The Mount Hood Endurance Classic

The Mount Hood Endurance Classic is a grassroots ride organized by ORMTB that is free to participate in and ‘loosely’ organized, as explained on their site.  While I agree that it is a rather simple sign-up process online as well as sign-in process at the beginning of the race (you literally sign a sheet of paper attached to a piece of cardboard), the race itself is run by a wonderfully nice couple and features some of Oregon’s best singletrack.  In all honesty, I have no idea why this ride isn’t more popular; it’s free (with an optional donation to 44 Trails), beautiful, and really easy to navigate.  What’s not to love about that?

The Riders.

There is still one more ride in the Oregon Endurance Mountain Biking series coming up on August 13th.  I did the route last summer as a 2-day bikepacking trip and while it’s a VERY challenging course, it’s definitely worth trying out.  Find out more information about the ride here.

The initial 5 mile ascent up Lookout Mountain Road.
Beautiful views on Fifteen Mile Trail, with Jeff riding in front.

The Map

Want the GPX route or just more detail?  Click here.

My DNF (Did Not Finish) Route

Want the GPX route or just more detail?  Click here.

Slashing a Schwalbe Sidewall

Unfortunately for me, the ride was destined to be short.  About 12 miles into the race I noticed my rear tire was flat and upon inspection, found a gash in the sidewall.  For some reason, I came into the race rather unprepared for such an occurrence, with only a small 2.3″ tube I consider my ‘limp home’ tube in my kit.  Why I don’t bring the actual sized 27+ tube needed for the bike makes no logical sense (I want to shave a 1/5 pound of weight in my kit…) and looking ahead, I’ll definitely carry a normal sized tube just in case.

Regardless, my ‘tubeless’ setup was not saving me.  Every time I’d spin the tire, the orange sealant inside my tire would leak out rather than seal.  In a desperate attempt for a quick fix, I used a tire patch on the cut and slathered vulcanizing glue all around it.  This, of course, did not work, and as I continued to spin the tire, orange sealant bubbled out from the cracks.

It was a bad idea from the start.
Bubbling sealant = new plan.

With resignation, I decided to pull the tire off, get as much sealant out as possible, and ‘limp’ my bike back to the starting line on forest roads.  It was a really disappointing finish for me, as I was enjoying myself in the front of the pack with a very skilled mountain biker named Jeff.  But I still had fun and will definitely have this ride on my calendar for next year.

Forest Road 44 on the way back to the start. Not the path I was hoping to take back to my car, but I’ll try again next year.

 

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