August 01, 2016
Photos and words by Leslie Kehmeier
Sam Clark and Kim McCormack are 11 days into their mountain bike adventure across Oregon. They've surpassed 450 miles on the way to their goal of reaching the Columbia River.
The duo started on the California border the week before last and spent a good chunk of time riding across mind-blowing high desert landscapes before making the jump into the Cascades. Kim, Sam and I discovered some pretty amazing terrain in south central Oregon, a place that doesn't always see a lot of mountain bike tracks.
Day three was notable as we explored the high ridges of Round Mountain. No matter where we pedaled, we often had 360 degree views. The next day was on par with the previous as we had a rugged crossing of the Winter Rim. “Man, this is just as spectacular as Porcupine Rim in Moab.” remarked Sam. I concurred as we stared to the east from a thousand feet above Summer Lake.
The transition to the Cascades happened on day 6, setting Kim and Sam up for a decent into Oakridge from Timpanogas Lake the following morning. Kim's husband Ben joined us in the fun. It was a fantastic way to celebrate the half-way point of the journey.
"My most memorable moment [on the Middle Fork] was zipping down the from top through those technical descents. I felt so free, one with my bike and one with the trail. I was beaming with joy and satisfaction. I felt on top of the world and like I could do anything I put my mind to! I thought to myself, "I love riding my bike! I love being out here in the mountains on the the trail! I feel just right and like I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be!” shared Kim at the end of day 7 on Oakridge.
The stoke level remains high on a daily basis despite long days in the saddle, sometimes totaling 12-14 hours. Kim and Sam’s positive energy has them on pace to finish during their expected window of sometime between August 6th and 10th.
Kim has summed up the the entire team’s success best, ”I think things are going so well for many reasons. The team dynamic is beyond measure. One big factor is that I believe we are all here because we WANT to be here. We want to make this happen and are enjoying the journey and each moment together. We truly are a team and care for each other on a REAL level. The support we give and kindred spirits we share is a gift that was waiting to be opened. I am so happy, excited and inspired by our group."
On Sunday Kim and Sam started north from Sisters and will continue to work their way through the Cascades towards Hood River. Barring any unforeseen obstacles, they expect to dip their wheels in the Columbia River as early as next weekend.
Photographer and writer Leslie Kehmeier followed Kim and Sam on their adventure across Oregon in July of 2016.
This story was originally published on Club Ride.