Freedom Ride 2017


15 Days 1,500 Miles 77,528 Feet Ascented

Route is subject to change based on conditions. Please revisit for updates.

Travel and Transport to Start in Bend, Oregon

Athletes traveling to the start location in Bend Oregon can join us for a fun 2-day trek to Bend in our team van or RV, departing Wednesday, September 13 from Newport Beach, CA. If you prefer to fly, but wish to have your luggage or bike travel with us, this is also an option. The drive and transport are included in the fee for Full Challenge Athletes. Others will be asked to chip in for gas. Meals and the hotels up to the day of departure will be the responsibility of athletes.

Pre-ride Fun in Bend, Oregon

Bend, Oregon, is a great destination town for anyone who loves nature and the outdoors, quaint cafes and artisanal shops, mixed in with the buzz a thriving athletic and intellectual community.  Watch out or the charm of this place may just have you changing addresses!

For those of you traveling with our team from Newport Beach, our plan is to arrive in Bend on Thursday evening so we can enjoy a full day of relaxation, shopping and an optional spin to warm up our legs before the start of our big ride the next day.

Athletes pick up their packet information and can get their bikes checked on Friday afternoon. Friday evening will feature an All Team and Crew Meeting, as well as a Kick Off Dinner at a local restaurant with other athletes, volunteers and participants from last years’ event.

Day 1

Saturday, Sept 16, 2017 ► DEPARTURE – Bend, OR ► ARRIVAL – Camp Yale, OR

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Day one features a spectacular ride over McKenzie Pass, showcasing forests on both the east and west sides of the Cascades (they’re different) as well as a lava-rock moonscape at the top that’s unlike anything you’ll probably ever see on a bike ride again.

Following an energizing break in the quaint town of Sisters, our route ascends 2,000 feet through ponderosa pine forests, emerging from the forest at Windy Point and revealing a view of Mt. Washington and a 2,000-year-old lava flow. The 25-mile, 4,000 feet descent to Highway 126 snakes down exhilarating switchbacks to the dense, verdant Cascadian forests and rushes out over the McKenzie River. If you can handle the hairpin turns, it may be tempting to try to beat the Strava record set by one our Freedom Riders in 2016.

Following the arduous climb and the adrenaline rush from our descent, enjoy a homemade barbecue and make sure to soak those aching legs in the Belknap Springs.

Day 2

Sunday, Sept 2017, 2017 ► DEPARTURE – Camp Yale, OR ► ARRIVAL – Oakridge

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On day two, we head out on what has been called “the magic carpet ride.” From Highway 126, we’ll turn south near Rainbow on Forest Road 19 — the Aufderheide. This is a nearly symmetrical ride, halfway up and then halfway down. Following a fairly gradual climb up to Cougar Reservoir, a serene lake tucked between forested slopes, the ascent becomes more serious, following the South Fork of the McKenzie River up to the crest. Here’s where the magic-carpet effect begins: even though you’re climbing, for much of the way the smooth rolling pavement is so sublime that you don’t notice the effort. After peaking at the top of the pass, our reward is the roller-coaster descent for roughly 30 miles into Oakridge, a former logging town turned into mountain-biking mecca. Our hosts at the Westfir Lodge, known as a haven for mountain bike enthusiasts and professional teams, will welcome us like pros and family, with beer on tap, fresh homemade smoothies and a delicious dinner. Be sure to walk over to the famous covered bridge for some pictures and soak your legs in the refreshingly cold mountain river.

Day 3

Monday, Sept 18, 2017 ► DEPARTURE – Oakridge ► ARRIVAL – Myrtle Creek, OR

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If you surveyed our Freedom Riders from 2016, they would unanimously tell you that Day 3 was the toughest, longest, and by some votes, one of the most spectacular rides of the trip. With over 120 miles and 10,700 feet of climbing, this day will only be rivaled by our ascent to Big Bear at the end of our two-week trip. Prepare to be awed by the beauty of miles of climbing through pine trees, to lookout points that call for photos. Two major climbs will burn your legs, but what goes up must come down; so enjoy some fun descents. The last rollers into Myrtle Creek may catch you off guard with their devilish pitches; but just keep your eyes on the scenery and know that a feast awaits you. The Painted Lady owners Dan and Wendy, along with other staff and community look forward to greeting you with cheers, hugs and a feat you won’t forget. Their buffet of homemade pasta, salad, bread and pie is guaranteed to hit the spot and call for seconds.

Day 4

Tuesday, Sept 19, 2017 ► DEPARTURE – Myrtle Creek, OR ► ARRIVAL – Grants Pass, OR

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Endless rolling hills along bubbling creeks and funky bridges make this day one of my favorites. In 2016, I was accompanied by a pack of bleating sheep, who seemed to like my company, for a good mile. The road gets so narrow on parts of this ride, that only a small vehicle or us bikes can make it through.

Grant’s Pass is a highlight of our trip, welcoming us with police escort and television coverage. The Club Northwest offers fresh drinks, healthy smoothies and snacks, as well as showers and massages.

The town puts on a special buffet dinner celebration in honor of the Freedom Riders and Crew, where we have the honor of meeting survivor Rebecca Bender, along with community leaders and politicians engaged in the fight against human trafficking.

