We had such great feedback to the gravel options offered on the Classic in 2018, we’re excited to offer two more days of gravel options for 2019 Classic.
On Day 2 we are bound for Tumalo State Park from Rainbow. The gravel option peels off from the main route at lunch in Sisters. It begins on pavement heading south on Three Creek Rd and the gravel adventure begins when we make the left turn onto FSR 4606. From there we use a mix of Forest Service and county roads, alternating between gravel and pavement and even rejoining the main route for a time. This route offers up some sweet, quiet roads with amazing views and a bit of interesting history in the form of a dam and the reservoir that never was. There’s nothing wrong with the dam itself – it’s the porous rock beneath where the reservoir should be (more details here).
While there is some uphill on this route, it is about 2 miles of climbing that maxes out at 5% grade, so nothing too serious to ascend.
The gravel option cuts off about 2 miles of distance vs the main route, adds a few hundred feet of additional elevation gain, and offers 9.4 miles of gravel roads in the overall 15 mile diversion from main route.
Day 4 from La Pine to Diamond Lake is a long day no matter how you slice it, but great rewards await in the form of a beautiful spot to camp nestled in the woods and Diamond and Crater Lakes. If you’re up for some extra-curricular activity on non-paved roads, today’s gravel option is a bit gnarlier experience than Day 2’s gravel. These Forest Service roads are generally looser road surfaces and peppered with a few hills – nothing too scary on their own, but it will all definitely leave a mark combined with the overall route for the day. Road surfaces range from good, easy rolling gravel, to hard packed dirt, to loose, smaller aggregate and a few stretches of larger aggregate gravel (mainly .75 -1.75 inch size).
Day 4 option is 11.5 miles of gravel which adds 1 mile overall vs the main, paved route. The gravel option also adds approximately 300 hundred feet of additional climbing.
We recently surveyed both days gravel option roads, and at that time, the roads for Day 2 gravel were rideable down to 28 mm tires if the rider is confident and comfortable riding gravel. 30 or 32 mm and up is probably a better starting point for tire size for most on that day. For Day 4 option we suggest 32 mm as minimum tire size. This, again, depends on one’s comfort and experience riding gravel. This minimum size is also suggested to provide some ‘float’ on these looser surfaces to diminish rolling resistance as well as to handle the areas of larger aggregate that exist in places. We will survey both day’s gravel options closer to event date and send out an update on tire size suggestions – road conditions definitely change due to moisture levels, traffic volumes and maintenance work.
Gravel roads will be covered by Cycle Oregon support and safety personnel but with less frequency than the main route. As with last year, we recommend that riders taking the gravel options carry spare tubes and have the ability to change one’s own tires and be generally more self sufficient on these roads.