#3: Old Moody Road • 7 mi • 696 ft
Did the namers of Old Moody Road forsee the intense emotions that cyclists would feel while riding it — or was it just someone’s last name? I’ve felt pure bliss finishing a huge ride on sun-drenched Moody, overlooking the Gorge. I’ve felt agony and frustration riding into headwinds with shattered muscles. Giddy, frenetic energy in a big group with fresh legs. And intense sorrow and guilt to be a white man looking down on the former site of Celilo Falls—once the oldest settlement in North America at 15,000 years old—now flooded by the Dalles Dam to make way for the electricity and “progress” that helps me buy expensive bikes.
Moody Road claws its way out of the mouth of the Deschutes River box canyon up a leg-breaking climb, then meanders atop an improbable shelf that at times looks straight down at the freeway and the Columbia River below. It feels like a cool little secret to be up there above the freeway as people blast down the gorge at 70mph below, no idea that you’re above them.