Saturday, May 23, 2020

Sublimity Hills Gravel Grinder

Under most circumstances a sub-twenty mile ride wouldn't even count as a ride, but this twenty mile ride was brutal. I had to walk a hill. Only one, and towards the end of the ride. It wasn't even the steepest one. I haven't had to do that in years! So sad.

The area around Sublimity is beautiful rolling hills. I don't think there is a flat road anywhere. And the views are gorgeous from deep down in the gullies to the top of the hills where you can see for miles across the Willamette Valley. We would be riding both pavement and gravel.

Last year we did a variation of this route, that was on pavement. Both routes have many similar views and share the same roads from time to time, so if gravel isn't your thing, there is a paved route as well.

Cool old barn

Yellow field. Canola perhaps?

Sweet sweet gravel

The gravel was disappointing. Loose and sometimes deep. It wouldn't be so bad on a gravel bike perhaps, but my bike was skittering all over the place. I'm a chicken, so I had to keep speed slow on the downhills, and if the climbing got too steep my tires wanted to spin out. I saw 15% grade on one hill, and 13% on a couple of others. Fortunately those pitches were mostly short. Many of the hills were 8-11% grade. (Sadly when I upload the file to my ride apps they show a max grade of something like 8%. 🤬 Ron did better than me with his mountain bike.

One more cool old barn

The views make up for it. We had lunch at one of the prettiest view points of the ride at the Union Hill Cemetery. I think climbing up to this is where I saw the 15% grade. I didn't get a photo of the cemetery, There were people there adding flowers to some gravesites, and I didn't want to disturb their time there. But I did get a nice pano of the view across the road of the valley.

Union Hill

The view from Union Hill

The one part I hate on this route is a short ride on highway 214 that goes to Silver Falls State Park. There is no shoulder, it's a climb, and traffic can be heavy and sometimes impatient. It also has a dodgy left turn on a blind corner. Today the cars were patient and passed with care, and once off that road the rest of the ride was peaceful and quiet.

Clover fields

We cut off a portion of the ride that is a tough climb up Coon Hollow Road. This also made us miss one last gravel section, but for today 20 miles was enough. My legs were tired and had their fill of gravel and climbing.

I love riding in this area. It's tough, at least for me, and I might stick to pavement, but it's well worth the effort.


19.8 miles
5.7 mph average (ugh!)
1,811 ele. gain
Av hr 140
Trek Domane/36mm tires


redlegsrides said...

Less than 20 miles while you’re the power source doesn’t count as a ride?!?! I’d be in trouble. Nice open scenery to be sure!

Bluekat said...

You could do it. Getting used to those skinny saddles is the hardest part. 😜