Cycle Oregon Blog
Whether you are doing Cycle Oregon’s Weekend Ride or September Week Ride, massage will help you enjoy your experience even more. Here are three reasons why you should book yourself a treatment with Cycle Oregon’s on-site team of massage therapists.
#1 Massage is an ideal treatment for soothing post-exercise muscle pain, or DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). Lactic acid is often cited as the culprit for DOMS, but there’s more to it—lactic acid is removed relatively quickly from the muscles. DOMS is in part a response to the microscopic tears of muscle fibers associated with vigorous exercise. To repair these muscle tears, the body initiates an inflammatory response that can cause pain and discomfort. Edema or fluid in the muscle compartments can also cause redness, swelling, and pain.
#2 Sports Massage improves blood circulation to the muscles, tendons, and connective tissue. It also increases lymph flow, which helps to reduce edema and remove toxins. More blood flow and better lymphatic drainage means faster healing.
#3 Massage benefits are not limited to the physical body. The calming effect of massage improves concentration and lowers stress, which can equal better performance.
The massage therapists on the Cycle Oregon rides are experts at targeting the muscle groups that are used most during cycling. When cyclists receive massage therapy after a ride, they experience less fatigue and muscle cramping, and a marked improvement in recovery time. A little massage can go a long way in getting up that last hill at the end of the day!
To schedule a massage at an upcoming Cycle Oregon event, you can book in advance with any of the participating therapists or visit the massage tent during the ride.
Aradia Willow lives in Portland, Oregon and practices massage at Body Aware Massage. She has been an LMT since 1998 and part of the Cycle Oregon Massage Team since 2006. Learn more about Aradia at bodyawaremassage.com.
The last time Cycle Oregon used Bear Camp Road (1994), stories of an epic climb circulated for years. The local community t-shirt sold that year proclaimed “I Survived Bear Camp.” The 2016 version of climbing to Bear Camp is somewhat easier than the first time around (we’re headed the opposite way), but there is still a lot of “up” involved in getting to the Bear Camp Overlook at just over 5,000 feet. Gold Beach, the starting point for the day, is pretty close to 0 feet in elevation.
After leaving Gold Beach, the route follows the storied Rogue River for nearly 27 miles. The Rogue was one of the original eight rivers named in the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968. According to the Bureau of Land Management, which manages much of the river, the “steelhead and salmon fishery, challenging whitewater, and extraordinary wildlife viewing opportunities have made the Rogue a national treasure. Black bear, river otter, black-tail deer, bald eagles, osprey, Chinook salmon, great blue heron, water ouzel, and Canada geese are common wildlife seen along the Rogue River. Popular activities include whitewater rafting, fishing, jet boat tours, scenic driving, hiking, picnicking, and sunbathing.”
The first 10 miles of the route is on a county road, which changes to a U.S. Forest Service Road for the next 40 miles and then becomes a BLM maintained road for the final 19 miles of the day. After passing a few campgrounds, the route begins to climb somewhat gradually 18 miles from start, for about three miles, before descending to the confluence of the Rogue and Illinois rivers. The 28-mile wild section of the Illinois River is said to be the least accessible river canyon in the lower 48 states. It is visited by only a few rafters and kayakers during the short spring river-running season, which in some years doesn’t even happen. Shortly after crossing the Illinois River, the second stop of the day is at a private resort and campground, before the climbing begins to the overlook at the Bear Camp summit.
The climb is mostly unrelenting for 16 miles, with a couple of flat sections for a short break and an actual short downhill section, and varies from three to about seven-percent grade. Five miles before lunch at the summit, a water stop is planned at Vista Point, a viewpoint overlooking hills blanketed with mainly Douglas fir and hemlock forest. After summiting and a well-deserved rest at lunch, it is all downhill to finish.
The first mile of descent is steep, which leads to a gradual downhill roadway for about 11 miles, and then a quicker descent until arriving again on the Rogue River near the community of Galice. Yep, over 20 miles of downhill, almost no pedaling required! The route then follows the river upstream for the last four miles to the overnight site at Indian Mary Park, a Josephine County park on the banks of the Rogue River.
The route travels south from Gold Beach using Highway 101 for about 28 miles to arrive at the northern city limits of Brookings. For those who choose to ride today—and would like some additional miles, and more climbing en route back to Gold Beach after lunch—an optional route avoids Highway 101 for most of the trip back to camp.
Everyone who rides will travel south on Highway 101, which contains a multitude of awe-inspiring views of the Pacific Ocean. Your first stop is at a viewpoint at the Pistol River State Park, located almost on the ocean. This area is internationally known for windsurfing—in fact, a professional windsurfing event has been held here for the last six years.
