crater Lake. Ah, the Sculpture Garden.

Thanks for sharing! I've always wondered what that garden looked like. I've been thru there a few times myself, but never went in.

How bad were the mosquitoes?
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Old 08-18-09, 05:54 PM   #12
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Jonathan - It was nice to see you and Lori again. Great pictures and report. When I first hit that shiny new chip seal I thought it was going to be real ugly, but it wasn't too bad. I did see one woman that had a chunk of it wedged between her rear brake and tire.

Here's a few of the shots I took during the ride.





They obviously have a much different idea about traffic congestion in Southern Oregon.

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Old 08-18-09, 06:30 PM   #13
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That was great you guys! Like National Geographic online. Nice report and picts.
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Old 08-18-09, 09:52 PM   #14
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My pictures of Crater Lake look pretty much the same as JB's and Glenn's.

It was such a great weekend!

I only rode from the start up to the rim and back. My endurance is still the pitts so I had to stop a lot, but I was pretty comfortable with the climbing and descending. My ride came out to about 48 miles and around 3000 ft of climbing, and I was mighty pleased with that.
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Old 08-18-09, 10:03 PM   #15
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here are a few of my photos

On one of my many rest breaks.



I always get such a kick out of this sign



Obligatory picture of the lovely deep blue lake
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