We’re excited to welcome the newest addition the MAAP crew, Jake Szymanski. Based in Portland, Oregon, U.S.A., Jake is the ultimate do-it-all kinda guy on the bike, and rides everything from road to CX to endurance MTB.
Jake is often busy doing long brevet rides, raising money to fight cancer with Leave It On The Road and works full-time at a digital creative studio called Instrument. Jake is going to be sharing his riding and travel experiences here from time to time.
Recently, Jake and a couple of mates went on a two-day ride from Portland to Lincoln City on the Oregon Coast and back. Check out the story and photos by Jake and friend, Randall Fransen below.
We’d been talking about this for a long time. The three of us have ridden thousands of miles together and all rode last year’s Leave It On The Road trip from Portland to San Francisco together. In preparation for this year’s trip, we wanted to put in some mileage. We picked a weekend, booked a hotel and made it happen. 220 miles over two days with a stop for dinner, beers, a shower and sleep.
Strava Route Day 1 >>
Strava Route Day 2 >>
Perfect weather. After coffee, we left town climbing over the west hills and down into Oregon’s wine country. We modified the usual route with a pinch of extra climbing and gravel for good measure. With only a deadline of making it to the coast by nightfall, stopping at a winery along the way was the best decision we made all day. Between the valley and the coast is the cascade range—translation: 2,000 ft. of climbing after those glasses of wine. No regrets!
At the top of the climb we were rewarded with the brilliant Nestucca River road. This narrow forest service road is mostly paved, partially gravel and 100% first-class road bike bliss. Cars are few and far between. Sweeping corners, river views and lush forest surround you.
And before you know it, you’re at the Pacific Ocean! Our route took us from the inland river out to the famous Highway 101 with just one gradual climb between us and dinner. We stopped for some pictures, made quick work of the last 800 ft. of gradient and headed for our hotel.
Something about finishing away from home at hotel for a night in a place you’d pedaled to under your own power is really gratifying. In this case, we’d gone as lightweight as possible, taking only the bare essentials in one or two small bags on our bikes. We unpacked, snagged beers, washed our kits in the sink and kicked back to recover and watch the sunset.
The last three times I’ve been to Lincoln City it’s done this. Rain. For some reason every morning here it mists, rains, drizzles or does something that starts with those words. According to the weather app the previous day, we were supposed to have an exception—sunny summer weather. Oh well! That’s why we brought rain jackets. You never know in Oregon. Wet weather is just part of the territory. First, we hit the local diner for a heap of pancakes and eggs. Then, we set out to conquer our second 110 mile day back to Portland.
Back on the Portland side of the cascades, we were happy to be headed downhill and home. Heads down and hammering through the flatlands with a tailwind, we made good time and were soon back into suburbia climbing our last pass over the hills and back into town. What a good feeling!
After arriving back in town, I think I ate almost two whole pizzas. And then fell asleep for the rest of the day before getting up for a Monday at work the next morning.