Important info

Race Day is April 16th, 2011
9 am is the ride start time.

This may be obvious but I need to state the necessary things for riders to have with you on the ride. I won't be checking you over, but if you're missing one of these pieces you may find yourself stranded.

  1. Cycling computer with trip distance functions.
  2. Helmet. Don't be an idiot and show up without a helmet. No one wants to call the cops trying to describe where they are and have a helicopter come to pick you up because you smashed your head wide open.
  3. Handle bar map case. Cyco Active makes a sweet map case that Peak Sports will be stocking.
  4. Cash. I'm pretty sure the Burnt Woods and Summit general store take credit, but cash is universal and a safe bet for a small transaction, plus it comes in handy as a tire boot or home made bandage.


This is in no way a race more of a friendly uncompetitive group ride. It will be officially conducted as a group ride and until further notice will require riders to acquire their own Starker Forest use permit.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Get those postcards sent!

I am now ready to accept your postcard entries. The first 50 entries will get a direction packet and a "ride" prep baggy.

Best postcard design will get a Hamm's beer cycling cap with their race prep baggy.

Before I post the mailing address I need to list some "ride" day needs and remind you that this race is completely unsupported, not official or licensed or insured in any way, and much of the course will have little markings and has little to no cell signal. So be prepared for the worst. Being that this will be in April I'm planning for a rainy miserable day so dress appropriately.

This may be obvious but I need to state the necessary things for riders to have with you on the ride. I won't be checking you over, but if you're missing one of these pieces you may find yourself stranded.

  1. Cycling computer with trip distance functions.
  2. Helmet. Don't be an idiot and show up without a helmet. No one wants to call the cops trying to describe where they are and have a helicopter to pick up because your smashed head wide open.
  3. Handle bar map case. Cyco Active makes a sweet map case that Peak Sports will be stocking.
  4. Cash. I'm pretty sure Burnt Woods general store takes credit, but cash is universal and a safe bet for a small transaction, plus it comes in handy as a tire boot or home made bandage.

  1. Flat kit including a "tire boot" just in case your tire gets sliced open. It's happened to me out there.
  2. Cell phone
  3. Decent multi-tool
  4. Food. Pb&J, gel packet, cliff bar. You're riding for 4-7 hours, prepare yourself.
  5. Spare chain links.
  6. Band Aids or maybe even a first aid kit if your planning on getting rad.
This isn't necessary to say, but training for this might help.

Lastly the address to which I will be accepting postcards.

Hell of the Northwest
c/o Andrew Pierre
1825 SW 49th st #185
Corvallis, OR 97333

I'll be posting updates and a "ride" date shortly. I'm thinking April 16th.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Happy F**king Holidays

Hope you're all doing well. It was a nice holiday weekend. Saw some movies, ate some good food, and played categories on Skype with some Minnesota friends. Here's an awesome clock my friend made for my wife and I.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

oh you silly silly google maps

So I began recon on the planned route. Things went well. From the proposed start riders will be riding paved road for the better part of the first 7 miles, but you will be happily greeted by a well used dirt road that is the foreground to a nice 10-15 minute climb. Then it's off into the woods for a little taste of logging roads.
This beginning portion will be very easy to navigate and after the first climb I'm sure if there is anything in the ways of a pack people will spread out and there shouldn't be an issue of bottle necking. I know I know, I'm making this sound like its a legit race.

I got a little lost in this first section only because I had no map and was trying to remember how google maps had displayed this area. Turns out my gps device mapped a route that google maps had no idea existed. Well after a back track and probably unnecessary left turn which made a large u-turn, I made it to a small neighbor hood. And then immediately recognized where I needed to go. At this point I was confronted by a scruffy Jack Russel terrier who was friends with a Rottweiler who could have cared less about me. After a short negotiation with the terrier and explination that he should probably stay near his home I was allowed to leave.

Then I started the next section of my proposed route. This portion looked great on google maps. Even Starker Forests' map promised this area would be the beginning of a great climb. Well turns out the gate to the road I wanted to go up was electronic and had a chain lock comprised of almost only locks. I ended up checking the Starker map I had and realized I could get on this road via a road just south of here. So I back tracked found the other road and bypassed the gate. Then I ended up near a water treatment plant and was eventually stopped by a man in a county truck. I was pretty sure I was trespassing, but played it off like I was just following orders from my map and figured I'd be ok. He was nice enough to just tell me to turn around go back the way I came and if I wanted to go where I was planning just continue down a different road and look for the next Starker gate on your left. He also said, "If you get hassled by anyone else around here tell 'em you spoke to Jon." I road back the way I came bypassed the gate and then followed Jon's directions.

At this point I was a little off schedule. I had covered 15 miles maybe in almost 2 hours. I was hoping to ride the first half of the route in 4 hours. So at this point I was going to at least ride the first 1/3 of the route. The next section was pretty. Really steep spots and there were some fresh cut sections on hill side with a few single trees left. Everything was straight forward and would leave most people little doubt they were on the right path.
The rest of the route I rode today was straight forward and finished with an awesome decent.

Tomorrow I'll try to ride the 2nd 1/3 of the course.

