[ORRando] Eden's Gate 400k pre-ride report
bike2work2live at yahoo.com
Mon May 14 19:45:00 PDT 2012
Saturday was a terrific day for a 400k in Oregon's Willamette Valley. If the weather this coming Saturday is anything like this past weekend you're all in for a treat.
The Eden's Gate route is a fast fun long loop down the East side of the Valley (in the hills actually) with a return up the West side of the Valley (most of the West side is flat) near the Willamette river. For those familiar with the route there's a bit of a change this year in Lane County. The control has moved to Walterville where Camp Creek Road hits the McKensie Highway. This change has you on Marcola Road for many more miles than before. Fortunately Marcola Road has been re-paved recently so it now has new smooth wide shoulders.
I like the way the controls are spaced on the course. At the Stayton control I stopped at the small grocery store at the stop sign near the south end of town. I was surprised to find they have tables and chairs in the store. 37 miles later is the next control in Sweet Home. I was in the mood for a Latte so I stopped at the coffee hut in the Thriftway parking lot. Great conversation with the owner and they have a new picnic table behind the coffee shack. It was very relaxing to sit in the sun and sip my latte before the climb out of Sweet Home.
While it's not a control, the Crawfordsville store 10 miles out of Sweet Home proved to be a very pleasant place to stop and have a cold Starbucks. The bench out front was very comfortable and a nice place to chat with a couple of locals.
This ride spends lots of time on great roads but I think my favorite section is the steady long climb through the forest on Brush Creek Road outside of Crawfordsville. On the other side of the hill I hit 51 mph on the terrific descent down into the Mohawk Valley on the way to the next control in Walterville. You approach the C&K Market control in Walterville from the back and there is no sign. But it really isn't too hard to figure out you're there because you hit the McKensie Highway if you go passed it. The people working at the store were particularly friendly offering to let me fill my water bottles at the sink behind the Deli counter and seemed anxious to just talk for a while.
Walterville is almost exactly half way and almost all of the climbing is behind you. It's very flat for about 40 miles up the valley through the next control in Harrisburg all the way to Albany. Make sure you get plenty to drink in Harrisburg because there is nothing but fields between there and Albany some 30 miles away. On Saturday it was hot through here with a pretty strong headwind. The wind is consistently out of the North in the Valley when the weather is good and the sky is clear this time of year.
If you need some refreshment before the next control you should look for it in Albany. My preferred spot is the convenience store on Hickory Rd. After you cross the Willamettte River and turn left onto Springhill Hickory is the first left. The convenience store is a quarter of a mile or so up Hickory.
If you get to the next control in Independence late at night there might not be much open so we made it an info control. Sorry, but I didn't think to check what time the convenience store closes. It's only 10 miles from there to Salem where you should find plenty of places to fill water bottles and eat.
Boy, that's more details than I had planned on writing about. The ride is beautiful and it must be easy and fast because I did it in 15:09 and I wasn't really trying to do it fast. Just out enjoying myself. Immensely!
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