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On the Road – Daniel Sharp Goes Stampede Solo

Friday, March 20th, 2015

One of the nice things about Daniel Sharp’s photographs and prose is that they don’t over-glorify his exploits. He acknowledges his miscalculations, his struggles and his suffering. Because that’s what adventure is, right? The intersection of suffering and fun?

This time Dan is riding solo near his Oregon home. His photos and excerpts from his trip journal below:

At some point you realize that a good weather window is a gift and that if you’re going to go, you might just have to go solo. I see the solo as a step in my progression with bikepacking. I did a couple hard solo rides in Arizona recently. One of them just about broke me, but that’s a post for the near future. Doing it solo allows you to ride your own pace, to leave when you have an opening in your schedule.

From the Velodirt site:

“The route itself is not to be taken lightly.  Expect lots of dirt and gravel with over 9,000 ft of climbing and some real rough riding in sections.  There are well spaced services, but inconsistent cell service.  As with all rides out this way, watch the weather for high winds and extreme temperatures.”

The other great thing about this route is its proximity to Portland. The start of the route is just 95 miles down 84 to the Deschutes River Recreation Area, where you can leave your car.

I love this part of the state. I think my first exposure to the area was photographing the Rapha Continental Dufur ride back in 2009. I fell in love with the undulating wheat fields and picture-perfect farms. I love how open and dry it is compared to the dense forest of the Cascades. But starting that climb up Company Hollow you’re reminded that it’s going to be a long day through some of the most beautiful and lonely roads in Oregon. The road to Dufur is not easy on a loaded mountain bike. There is about 1300 feet climbing in 40 miles. I kept imagining how much easier it would be on a road or cross bike.