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Guest post: ‘Pushing On’ along the Oregon Timber Trail

Posted by on November 15th, 2018 at 10:32 am

Karey Miles and Deann Garcia enjoying the fruits of their labor atop Winter Rim above Summer Lake.
(Photos courtesy Rebecca Hamilton/West Coast Women’s Cycling)

The Oregon Timber Trail – a new, 669-mile backcountry singletrack route that a rider can follow from the California border to the Columbia River – is a gem of an idea poised to become the definitive off-road cycling experience in Oregon.

Don’t miss the event this Saturday (11/17)!

And as a new trail that’s only two seasons old (it launched in 2017), it’s a gem that’s still a little rough around the edges.

“The Oregon Timber Trail is a new, unrefined route.” notes the OTT website helpfully, “and this guide is likely to be incorrect or lacking in some sections.”

Heartened by these encouraging words, four women from the West Coast Women’s Cycling team (Deann Garcia, Aliza Richman, Karey Miles, and Heather Van Valkenburg, along with Bill Garcia) set out to ride the trail from its southernmost terminus in Lakeview up to Oakridge, a 305-mile stretch that covered all of the Fremont section and about half of the Willamette section (the trail is conveniently separated into four “tiers” to make trip-planning easier).

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The gang at the California-Oregon border east of Lakeview. Left to right: Heather VanValkenburg, Aliza Richman, Deann Garcia, Karey Miles.

Feeling small in the expanse between Moss Pass and Paisley.
(Photo: Aliza Richman)

Day 1 was really “fun”. (Left to right) Bill Garcia, Deann Garcia, Karey Miles, and Aliza Richman take a breather at the highest elevation point on the trail — 8300-feet in the Fremont-Winema National Forest.

“What’s a few miles of bushwhacking through overgrown manzanita bushes and some heatstroke in exchange for a chance to explore the wild and remote regions of our state?”

The website did not disappoint. In addition to the classic joys (stunning desert vistas, the occasional hot spring) and tribulations (punishing heat, sand, cows) of an Eastern Oregon bikepacking trip, the fledgling OTT had a few surprises.

But at the end of the day, what’s a few miles of bushwhacking through overgrown manzanita bushes and some light heatstroke in exchange for a chance to explore the wild and remote regions of our state? The OTT is a gateway to the seldom-seen corners of Oregon and worth getting out of your comfort zone for. The best part, said rider Deann Garcia, was “figuring out that it was possible for our bodies to handle it. Just powering through, feeling like your body was getting better and that you could ride forever… and knowing that you have friends who want to do this with you.”

Deann Garcia and her fully-loaded rig. Come to the event to learn how to get your bike packed and ready.

This Saturday, Nov. 17th, these intrepid women are hosting an event to share their stories and encourage others interested in embarking on an OTT trip of their own. They’ll show a 25-minute video of footage from the trail and then take your questions. They’ll also have their fully-loaded bikes with gear and packing lists to help riders set up their own rig.

And to make sure this trail keeps getting better and better for all of us, all proceeds of raffle sales will support the Oregon Timber Trail Alliance – the team of badass trail stewards who built the trail and do the hard work of maintaining it.

The Oregon Timber Trail: Pushing On
Saturday, Nov. 17th at 5 pm
Evolution Fitness (905 SE Ankeny)
Free – Beers are $2 (bring your own pint glass), Raffle tix are $1 each – all sales will be donated to the Oregon Timber Trail Alliance.

The event is open to all and should be especially useful for women/woman-identifying people who are interested in bikepacking and looking to meet like-minded peers. Hope to see you there!

— Rebecca Hamilton

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8 Comments
  • Biker November 15, 2018 at 12:14 pm

    Inspiring story!

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  • Carty November 15, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    Looks like a fun ride!

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  • Bleffy November 15, 2018 at 12:17 pm

    Been meaning to do this ride myself someday.

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  • Middle of The Road Guy November 15, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    Wow – those are some tough ladies. And Bill!

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  • hotrodder November 15, 2018 at 5:15 pm

    What a great adventure. I offer my heartfelt congratulations to all 5 of the stalwarts who completed this journey! I wish I could be there for the slideshow on Saturday.

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  • mark November 16, 2018 at 11:00 am

    Well done!

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  • John Lascurettes November 16, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    Inspiring!

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  • dan November 18, 2018 at 10:48 am

    The event was a blast! Many thanks to the team for building the community and spreading the stoke as well as sharing some solid logistic information.

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