Happy Trails!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Monday morning

Monday morning will be a busy one. Go take my motorcycle license test, pay for my Oregon drivers license, visit Starker Forests HQ and get some maps, and call up Weyerhaeuser logging for a map of their land.

Next weekend I'll be riding a large portion of the route, looking at the new maps, and looking to expand and modify the route.

Come January 1st I'll get an address on this blog for racer entries.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mac Forest, Soap Creek, and Starker Forest

Today I had the day off, the dog assumed Kristin and I were gone to school and work(no non stop barking due to separation anxiety), and I needed to justify the massive amounts of food to be eaten tomorrow.

This was my ride.
As a native Minnesotan you'd think I have practiced the act of winter MTB rides. You my friend are unfortunately wrong. I've done plenty of road rides and dirt road/crushed gravel rides in winter, but never a mountain bike ride. I had plenty of friends who've done it and have been invited here and there, but I never did it. What a waste of a 5 month long winter.

I loved riding today. Up in the hills, I bet it was in the upper 20's, the snow/ice was so fun to ride on. Similar to loose gravel, but had a much more appealing crunchy noise to it. Not to mention the beauty of a snow covered area. I love how clean snow looks when it first falls. Made me a little home sick.

So today's mission was another one to gauge how difficult this ride should be. 34 miles on the mountain bike with two longer rest stops ended up taking a little over 4 hours. There was one section with an incline that even in the best of hiking boots would be difficult. I had to climb pushing the mountain bike up hill for about 20 minutes, it was more like carrying the bike. Ow! My calves were burning by the end of that one.

So in my mind I think the route will run pretty close to Mary's Peak, then head north, explore some logging roads north of Cardwell Hill, then through the Mac Forest, finally finishing on some flat roads in the valley? hmmm... I'll draw some maps up and see if I can keep it around 70 miles and something like 6000-7000 vertical feet of climbing. I'll also do my best to have at least one decent rest stop. The fast guys should be able to finish this in 5-6 hours. The rest of us can do it in less than 8.

That all being said. I think I'm going to cap the entries as well. Doesn't mean your friend who didn't sign up soon enough can't ride it too, but I'm only going to make as many maps as I can. So for those of you who want to ride this with a map get your postcards ready. In the next couple of weeks I will get you an address to mail the postcard to and will only accept entries after the first of the year. Best postcard will win something, not sure what yet, but rest assured it will be awesome.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

google maps

Don't believe everything google maps says. On today's route, google maps wrote that there was a connectiong road from forest road 3000 to Old Peak road. There was in fact a road, but that road was abandoned oh say 20 years ago so Denny and I hiked a planed out area full of new growth forest for a mile and half until we reached Old Peak road. Very fun regardless. still working on figuring out a route, but I don;t think GPS devices will be needed. I'll have route cards made up.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Yesterday's excursion proved to be a challenging one. I had hopes of climbing Marys Peak and then exploring the dirt roads along the north ridge. Well turns out Denny and I missed a turn and ended up riding a great dirt road that went from 2800ft to about 300 in 20 minutes of wild downhill riding. Needless to say it was fast, but speed was in check due to some massive pot holes. Yesterday's ride consisted of about 48 miles of riding and 4700 of climbing.

Oddly enough I met my limits. Just after descending Marys Peak my legs gave out. I didn't "hit the wall" per say, more like my legs just hurt real bad and did not want to move anymore. That was very odd. Nutrition is key and I'm sure I could have eaten better the day before. Oh well you live and learn.

Next weekend I'm going to explore some roads west of where we ended up and north of Hwy 20. The route I have in mind keeps changing. We'll see what happens.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Can I ask you a question?!?!

Another dirt road ride this past Saturday. Again very painful, but with a few more rides under my belt an imperial century seems do-able. That's not to say it won't be painful and very likely nearing an 8 hour ride, but do-able none the less.

So on Sunday's journey Denny and I rode Cardwell Hill road and then north on Kings Valley and then east on Price creek again. Cardwell Hill was just fine going up. And by fine I mean not a mess of peanut butter, but on the way down it was slow and mushy. The views on Cardwell Hill are fantastic. An old logging road with boarders of new growth forests, Mary's River, cattle grazing land, and vineyards.
Price creek road is a great road. It lines a farm that has fenced areas sized for cattle and yet all you'll find is a acres full of chickens and one single shaggy bull. I'll try to take pictures next ride.

This time was better. I realized I remembered the route pretty well and we were some what prepared for the giant water run off ditches on one of the descents that we nearly launched off last time.

Then we made it to the main road just before we headed into McDonald forest. We came upon an older gentlemen leaf blowing. Leaf blowing a dirt road surrounded by trees. Does that make sense? Back in the old country, Minnesota, we let rain and wind take care of those pesky leaves that made it to the street. Leaves on dirt roads? who cares. Either way this man must have had one mean leaf giving him grief. You know that one leaf that seams like its been super glued to the ground? One of those bastards. Since this guy was frustrated with his leaf job, he stopped us and asked us if he could ask us a question. He then began to make a statement rather than a question. He told us that the road we were riding on was a private one. The only reason bikers were ever on this road is because of some blasted bike race. A bike race held something like 10 years ago. And if we ever hurt ourselves on these roads we are in for some trouble.