Day 5

Wednesday, Sept 20, 2017 ► DEPARTURE – Grants Pass, OR ► ARRIVAL – Happy Camp, CA

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Our last day is Oregon kicks off with an unforgettable breakfast with our new friends in Grant’s Pass at The Powderhorn Café. Grandma still hand makes the cinnamon rolls here and their size and flavor has us all agree that they definitely belong in the Guinness Book of World Records. The math is simple: one cinnamon roll equals five energy bars!

Grant’s Pass makes us feel like super heros as we wiz through every stop light behing our new best friend: Police Officer and escort “Skippy.”

The route is relatively tame with some rollers for the first 50 miles. We take a break at the golf course before beginning our ascent over the pass to Happy Camp. Twelve solid miles of steady climbing through pine trees brings us to the official border to California: a simple chalk line across the road with the letters OR and CA. Congratulations!

After a long descent and a series of seemingly never ending rollers, the road comes to a T in Happy Camp. Our mascot, a 30 feet talk Big Foot, awaits us, begging for a photo with the team. Besides making for some memorable photos, Big Foot has good news: We are only 2 miles away from the Klamath Falls River Resort! Tonight’s homestay was voted the favorite hotel last year. Nestled along the banks of the Klamath River over a huge grassy lawn, this simple paradise makes you feel like you’re a kid again. John, our very welcoming host and quick to be friend pulls out all the stops to make us feel welcome. Last year, our team went white water rafting, enjoyed a delicious barbecue and homemade food from the local community and enjoyed entertainment put on just for us from the local DJ.

Day 6

Thursday, Sept 21, 2017 ► DEPARTURE – Happy Camp, CA ► ARRIVAL – Willow Creek, CA

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Breakfast at the Klamath Falls Resort in Happy Camp is nothing less than legendary. Our host John, once again, spoils us with some home cooking. In fact, the tradition of bacon peanut butter sandwiches amongst the Freedom Riders started when John grilled up 10 pounds of bacon for us! Even the most skeptic grew to love this new delicacy!

After all the climbing over the past week, our route from Happy Camp to Willow Creek may almost feel refreshing to your legs; a few rollers, yes, but nothing compared to climbs of Oregon. Our course follows the undulating riverbed of the Klamath Falls River and might be described as “pure and constant beauty.” Take in nature and stop to cool yourself off in the refreshing rapids.

Day 7

Friday, Sept 22, 2017 ► DEPARTURE – Willow Creek, CA ► ARRIVAL – Redcrest, CA

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Waking up will be easy today, as we head west and scale a long gradual climb towards the ocean. Highway 299 is a broad freshly paved road that winds up through national forests. Last year, we were stopped and interviewed by a forest ranger, who told us they were surveying cyclists with the intent of making the road a idyllic route for bike-lovers like us.

A fun lunch break in the funky town of Arcada and a final stop off at a favorite Brewery in Fortuna leave plenty to be looked forward to on the other side of the hill. We end our day and can’t help but fall into a deep relaxing sleep, once we hit the majestic redwoods along the famous Avenue of the Giants.

Day 8

Saturday, Sept 23, 2017 ► DEPARTURE – Redcrest, CA ► ARRIVAL – Fort Bragg, CA

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There’s nothing like waking up in the depths of towering redwoods to chipmunks, squirrels and the smell of fresh wood and pines. Avenue of the Giants is world renown for its’ beauty and the road is all ours today, for at least 20 miles of fine riding. Heading north on 101, of Garberville, we pass the reported “tallest tree in the world” and enter big foot territory again.

The route from Leggett to the coast was another top favorite for the team. After two beautiful 3 to 5 mile climbs through the deep lush mystical forest, the emotion of emerging onto the immense horizon of the Pacific Ocean is overwhelming and timeless: one of those moments you just can’t forget.

The last part of our ride parallels the ocean and takes us to Fort Bragg, an eclectic town, with an even more eclectic mansion residence, called the Blue Whale. An endless menu of artfully designed organic dishes and some good IPA at the Del Mar Café is just what we need. Scrumptious is the word that comes to mind. In fact, our team liked this place so much last year, that several of us talked about staying another day just to get lunch the next day!

Day 9

Sunday, Sept 24, 2017 ► DEPARTURE – Fort Bragg, CA ► ARRIVAL – Bodega Bay, CA

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Follow the ocean and take in the views.

Day 10

Monday, Sept 25, 2017 ► DEPARTURE – Bodega Bay, CA ► ARRIVAL – San Francisco, CA

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Day 11 – Rest Day

Tuesday, Sept 26, 2017 ► DEPARTURE – San Francisco, CA ► ARRIVAL – San Francisco, CA

Day 12

Wednesday, Sept 27, 2017 ► DEPARTURE – San Francisco, CA ► ARRIVAL – Santa Cruz, CA

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Day 13

Thursday, Sept 28, 2017 ► DEPARTURE – Paso Robles ► ARRIVAL – Santa Barbara, CA

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Day 14

Friday, Sept 29, 2017 ► DEPARTURE – Pasadena, CA ► ARRIVAL – Big Bear

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Day 15

Saturday, Sept 30, 2017 ► DEPARTURE – Big Bear ► ARRIVAL – Irvine, CA

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