New Bike and the CZ Trail Loop

What better way to break in a new bicycle than to take it on a very soggy, muddy, gritty, gravel ride for 40 miles?

Crown Zellerbach Loop

Ever since Logan posted this write-up about the 2018 Masi Giramondo back in November 2017, I’ve been a little obsessed. It has a great paint job, ticks all the boxes for the next bike in my life, and a great value on my thinning wallet. You can also check out the official page at Masi Bikes.

I spent all of Saturday swapping some parts and getting the bike ready to meet my needs and wants. Brooks Imperial B17 saddle, front mini rack, basket, bottle cages, 48mm tires, flat pedals, fenders, and lights. I needed to get it out on unpaved surfaces and justify my financial splurge.

The Crown Zellerbach trail starts in Northern Scappoose and heads West all the way over to Vernionia nearly 20 miles away. The majority of the trail is gravel and what little blacktop remains crumbles into course gravel and covered with layers of decaying leaves from surrounding trees. More info about the trail can be found at The MTB Project.

The day I was putting together my new steed, my co-workers were pedaling the same trail in the rain. I opted to get my bike properly prepared first and go ride on a day that wasn’t complete downpour. Which as luck woud have my Sunday afternoon ride was overcast yet completely rain-free.

It’s by no means a smooth route so you won’t find a pelaton of roadies cruising through, but there were some brave souls on cyclocross bikes, and stout hearts riding hard-tail mountain bikes. All of them: covered in muddy spray. Except me. I was the only person to be riding fenders this day.

The latter half of the route took me onto Pittsburg road and through some open logging territory. In the 2 and a half hours I spent pedaling this winding stretch, there were only 5 vehicles to pass me either way.

It was glorious.

But what really made my day was the random act that threw me off guard. One of the pickups that passed me ever-so-uneventful left something on the road for me. As I pedaled closer my mind only went to negative thoughts based on a history of poor interactions with strangers in large trucks. Much to my surprise, it was a chilled can of Coors Lite and a hand written note.

“For You, Mister Bicyclist”. Crown Zellerbach Loop

Wow. That was really awesome. I snapped some picks, tucked it into my bag and finished climbing the highest point of the day. Coors is not typically my beverage of choice, but on this day it was great and went down quickly and with much gratitude.

The rest of the ride was rather quiet by lacking any human interaction or obsessing over my social media. I was free to just enjoy the scenery despite parts being descimated by logging companies.

I finished just as the sun was going down requiring a headlamp for only the last mile. Pizza and beer on the dinner menu to celebrate a good weekend of a adopting a new bike, riding in the woods, and feeling free on the road.

CZ Gravel Loop

Cheers! -Tomas