Fast and Loose

Most nights were akin to a live-action game of Tetris as the crew tried to squeeze five bikes, gear and bodies into cramped motel rooms, while still leaving enough space for one person to sleep on the floor. Photo: Will Cadham

Fast and Loose Curing the End-of-Season Blues in Oregon

We left Squamish, British Columbia at 2 p.m. on a Wednesday in the middle of September.

The day’s only goal was to make it to Portland, Oregon before our favorite pizza joint in town shuttered for the night. Sadly, only a few hours into the drive, our hopes of making it to Scottie’s Pizza in time for a pie were dashed. Apparently, a trip to secondary inspection is required upon entry to the United States for all UK and Finnish nationals. This was something our crew—two British Columbia- based RV-dwellers, a Toronto 9-to-5er, a quirky Finn and an eager Brit—was unaware of. Two hours, three questions and $12 later, we were finally let through.

The original notion for this trip was conceived back in October 2018, just after my co-conspirator Mark Taylor and I had returned home from our third year at the Trans-Cascadia backcountry mountain bike race. The thrill of this unique experience had given us a renewed thirst for riding—a rare feeling late in the season. The resulting withdrawals from Oregon’s sublime singletrack caused us to plan a harebrained, six-day, 365-mile death march, with roughly 43,000 feet of climbing, as we aspired to ride from Oakridge to Hood River. We originally thought by staying in motels we could minimize the amount of essential equipment, keeping bag weights to an absolute minimum and allowing us to travel the ridiculous daily distances more easily. But once it came down to serious planning, we discovered a few problems with our initial concept.

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