After the first stop, the route enters the Samuel Boardman State Park, a 12-mile forested corridor with a rugged, steep coastline interrupted by small sand beaches. In an article titled “This Secret Slice Of Oregon Coast Is The Most Beautiful Place You’ve Never Heard Of,” The Huffington Post described Samuel Boardman Park as quiet and untouched, and completely other worldly.
The park was named in honor of Samuel H. Boardman, the first Oregon Parks superintendent. Seaside prairies, spectacular vistas, secluded cove beaches, rugged cliffs, and forested sea stacks come one after the other throughout this park. Most notable are 300-year old Sitka Spruce trees, Arch Rock, Natural Bridges viewpoints, and the Thomas Creek Bridge, the highest bridge in Oregon. It spans 371 feet and is 345 feet above Thomas Creek.
Lunch is at Harris Beach State Park in a day-use area just above the beach, offering a great view of the ocean. After lunch, you’ll need to decide on a route back to camp—retrace the morning route using Highway 101, or take the optional route using Carpenterville Road (the original Highway 101).
The optional route, which adds 11 miles to your day, has very light traffic and travels through forested areas most of the way, with some clear vistas to the west. If you choose to ride the option, you will initially climb about four miles to a plateau, but climb for a total of 12 miles before descending for about 10 miles to join the main route on Highway 101. There are many views of the ocean from high on a ridge, but the ocean is about two and a half miles away. The community of Carpenterville no longer exists, but it once held the distinction of being the highest point on the Oregon Coast Highway, before the present Highway 101 was constructed in 1960.
After both routes merge, everyone will use Highway 101 for the last seven miles before arriving back at the overnight camp in Gold Beach.
Nearly 800 women turned out last month for Cycle Oregon’s first annual women’s bike ride, Joyride. The event was a resounding success, with participants complimenting everything from the routes and rest stops to the food and friendliness.
“The vibe was noticeably more friendly and open, and much less intense, than other rides I’ve done,” said Elizabeth Vitu of Portland. “The parking was easy, the signage on the routes was spot on, and the rest stops and food were all great,” she said.
Stoller Family Estate, a historic vineyard in the Dundee Hills of the Willamette Valley, was home base for Joyride. Riders checked in at the vineyard before embarking on their route of choice—17, 38, or 60 miles—through the surrounding countryside.
“It was really nice being able to decide which route to take on the day of the event,” said Jessica Anderson of Portland. “You could base it on how you felt when you got here.”
The low-stress vibe and camaraderie were palatable at the finish-line feast, where there was wine tasting, beer on tap, and an impressive lunch spread with food from a number of local purveyors. One item in particular brought many riders back for seconds: homemade biscuits by Portland bakery Lauretta Jean’s. “Lauretta” herself (who’s actually Kate McMillen—Lauretta Jean was her grandmother’s name) and her husband were on hand serving up the biscuits.
“I’m a lady for the ladies,” said McMillen. “It’s great to be a part of a Cycle Oregon event for the first time, and especially this one.”
Leona Sparks of Crabtree, Oregon, was also enjoying her first Cycle Oregon experience. When her friend, Mary Sue Hansberry of Kaiser, Oregon, asked her to do Joyride with her, Sparks had to figure out how to get her hands on a bike. “I’m a newbie, but it was awesome,” said Sparks. “I didn’t feel intimidated at all. Now I’m addicted and looking for the next ride!”
Joyride also drew veterans like Lynn Wiebe of Salem, who has completed Cycle Oregon’s Week Ride 10 times. She described Joyride as a “typical Cycle Oregon event.”
“Everything is very organized, the support is great, and the route was incredible,” said Wiebe, adding, “Cycle Oregon has a way of finding routes that are just beautiful.”
Pictures from the event can be found here, here and here. Read more about Joyride at bikeportland.org. And if all this reminiscing about Joyride has you craving the Cycle Oregon experience, grab one of the few spots left for the Week Ride in September!
Figure 1: The route takes you south along a broad flat coastal plain till Port Orford, with an option to visit Cape Blanco, the furthest west point in Oregon. South of Port Orford, you will wind along a steep and rocky coast until you reach Euchre Creek, when you will be riding on a much narrower coastal plain until you reach the Rogue River and Gold Beach.
