Rally in the Valley: Eugene Oregon, July 4-6, 2003
- The NWTR 03 Friday ride explored the countryside–and, yes, the hills–west and south of Eugene. After a brief warm up we climb 500-foot-high Bailey Hill–a hill just made for tandems. Easy curves with a long, smooth roll out. Now onto the rollers of Lorane Highway, where you’ll hardly notice the ups from gawking at the Spencer Creek and Fox Creek valleys. At 12.5 miles we come to Territorial Road and head north. You can almost see covered wagons winding their way along the margins of the valley on the Applegate Trail, a lesser known Oregon Trail which traced a line very close to this road 150 years ago. If you’re not in a hurry (and you shouldn’t be to fully enjoy this road) you could stop in at couple of little diversions. Turn at Briggs Hill Road to visit Hinman Vinyards and sample some of Oregon’s finest vintages. A little further on, turn left onto Battle Creek Road. Just a hundred yards off Territorial brings you to the Coyote Creek Covered Bridge, a peaceful place rest whatever part of your anatomy needs a break. Just a couple of miles further up Territorial we come to the little community of Crow for our first major break and a decision point–the short, the medium or the long routes?
- Short Route (35 miles)–You’re not through yet. You may be heading back, but going back on Crow, Pine Grove, and Spencer Creek Roads takes you past some very pretty countryside. Going back over Bailey Hill Road, you get one last climb and a glorious, screaming decent. Get up enough speed, and you may be able to coast all the way back to our starting point.
- Medium Route (50 miles)–a little jaunt down Vaughn Road takes you past llama and sheep ranches, vineyards and pastures. You’ll want to keep going on this great, light traffic road, but tonight’s lodging is back in Eugene, not at the coast, so you’d better follow the route. Heading back on Bolton Hill Road, you’ll climb a couple of pretty good risers before you hit a steep descent which brings you right into the community of Veneta. Oh, yes, there are latte’s and ice cream to be had here. If you’re going to stop, don’t miss Our Daily Bread Cafe for some tasty carbs and coffee, but please take off the cleats before walking on the wood floor of this remodeled historic church. Heading south on Territorial again, we climb a hill to get back to Crow in time for lunch. Then medium route riders follow the short route back to Eugene.
- Long Route (75 miles)–well if you’re going to go the distance, you should get the rewards, and this route has rewards aplenty. First head back down Territorial Road for a fast 14-mile spin to the community of Lorane. On the way you’ll crest a 1-km riser that suddenly opens up to a view of the Siuslaw River source valley, overlooked by castle-like King Estate Vineyard. Little Lorane may be small but it’s the last bit of civilization you’ll see for 30 miles. So you may be tempted to stop at the Lorane General Store, which has been converted into a cafe where they make cocoa the way it’s meant to be made. From Lorane, we head out one of Oregon’s best road cycling gems–the Siuslaw Road. Almost no traffic, this road meanders alongside the Siuslaw River and through quiet forests. Long Route riders get lunch near the Siuslaw Falls, and you’ll need those carbs… You’ve got some climbing to do. Over the next ten miles you’ll ascend three progressively more difficult climbs, starting easy with a 1 km/300 footer, the last climb to Timber Ridge summit is 1,100 feet over three miles. Watch out for those descents which will throw a hairpin turn at you at or near the bottom. The ride back to Territorial is 6 miles of easy ascent, followed by a very fast 2-mile drop back into the Coyote Creek valley. One final run up to Crow for refreshments and then follow the Short Route back to Eugene.