Rather than drive into the Portland/Beaverton area 2 hours away to attend the big Cycle Oregon Kick-off Party (and drive back home), we decided to have our own kick-off party at home complete with microbrew and taco bar.
I'm adding the route here as a reminder to myself. Sounds challenging:
Day 1 – September 11: Sutherlin to Cottage Grove
“Hill and Dale” (47 or 70 miles) Our opening day builds to a climbing crescendo, starting on the inspiringly named Nonpareil Road, followed by a gentle climb through a wooded ravine. Then it’s rollers past oak copses and sheep farms, on into Scotts Valley before turning upward on London Hill for a long, steady grind. A sinuous, forested descent to lunch bottoms out for a flat cruise into Cottage Grove, skirting the shores of Cottage Grove Lake. A lovely introduction to an epic week
Day 2 – September 12: Cottage Grove to Reedsport
“Roller Coast-er” (90 miles) Today we taste one of the truly sublime coast routes. From the handsome downtown of Cottage Grove, pedal incredibly smooth backroads into tiny Lorane, and then glide through a tunnel of trees on Siuslaw River Road. Yes, there’s a climb and a summit, but you’ll be so euphoric you won’t mind. After lunch it’s a steady ride through the “Chapel of the Coast Range,” a forest-and-river cathedral. We follow the Smith River to Reedsport as it grows placid and wide.
Day 3 – September 13: Reedsport to Bandon
“Cape Crusaders” (76 miles) Start off rolling past dunes, marshes and lakes along Highway 101, before turning off to swoop and loop around Kentuck Bay. After climbing up and over to Charleston, enjoy lunch at stunning Shore Acres State Park as waves crash against rocky outcrops and seals bark on the way out to Cape Arago. After lunch, take on the Seven Devils – short, steep pitches that will test your resolve – before descending to Bandon for a cruise through the dunes and on into Old Town.
Day 4 – September 14: Bandon – Port Orford Layover Option
“Parks in Paradise” (56 or 66 miles) After the rollout along scenic Beach Loop Road, enjoy a surprise: glassy-smooth pavement and good shoulders along Highway 101. The optional side trip to Cape Blanco is a must-do, taking you past headland mesas and cranberry bogs to the cape’s rugged shoreline and majestic lighthouse. Our lunch spot at a park in Port Orford features trails leading to the beach. Retrace your way back up the coast for a new view of the same great scenery, and then find more fun back in Bandon.
Day 5 – September 15: Bandon to Powers
“Pedaling Pastoral” (60 miles) The theme of the day is tranquility, as we traverse low-traffic roads through pastureland and along gentle waterways. Start with a backroads route from Bandon to Coquille, and then enter a Mad Hatter maze of turns on what seems like a dozen roads that all have the same three names (watch your signage!). It’s a pleasant multidirectional meander through dairy farms and pastures. After lunch in Myrtle Point, take a magic carpet ride into Powers – rollers, swoops and views down to the Coquille River as we approach town.
Day 6 – September 16: Powers to Riddle
“Stairway to Heaven” (85 miles) This is a quintessential Oregon forest ride. Climb gradually under a shady green canopy, alongside a boulder-strewn stream, then turn toward the sky for a sturdy climb past waterfalls, before smoothing out for a glide into the aptly named Eden Valley. After lunch the major climb of the week awaits, but the serene surroundings offer a worthwhile trade-off. And it’s (nearly) all downhill after that, including an amazingly smooth run-in that follows Cow Creek for miles of pick-your-pace pedaling.
Day 7 – September 17: Riddle to Sutherlin
“Water to Wine” (52 miles)Today’s finish reminds you of the diverse splendor of Oregon riding. You’ll pass pastures of sheep, cattle, llamas and horses. You’ll fly by lumber mills, roll through river valleys and ascend along hillside vineyards. The middle part of the day follows a local wine-tour route, including a stop at the picturesque Melrose Winery. After the rollers spill out into a broad valley, you’ll follow gently rolling swells into Sutherlin, capping a memorable week.