“Daddy, I like Ashland. It isn’t even covered in ashes.” – Molly (my 5 year-old)
Both my kids just finished Shakespeare class, and thus, were super hyped when I told them of Ashland’s Shakespearean background. I, of course, was jazzed to visit for reasons of my own … like the renowned gravity-oriented flizzy flowy trails… duh!
Luckily, we had nice weather the first afternoon we arrived. After that, the weather lived up to the forecast and pretty much dumped rain on us for the rest of the stay. I rushed to sneak in a I ride before the skies opened up, and it wound up being the right call. I decided to hit the infamous Jabberwocky Trail with a loop that included some other, less-known, but equally as sticky and flicky gems. Strava link here. PS – the Trailforks App is invaluable in Ashland. Way more detailed than MTB Project in this region, fyi.
This ride definitely put the burn in the “earn”. You have to climb 2,600′ over ~ 7 miles to reach the goods. You can shuttle part of it by parking at White Rabbit, but either way, you’re doing some gruntin. It’s a gradual, mostly fireroad climb that starts in town and heads behind Lithia Park and continues up Ashland Loop Rd.
FINALLY, you reach the top. Unlock the suspension, sip some agua and prep for 2,500′ of dippin’ and jivin’ and smilin’ and singin’ on rollercoaster velcro singletrack descending bliss awaits!!!
Catwalk to Toothpick to Caterpillar to Lizard to Jabberwocky. In a nutshell, the perfect blend of perfectly manicured flow trails. Catwalk is chock full of berms and speed and blurry views through velvety trees. The climb is quickly becomes a distant memory as you’re pedaling for every ounce of speed you can muster… your tires and the dirt can handle it all – every sculpted berm designed to take as much as you can dish out.
WOW. That was good. A quick jaunt on Toothpick has you climbing a little… a chance to think of the tasty pow ahead… a little more granny gearing at the start of Caterpillar, and then it’s click click click down the cassette and non-stop grinnin’ and winnin’ back to town on Lizard and Jabberwocky. Oh man, that lap is over way too soon. 6 miles of world-class primo singletrack is over in the blink of an eye. Where’s the car? One more time, please!!! Well not today… but what a first taste of Ashland – has me hooked like crack – next time I will shuttle the crap outta this joint and session a few of these trails over and over like the locals were doing who watched me climb Ashland Loop Rd like I was a moron…
JABBERWOCKY. One of top 5 flow trails I’ve ever ridden. Hands down, simply a meticulously crafted piece of trail art. Think Chutes and Ladders at Phil’s World, but 5 times longer and in a rainforest. Moist and grabby, rarely do you need to pedal or touch your brakes. Endless lava flow to end an epic ride.
Even though it dumped rain for the rest of our visit, we still had a blast. NY style slices from Martolli’s Hand Tossed Pizza – BOOM! The vibe in there is fun with all the Phish posters and related band paraphernalia. A slice of pepperoni and bbq chicken was all this belly needed after a day of exploring Lithia Park and strolling the town on a rainy day. Loved the park – green and lush and water everywhere… lot’s of yoga and bouldering and day sleeping and bluegrass being practiced.
Froyo at The Yogurt Hut did not disappoint either! We spent the rest of our rainy day time at the Hands-On Science Museum making life-sized bubbles, launching soda bottle rockets, and powering a train by riding a recumbent cycle.
We all tasted the nasty yet historical “Lithia Health Water”. Crazy to think they originally built Lithia Park to be a health resort with “medicinal water” in the early 1900’s. The park is magnificent, and would probably never have gotten built otherwise. I kept thinking it was like a mini Golden Gate Park – then I found out the same dude designed both 🙂
Off to Oakridge – hoot!