Playlist and words by: Barry Wicks
The Oregon Trail Gravel Grinder (OTGG) is a 5 day gravel stage race that completes an intricate loop through the Cascade Mountains of Central Oregon and the Willamette Valley.
With seven BC bike races, six Transrockies, four Transylvania epics and a myriad of other smaller stage race events under my belt, I am no stranger to stage races. I’ve even done the OTGG before, in 2019, and finished on the podium quite by accident.
This year was different though. I had the entire Kona Endurance Team out for the “Racing” portion of the event, and I wasn’t even planning to participate this year. As the event crept up though, I started to get nostalgic for the experience and joys of camp life, so I hopped in as a last minute entry.
With Rebecca, Kerry and Cory doing the heavy lifting upfront, I slipped on a pair of brand new Adidas Stans Smith shoes that I had customized in Hella Sweet style, installed the biggest tires I could fit on my Libre, and chased all the fun lines I could find through the mountains, lakes, and ancient trees out on the trail.
Each night, after spending the afternoons swimming in rivers, lounging with new friends at camp, and eating two dinners, I would lay in my tent as the final rays from the sun slipped over the horizon giving way to a waning full moon and work on this spotify playlist. It is my attempt at capturing the feelings and emotions that wound their way through my brain and body as I churned up the relentless climbs and careened wildy, irresponsibly fast down the immaculate roads begging for full gravel sendage.
This morning, as the post-event depression that follows such momentous experiences started to set in, I sit in my studio with this playlist pumping through the HiFi. I attempt to coagulate the ooze of my mind, cementing the past week in my memory in a way that I’ll be more able to recognize any time one of these songs comes around on the radio. Music is magical that way for me.