I had been meaning to go and explore Gateway Green, the area just south of Rocky Butte and just north of the Gateway transit center, for months; but never got around to it until today. Crystal suggested a series of monthly practice rides over there between now and the fall. She's gearing up early for cyclocross (really early, I'd say), and I thought it would be good for me to get my off-road head screwed back on. I hadn't ridden Stompy since USGP back in early December, and I wanted time to ride places where I didn't have to work on speed just yet.
So We met at the transit center a little before 10 am, and proceeded to explore the place. Gateway Green is basically a greenspace that is under development, by a non-profit group in partnership with the city of Portland. Plans include a network of hiker-biker trails and very possibly a mountain bike skills park at one end. Right now, it's all pretty open and there's a gravel road running through it. Lots of opportunities for off-camber work, a couple of big run-ups, bumpy-chunky-hard grassy terrain and several good places to put down some barriers make this a promising cyclocross course later in the year. There's relatively little singletrack to speak of, but there was enough for me to have some fun -- a couple of up-and-overs through the trees and a fun little tabletop were challenging enough in the mud that I took several runs at this section until I could clean every feature at least five times in succession. About half an hour into our playtime, Crystal's friend Christine showed up and rode around with us awhile.
It was cold and rainy the entire time we were out there, and while we were having fun we all had other places to be later in the day, so we all took off around 11:15 or so, and promised to meet somewhere again next month for some more off-road fun. Maybe some of my teammates will join us.
Short-track season begins in exactly three months.