Graham, Mark, Ian, and I headed out west to ride the Oregon Outback. The OO is more of a rolling bikepacking party than a race, there are definitely some out there who are trying to do it quickly but they are the minority. For most the OO starts with a seven to eight hour Amtrack train ride from Portland to Klamath Falls, the starting place for the ride – as you probably guess the party starts on the train ride. Rather than bore you with words here are some pictures from the weekend, oh, and if I did not say this already the weekend was fantastic – PUT THIS ON YOUR LIST!

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On the train drinking sanky H and hipster beer
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The beast loaded and ready to go – more bike than required but I wanted to break out the new ride
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The ride starts in Klamath and quickly you find yourself on a rails-to-trails, navigating your way through numerous cattle gates
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Great vistas and interesting roads
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Rolling on day 1
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Gettin’ aero
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Although the road looks smooth it shook you up enough that you had to adjust the gear a couple of times
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Old railway bridge
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Did I say rolling party? These guys were riding tall bikes and cargo bike, wearing war paint, and creating general mayhem When they crested the hill is looked like a scene out of a Mad Max movie – they may still be on the trail.
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We ran into them again – it seemed like a dream – and it was more of a party than was apparent when they rolled by us earlier. At almost every cattle gate the chants of “GATE BREAK!!!” broke out which resulted in stopping once all were through the gate, a communal sharing of beer from the 10L bag of beer, and shooting of beer cans with BB guns  – nuts.

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The route was so cool
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Many miles later (sorry the photos were not that good of that section) we ended up at the Cowboy Dinner Tree, a small eating place just outside of Silver Lake. There are only two items on the menu, a 30oz steak or whole chicken – crazy. With your  meal you get salad, rolls, beans, a baked potato, pink lemonade or ice tea, and desert.
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We camped in the town park in Silver Lake and the next day it was back on the gravel roads
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25% of the route was on pavement which was a nice change. The smooth pavement was a nice break when riding 120+ miles a day.
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Having Graham on your ride is always relief

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Ian and I broke for lunch on day two, taking the time to make a hot meal was good.
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Ramen noodles cooking on the beer can stove
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There is a section of the trail that they call Red Sauce, loose and soft red gravel that can be crippling. This year, however, the rain the previous days had compacted the sauce and made it fairly easy to ride

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Skip ahead to the next day (after a meal at the brew pub in Prinevielle and a 2.5 hour, 18.5 mile uphill ride to the campsite) we found ourselves in the sun and mud – it was awesome
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The trails here were awesome
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The main story (sorry I don’t have pictures, I ran out of memory) from this section is that this is the last moments that Mark’s rear derailleur was intact. Just up the road Mark spun his derailleur, he, it, was as they say fucked – that is, unless you have a little MacGyver in you. The logical solution when this happens is to find the straightest chain line on your bike a single speed it. The problem is that modern cassettes are built to shift easily, which also makes it easy for the chain to skip off the cog in the back. To solve this problem Mark and Graham “rebuilt” the rear derailleur with two rocks, a leatherman, and some zip ties (the rear derailleur was actually broken in two at a pivot point). The chain line was determined, chain shortened, and the derailleur remounted in such a fashion that worked like a Surly Singleator – Bob’s your uncle and we were on our way, albeit with Mark spinning like a mad man but moving forward.
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The rolling gun show
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Yeah! Sunshine and blue skies

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The single speed Rivendell and Graham’s tweaky knee forced some hike-a-bike

 

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Suddenly we found ourselves in the Italian country side
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More on the derailleur saga (again with no pictures – boo). In Shaniko we found out that some guys were dropping out due to work commitments, we asked if they would be willing to sell us one of their rear derailleur – SUCCESS! Mark equipped with a new derailleur was once again able to use all of his gears.

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50+ miles before the end of the route was a section called the rollers of doom – they were not too bad.
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Final shot.

The rest of the ride was quite wild, as we got closer to Deschutes River State Park the winds really started to pickup, due to the way the Columbia River gorge funnels the wind. It was definitely 50km+, probably stronger, strong enough that we had to pedal to go downhill on pavement. A good chunk of the ride was with cross winds which blew you all over the place when we were on gravel, but eventually we headed into it causing all sorts of hairy riding. The finish of the ride is all downhill, rolling a bit, but downhill. Keeping a straight line was impossible. The wind moved you all over the place, drifting 4 – 12 inches at time as you headed downhill at 40kmph+ because of the steep grade. On pavement that was hairy, when we hit gravel doing this it was nuts – we were all pretty wide eyed when we eventually got to the bottom. We finished at 12:20 on Sunday night, 360+ (600kms) miles under our belts.