Last Saturday, while across the world in France, riders were punishing themselves in the Paris-Roubaix Sportive or maybe Phillipe Gilbert was hopefully practicing his victory face in the mirror, a couple of us from AVT were exploring the dirt roads of Shasta County on yet another ride in the Honey Badger Series, the local dirt ride series that kicks off the riding season for many riders in Southern Oregon and Northern California.
The series has been going on for many years, and last year was taken over officially by the Siskiyou Saddle Tramps, where you can check out some of the favorite routes if you're so-inclined. It's Southern Oregon's version of the fun unsupported, just-show-up-and-ride adventure ride where some riders go out to hammer and work on their race form and others just go out to see the scenery, and where whatever the goal, it's okay because as long as you've got the route, you can go at your own pace.
One of the really nice things about this series is that they naturally become more challenging as the year goes on. This is due to the snow that blankets the mountains all around us for much of the winter and on into the spring, and forces our rides down into the valleys. Valley riding tends to be on the flat side, and that's just fine for spring legs that are only dreaming of being able to tackle the climbs of summer and fall. Leading up to last Saturday's ride, this year's Honey Badgers have stuck mostly to the floor of the Shasta Valley, which is a bit like a treasure chest full of beautiful gravel and dirt roads that are low enough that they open up pretty early each spring. As the snow begins to retreat though, we can venture higher, and that's what we did on this last one, which definitely had us feeling the elevation afterward!
Photos by: Brendon Potts.