Capitol forest, yet again

I am such a creature of habit. The Capitol forest area does offer some nice trails, and lots of dirt-road options when its wet. On Friday morning, I quickly connected some trails that I had previously ridden in a big loop on Garmin Basecamp, and drove off. A trail crew was out fixing the drainage ditches and I had a short chat with one of the workers. They have to maintain a huge area: between the Cascades to the ocean, and from Olympia down to Portland. My plan for this ride was to pay attention to pacing and to test the energy drink that I have concocted. It was ~50 F, and on beginning the second long climb, I shedded the long pants. I discovered where the Porter Mima #8 connects behind a turn in the road, and took that new stretch of single track for a while. Loved riding that section!

Green moss and red dirt are the staple of rides in the NW.

Green moss and red dirt are the staple of rides in the NW.

I did not run into snow this time, but plenty of water made its way down from the mountain top. Next came the long descent on PM#8 and the Lost Valley loop. There, I came across 3 Mexicans picking leaves in that remote part of the forest. It was a bit odd, I thought, so that they didn’t seem particularly interested in me was fine with me. A few hundred yard down the trail, there was a carefully stacked round bail of those leaves. Bundled with a nice rope. Not 5 minutes later, I met another couple Mexicans, this time a man and a woman, also picking those same leaves. I don’t know what they were going to do with those leaves, or where they had parked their vehicles. It sure was curious. It’s quite a hike out there.

I was pacing myself well, letting off a bit on the hard sections – and then riding more continuously on the easier sections. It worked well to spread the load out a bit. My maltodextrin energy drink was fueling well – no upset stomach and legs recovered nicely after gassing it a bit on some climbs.

Towards the end and after a 1 mile climb at 15% grade, which I mostly walked, I noticed that the road was a bit washed out and closed off with mounds of dirt. No problem, I thought – I am on a bike – how bad can it get – I told myself as I kept pushing on. I soon saw how bad it can get. There was nothing left of the C8200 road, so I had to turn around and re-route. One way would be to ride over a different mountain – about 2 hours extra. My water just ran out, so I prepared a water bottle with fresh water from the creek and put a ClO_2 pill in it. But, another option appeared to be available according to my GPS, so I decided to try that: go up to the next road via an ATV trail with just an additional 400 ft. of elevation gain. Didn’t take that long, and was actually some good riding, and some good pushing.

No way, seriously.

No way, seriously.

Made it back to the car after 7:15 hours: 46 miles, 6500 ft, GPX track. Not bad – and good thing that I didn’t have to drink that additional water bottle: the concentration of the ClO_2 was too intense for the 21 oz of water (it said to use 32 oz of water with 1 pill on the package). A group from the FOCF were setting up tents for tomorrow’s marathon. They seemed nice and busy, so I didn’t chat much. Meanwhile, a couple idiots on 4 wheelers were gassing it completely out of control – running through the parking lot and up and down the dirt road, with a beautiful Labrador retriever almost getting run over several times. Then they went into a non-motorized vehicle area and turned loops for a couple minutes. How sad.

In other good news though, the northern section of the Capitol Forest is still closed to ATVs and motorcycles until April 1. Also, for some odd reason, I didn’t hear a single gunshot the entire time! This was truly an enjoyable ride – even with a little bit of adventure.

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