What was that suppose to mean? I'm taking it as a weird way of encouragement to continue exploring roads others have been shunned away from.

Come next weekend I'll do a little exploring and then hopefully a little cross racing on Sunday.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

logging roads

I've ridden some local dirt roads and have found them to be a joy. Today's ride consisted of some logging roads that have seen little traffic. By little traffic, I'm thinking a 4x4 goes up these roads a few times a year pretty much for hunting purposes. I also found out that in order to give a good route I will have to do some searching via bicycle, not motorcycle as my previous post had described. There are lots of gates and lots of "no no" signs. Most of which are impassable via a motorbike.

Those roads were fun! Thick foliage, tons of random off shoots, no street sign in sight. The roads make for great riding, but giving someone else directions on these roads would be useless. "Make a right at the pine tree." Turns out that these roads are littered with pine trees so that sort of land mark will be of no use. Denny was prepared with his iphone, which much of time didn't have signal, but when it did we were lucky enough to find we were on the right road. Here's a copy of today's route, Cypress818.

As for giving directions to others, this will be challenging, but I'll figure something out.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

update and in the process of deciding on where to start

So this morning I chose to hop on the motor bike and go ride north of Corvallis. Ideally I'd ride my bike on these roads, but I was under some time constraints and it's been weeks since I last rode my motorcycle. BTW the motor bike was great in Minnesota, but when you work 9-6 Monday thru Friday, the weekend screams bike riding and leaves little time for the motorcycle.

This morning I rode north to Adair Village and then west into the farms and hills. I found some great dirt roads, but came to realizing the beginning of the race may start on paved roads for the first 5 miles or so. Not terrible, but ideally I'd like the race to start on dirt roads. I'd also like to omit the whole crossing of 99W.

I checked out Fall City's bakery today as well. I must say the lattes there are great, could have used a little more froth, but no big deal. Their sweet rolls are huge and delicious.

Here's a shot of how beautiful the ride could be. We can only hope.

Monday, October 11, 2010

routes in mind

So I've quickly drawn up some routes. One north of Corvallis and one south of Corvallis. The south side route looks brutal. 115 miles with nearly 15,000 feet of vertical climbing. There are few towns to ride through, especially ones that have a convenience/general store of some kind. Now this ride should be difficult, but not torture. The north route has plenty of climbing, 10,000 feet, but some of the hills are short and steep and followed by long flats. The north side route passes through a good mix of farm land and of forests. It also passes through Fall City and looks like there is a really good bakery in that town. At this point I'm leaning towards the north route. But as far as the ruling goes, I'll need to go ride these roads and figure out how inaccurate Google maps is. Then based on that I'll see what little tweaks can be done and see if I can include a river crossing, crossing of a wired bridge, or some sort of weird feature.

One thing is for sure, keeping the race 100% dirt road will be challenging. It may end up being like 93% dirt and 7% pavement.

As for now I'll just keep dreaming about the route. And come this weekend I'll go ride some of the route.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

expirence, opinions, and resources

Today was a great day. Rode some dirt roads in the McDonald forest. Maybe riding to McCulloch peak won't be included in the ride, but it was a good gauge for what's reasonably do able.

Turns out I work with a 30 year logger vet of Starker Forest. Sounds like he knows the forest better than most. I also met Mike Ripley(excuse me if I spelled his name wrong), a man who knows a thing or two about bike racing here in Oregon. He mentioned quite a few things I'd never considered or knew such conditions/obstacles existed. Nelson Sherry of Peak Spots, knows the coastal mountains fairly well. He's been suggesting the route go through some hundreds of year old forest where some of the tallest trees in Oregon exist. He also mentioned passing through a plowed over ghost town. I know the route will need to pass through a few small towns to make sure riders can make a pit stop for food and whatever else is needed. I also bought a map of the Suislaw National Forest and a detailed map of the Mary's Peak area.

Now it's time to study maps, talk to officials about necessary permits, what roads are the best, how to mark the route, and to go on recon rides.

Friday, October 8, 2010

A taste of what's to be seen.



My name is Andrew Pierre and I come from the land of 10,000 lakes. Not only do I come from a land of lakes, but I come from a land of free dirt road racing. Minnesota has a huge layout of dirt roads which offer some fantastic scenes. Even though the state may seem flat and littered with hundreds of acres of corn, the dirt roads there traverse a land scape of serene river valleys which offer some long and grueling hills.

That being said, my mission is to organize a free dirt road race for the people of Oregon. The race will be unsupported, full of hills, dirty, gritty, painful, but most of all fun!

Being that I am now committing myself to this I am planning on scheduling this race sometime in April or May. Late enough so its not too cold, but still in the rainy season. Length of the race will be at least 62miles but no more than 110 miles. A majority of, if not all of the race will done on logging roads.

I invite you all to follow the progression of this and to spread the word that Willamette Valley will have a dirt road race that will explore the logging roads of the coastal range.

Stay tuned for more updates...