Friday, March 27, 2015

Bikepacking Lewiston/Winchester

Remember last year how I injured myself?  It was at the beginning of the Fall, which is when I actually have time to ride and do the bulk of my mountain biking.  Dr. said no biking (and absolutely no mountain biking) for a few months.  It was shortly after that, some friends asked if I wanted to go with them on an overnighter.  I thought, what the hell, why not.  Pack stuff on your bike and head on an adventure with friends all sounded pretty good.  Even though it did kinda go against Dr. orders.  I have done a lot of different biking, but never really any bike packing.  That trip was a blast, for a lot of reasons, but it really turned me on to a new thing to do with my bike.

All winter I have been scheming of ideas to go on another bike overnighter, or as some refer to as a "micro tour."  Plans were hatched.  We packed up and drove down South to Lewiston.  We hit up the local brewery, Riverport Brewing.  And also hit up the bike shop, Ride on Bikes.  Remember, when visiting a new town to ride, these are 2 places you should always hit...the exactly order does not matter.

Anyways, we stayed the night in one of the cabins at Hell's Gate State Park.  Hmm, coffee in the morning overlooking the river...
Next morning, all packed up, we headed out the bike path and eventually connected to Lapwai Road.  There we did a little gravel grinder and finally ascended on the small town of Lapwai.

After Lapwai, it was Hwy 95, where we got our one and only flat (I think that is pretty good for riding down there).
It was a short stretch on Hwy 95 to the Old Winchester Grade.  This old road has become somewhat of a famous hill climb, and is 1 of the 3 major Lewiston grades.  Beautiful views of the patchwork like farmland abound.  The road surface is great and looking back on it, it looks like a big tapeworm...I mean that in a good way.  The grade is steady and never breaks until the top.  You are looking at 15 miles to the town of Winchester from the turn off.
We ended the day at one of the yurts that sit next to the lake at Winchester Lake State Park.  Weather was perfect that day.  We logged 45 miles and 4,100 vert.  I slept like a baby that night as rain pelted the canvas.  I woke in the morning to the wide open glass dome in the top of the yurt, which featured some rather white looking stuff on it.  Yes, it was 36 degrees and snowing for breakfast and coffee outside.
It was kinda hard to get motivated, but we packed up, said good bye to the warm yurt and headed down the Hwy 95 grade in the pouring rain.  We stopped in Culdesac for some soup and warmed/dried out.  After that stop, the weather started to break and it was blue skies and warmer temps for the rest of our ride back to Hell's Gate.

It was a grand little overnighter.  We had a little bit of everything thrown our way, which only added to the adventure.  I can't wait to pack up my bike and head out on another micro tour...

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