Heatwaves and Hot Laps
“We say what we do and we do what we say,” Brad “the boss” Waldron reminds me yet again.
And he’s not joking.
We have been in the car for four-plus hours and since leaving the Bay Area proper. The external thermostat on the car has not dropped below 96 degrees and for the last few miles and it hasn’t seen anything below the eye-popping 100 degree mark.
Things could be worse, just ask the half dozen people standing next to their overheating cars on the final I-5 climb out of California and into Oregon. The massive West Coast heatwave is not treating them with much kindness.
But don’t be overly concerned about us, we have left the relative comfort of the Bay Area and headed out onto the surface-of-the-sun because we have shuttles scheduled at Ashland Mountain Adventures and Waldron, who is friends with AMA owners Sue and Bill, wants to be a man of his word and show up.
So here we sit in the back of the shuttle van headed for the top of Mt. Ashland, air conditioning straining to keep up with the days demand and oddly happy about our decision.
Sue and Bill “Wild” Roussel are both on our shuttle, as well as couple who have left their grown kids at home to go for their very first “real” mountain bike ride.
“Are you nervous?”
“Yes, we are all the nerves.”
Luckily, for all involved the temperatures at the top of the mountain are surprisingly pleasant and it is making us wonder what all our whining was all about.
We take the small climb to get the trailhead of Timewarp, which has to be the crown jewel of Mt. Ashland and flew by leaving us wanting more. We’re also big fans of the giant left-handed, steeply bermed corners of Jabberwocky.
“There was a point where I was feeling pretty great and having an amazing time and thought to myself, 'I could totally do another run,'” said Waldron. “But as we neared the bottom and had to ride across town in the open, my legs started to get a little weak and the heat really started to cook me.”
It may have been hot enough to cook an egg on our Invader helmet, but in the end it turned out to be a great day on the bike.
There were a few additional things which made a visit to Southern Oregon during a historic heatwave shockingly more enjoyable than one would expect: the pool at the Ashland Hills Hotel and Suites, the coffee and pastries at Remix Coffee Shop and the COVID IPA at Caldera Brewery and Restaurant.
As usual, we can’t recommend the riding in Ashland highly enough and it is made all the better by the superb hospitality, local knowledge and mountain bike expertise at Ashland Mountain Adventures.