New dirt road rides and routes are popping up all over the place. May 2 will see the first "official" running of The Gifford Gravel 50 in the mountains Northwest of Vancouver WA. Last weekend, I went and rode the route with shop buddies Howard and Brendan. It quickly became apparent that the GPS track's promised 57 miles and 6.5k of climbing were going to prove inaccurate. Also, there was a bit more snow at 4,000 ft than we bargained for. Despite taking a bigger bite than we planned, the day turned out to be nice and the route is great. Tough, but abounding with awesome views of SW Washington and the high Cascade volcanoes. This is one to go and check out, as long as you pack some big tires (35mm+) and plenty of H20 or water treatment.
By the end of the day, we were all a bit chilly, tired from 8k of climbing and dreaming about the cheap hot case food in Yacolt. Here's the route if you like. May 2 is the "official" ride day.