A year is a long time to be working towards a goal - espcially when there’s so many individual milestones to be met along the way. In 2018, ...

Aug 6, 2010

Xterra Portland course

Since I'm in Portland for the Haulin Aspen trail marathon (in Bend, but I flew into Portland) I figured I would take the chance and pre-ride the Xterra Portland course out at Hagg Lake. The race is the 14th, so i'm not going to be around to compete, but it was good oppertunity to get out on the bike and ride in a different area of the country. And I have a friend who's racing and she's not the best of mountain bikers. She wanted someone to pre-ride with her. I rented at bike from the Fat Tire Farm in Portland ( and drove out to the lake. My first experience with a hard tail and it was interesting. The hard tail definently climbs much better then my full suspension bikes, but it wan't smooth going down hill at all. Might be my plinko chip style of decending, but I felt like the rear wheel was getting hung up on everything.

It was a fun, not very technical but challenging course. The trail alternated between riding in the deep, dark old growth evergreens around the lake and wide open fields filled with black berry brambles. The sections in the trees were twisty, with short descents and steep climbs. I was surprised that there weren't very many roots at all. After Waco and Pelham, I was expecting this to be a fairly rooty trail. But it wasn't without challenges. My legs were still rather tired from the Falcon 100 km, so I ended up walking up some of the steeper climbs. Had a good time on the descents through the trees, despite being on an unfamilar bike. The sections through open fields were pretty hot, with a narrow path through the brambles. There were ruts on each side of the trail, making passing pretty tricky. It will be a fun race - almost wish I was able to come back out and compete.

I think the best part of the ride was being able to stop and eat blackberries right off the bushes! I love blackberries and these were so good. Nothing like fresh berries in the middle of the ride. I wish I'd had something to keep the berries in - would have picked a little more for later!

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