Images by Katlyn Beachy
Words by Chris Cade
What can I say about the spot called Maryhill? Unless you've been living under a rock for the last decade or so, it's been a downhiller's trip of choice for years. So, in the fall of 2015, after a couple long weeks on the clock, I wanted a vacation. My last freeride was 2012, and a bunch of my friends were coming up from Texas. The choice was obvious, and my flight was booked for Portland.
After linking up with the buddies from the NoBull Longboarding Crew, we spent most of Thursday crushing out a bunch of Portland Switchback runs with some locals.
We had nothing but rain in Portland on Friday, so we decided to hit up Powells City of Books, then Multnomah Falls on the way to Maryhill Loops Road. If you like places that look like Lord of the Rings, I recommend making a stop here. Also the Hood River Skate Park.
I’m still not sure why our sport is so fascinated with the place called Maryhill Loops. It’s not the fastest road out there, or the skinniest, or the steepest. I’m pretty sure there’s a lot of runs out there at longer than 2.2 miles, more than 22 corners, or steeper than Mary’s 5% grade
It could be the history of the place. First road paved in the Pacific Northwest, according to the museum dedicated to the place. I just don’t see that pulling skaters in from every corner of the globe.
I think it’s just one of those roads that has the right amount of everything. The pitch, the pavement, the location, the weather, er’thang. And the weekend of the Maryhill Fall Freeride Twenty Fifteen had everything I wanted in a skate weekend. It was 75 degrees, more tailwinds than anything else, and a whole rowdy bunch of my peoples. It's worth noting that any event you can go to where the road is closed, and they also bought haybales for the corners, you should go.
With vast majorities of the riders in our sport choosing to attend more freerides and slide jams than races, it was great to attend an event with over 100 riders. The Santa Gnarbara race was the same weekend in SoCal, so it was a mellow, relaxing weekend with lots of runs with strangers and friends both, and none of the aggressive riding you see at some freerides and most competitive events.
The price has gone up since I was last there, now coming in at a steep $140 US, with a non-refundable no-leathers fee of 20$ more. I’m down with covering the costs of the EMTs, but it seems like you should have to actually crash and need their assistance before you don’t get your money back.
But the experience of a Maryhill Freeride is priceless. I did runs all day and at night fell asleep to the sounds of the FBomb blasting punk rock music into the night over the Colombia River. Its not a bad life.