Thursday, May 31, 2012

Klamath Falls Training Camp

Following my trip to Pear Blossom, I immediately headed up to Klamath Falls, about a 1.5 hour drive east.  I was really interested to check out this area of the country, seeing that is at medium altitude (4200 feet) without having to be in Colorado.  This would be ideal preparation for St. George, which sits at 3000 feet, I reckoned.

My first reaction to the place was how amazingly friendly the people are in Klamath.  Maybe they should get thrown into a competition with the Scots and the Birminghaminians!  I drove up with my little brother Patrick (also my unofficial coach and “soigneur”).  Our first stop was the bike shop, Hutch's Bicyclesto inquire about trails and good road riding and so forth.  One of the staff there, Andrew, not only gave me some great riding advice, but also invited me to stay at his place!  Andrew is a major cycling enthusiast and cyclocross racer, and also very active in the community.  It always pays to know an insider when you are in a new town.  He and his wife Christine made my life very easy while I was checking out the town and training my butt off.  Hopefully Andrew gets that engineering job at Specialized once he graduates! 

I was looking forward to some long rides, but honestly the first couple days my legs felt like death from the 10-miler; I was super sore and couldn’t even run for the next 3 days!  I managed to get in about 3-4 hours per day, with some auxillary running and swimming.  Ella Redkey Pool is an excellent facility there, which is a geothermally heated pool right in town.

The cap off to the trip was the 102 mile Dead Indian loop.  You really need to do this ride if you are ever near Ashland of K-Falls.  Starting in the town of Keno, just west of Klamath, you head north on Clover Creek road.  This runs you into Dead Indian Memorial Road, which is a swoopy backroad, mostly big rollers, which leads all the way into Ashland at sea level.  The last 10 miles or so is an epic twisty descent.  Enjoy the crazy hilltops and varied scenery as you enter Peter Britt country.  From Ashland, you climb back up the 4000 feet you just descended on Route 66 east.  This is a fierce , twisty climb and it was about 80 degrees when I did it; 39 x 23 almost the whole way.  Once you peak out, you assume it will be mostly flat or rolly back to K-Falls.  You assumed wrong, as there are several 500 + foot climbs that you will encounter on Highway 66 as you labor and putter through the last 30 miles or so of riding.  Agonizing but beautiful training.

View from Moore Park in Klamath Falls.

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