Most of the ride today will be across a broad flat plain that extends from the shore a mile or two inland. This plain is called a coastal terrace, and it is a common feature of tectonically active coastlines. Sea level has changed dramatically during the last several ice ages—dropping to 300 or 400 feet below the current level during the peak of the ice age, and rising to about its current level during the warm periods between glaciations, called interglacials. Coastal terraces form during interglacials as waves steadily erode the shoreline when the sea level is high.
Wave action along the shore eats into the rocky bluffs behind the beach, carving a flat plane across the rocks that lie beneath the beach. As the shoreline moves inland, the rock plane is slowly buried by sand as the water deepens above it. Coastal terraces are preserved because tectonic forces are pushing the land up slowly, so that a terrace formed during an earlier interglacial period of high sea level is lifted above the maximum sea level reached in the next interglacial. The youngest terrace you ride on was formed about 80,000 years ago, during the most recent interglacial. We are now about 12,000 years into the current interglacial, and sea level is rising at about 1/10th of an inch per year in southern Oregon, so the modern shoreline is steadily eroding into the 80,000-year-old terrace.
If you visit the Face Rock overlook, you can actually see the thin layer of sand that sits on top of the planed-off rock. In places, you can see the 80,000-year shoreline where it was eroding into the previous terrace, formed during an interglacial 105,000 years ago. You can also see the shoreline from 105,000 years ago where it was cutting into an even older terrace or the mountainous bedrock of the Coast Range.
Figure 2: After turning inland at Bradley Lake, you will be riding on one of a series of coastal terraces, shown in shades of purple. Each terrace is older, higher, and further inland than the previous. The terraces are covered with sand dunes in places (yellow). You will pass numerous cranberry bogs along this stretch (shown in red), and the hills inland of the coastal terraces are melange bedrock of the exotic terranes. The many resistant knockers in the melange are visible as bumps of varied shapes and sizes.
After a few miles riding along the seaward edge of the terrace, you turn inland at Bradley Lake. This small lake is quite famous in the world of geology, because it is the best-known natural tsunamometer (tsunami recorder). The lake formed because a migrating sand dune blocked the mouth of a small creek. The outlet of the lake is high enough that waves never get into the lake, even during the biggest storms. However, the tsunami waves that followed prehistoric megathrust earthquakes on the Cascade Subduction Zone were large enough to enter the lake and flood it with seawater and beach sand.
This disturbance left a characteristic layer of sediment on the lake bottom, and core samples of these layers allow geologists to determine how many tsunamis have occurred over the last few thousand years. The lake records 14 magnitude-8 and magnitude-9 earthquakes in the last 5,000 years. Oregon coastal communities are preparing for the next great earthquake and tsunami, and you may notice blue signs announcing that you are entering or leaving the tsunami hazard zone as your ride along.
Shortly after you turn south onto Highway 101, you will see white and tan colored sand with orange iron oxide stains in the road cuts. This is the sediment deposited behind the advancing shoreline when this terrace was formed 80,000 years ago. You also will see large rectangular ponds along Highway 101, though they may be dry when you pass them. These are cranberry bogs, which take advantage of the climate, abundant water, and soil conditions on the coastal terrace. Oregon produces about 40 million pounds of cranberries each year and is the fourth-largest-producing state. A substantial part of the terrace surface has been modified to make the bogs.
The coastal terraces get narrow as you head south, and you will see more of the mountainous terrain to the east. The rock here is part of the exotic terranes, and is once again melange, strewn with resistant knockers of all sizes. If you take the optional ride to Cape Blanco, you will see some beautiful sea stacks formed by resistant knockers. Cape Blanco is named for the cliffs of white mudstone that make up part of the Cape. These rocks were deposited in a shallow bay as recently as five million years ago.
South of Port Orford, you will pass high road cuts of reddish brown sand and clay, which are remnants of very old coastal terraces that have been lifted 600 feet above the modern sea level. You will continue to follow the coast for a while, then the highway turns inland at Humbug Mountain, which is a giant knocker of resistant conglomerate, or cemented gravel. After you rejoin the coast further south, you will pass across large active landslides for more than a mile, and you may notice the dips and bumps in the road caused by past movement.
Figure 3: The coast becomes steep and rocky south of Port Orford, and you will have to turn inland to get around Humbug Mountain, which is a very large knocker in the melange (shown in green). Just south of the mountain you will cross a series of big landslides (shown in lavender).
When you pass Euchre Creek, you will once again be riding on the coastal terrace, although it is much narrower here. Have a careful look to your left as you turn in at the Rogue River to cross the bridge—there is beautiful shiny blue-green serpentine in the road cut. You may also notice blue signs announcing that you are the entering the tsunami zone.
There’s still time to sign up for the 2016 Week Ride. Register here.