Monday, January 20, 2014

Minot Make It - Minot Matter

The Lower Chehalis exploration ride, Minot Make It, was a blast. The proposed route covered 60 miles with 8,000 ft of climbing on rough gravel roads. While I was certain at many times during the ride someone was going to beat me with their frame pump for shit like this…

… I know a lot of folks, myself included, got the taste of adventure twirling around in their mouths. Bile?

No one did the whole route and I don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing. With a turnout of twenty plus riders bringing out a mix of full suspension bikes, road bikes with 23mm tires (not advised), fat-tired bikes, commuters, ‘cross bikes, and a hard tail single speed we broke into different groups pretty quickly. The customized phone map gave people the ability to see where they were at any given moment. That doesn’t mean we always used it. Turns out that many of us aren’t use to using maps. Each group seemed to make their own little detours and routes, intended or otherwise. It was hysterical. There were lots of how-the-hell-did-that-happens. One big group of faster riders did the 2nd loop first in the opposite direction as intended. The group I was riding with managed to end up 6 miles deep into some road I’ve never been on; some logging operation dramatically changed the look of the road over the course of a week making their off-shoot look like a continuation of a major road. We all had a chance to scratch our heads a couple times on Sunday.

Photo: Erin Roe
The ride itself put all of us on roads we'd never seen before. There was a thick cold fog that didn't go away that helps give that place a certain primeval eeriness that first drew me into it. The camaraderie of riding with friends with a common, even if changing, goal was something that I've missed a lot since I started working on the weekends. It was that riding with friends, smelling wet forest, and making my heart and legs feel like they were about to detonate that put me right there in Church.

We all made it back before dark. I showed up just after the first quarter of the Seahawks game started and had a pitcher of beer and the world’s best nachos waiting for me. My legs didn’t mind that I didn’t make it up to the peak. That was a hard ride. Thanks to all!

Technical reflections:

The map. I took the DNR’s 2012 map and added a layer on top of the PDF that had the route on it. Part of that layer had the 2002 map that was hidden in the new version. Using Google Earth I used the image overlay function to add the different maps. I took .gpx files from strava that I gathered over the last 5 weeks and through those paths onto it also. After ground-truething sections I found from satellite images and the map I drew out the path of the course with a stylus on Google Earth. I then added a black image overlay to use as a background while having the course as a thin white path, took a screenshot, selected the path in Photoshop, pasted it onto a Photshop version of the DNR’s PDF, scaled and placed it to match, and then saved it as a PDF. I opened the PDF in Acrobat, selected my whole image of the route and the maps with the touch up object tool, copied it, and then pasted it onto the geo-referenced DNR map. Save as new.  I tried a lot of other things that had less steps but I ran into problems with being able to have it load up on the phone. I also tried just taking an image and geo-referencing it; I just couldn’t find the right software to do it in time. Please let me know if you have any ideas.

The route. I wasn’t sure what kind of shit show this was going to be so I wanted there to be a lot of smaller loops with easy ways to get back to the c(b)ar. The roads out here can change fast. There was a section of single track that was in good shape a couple weeks ago that was a great little connecter to a forest road over a ridge. It turned out to be a marking line for a new logging patch and had gotten pretty rutted out in some spots and was really muddy so I hear (see below). The 6 mile detour I ended up making seemed to come out of no where from just one week before. It doesn’t show up on any maps. Whatcha gonna do? It’s just the nature of exploring.

Photo: Chris Defiance


  1. Haha I'm not sure if I'm really stoked I didn't make it or really bummed. Looks like an awesome and brutal day

  2. Epictastic. I could read stuff like this all day, everyday. Chris D gets the coolest bike award.

  3. nice D.J., it is actually cool to put so much planning into something, then have the rug pulled beneath your feet on the day of..., in that it adds that much more adventure! glad everyone made it out alive. funny thing is, i was at defiance bikes today to pick up a new set of cleats, when sitting there was that orange bike, and i got to meet chris. I commented on how i thought his tires were the perfect size, small world...