About the Route
Why The Odyssey of the VOG?
In the early stages of route-building, I referred to this route as the Valley of the Giants Exploration route. It wasn’t the name I wanted to stick, it was just a placeholder as the route took form. A few friends of mine and I had tested out numerous parts of the route by the summer of 2020 and, eventually, my partner - Trish - and a few of her friends rode the southern portion of the route: from Salem, through Hebo, and eventually back up and over the coast range to Sheridan and back to the start. As they rode through the unrelentingly steep grades of the Siuslaw Forest, they began lovingly (maybe they would use a different word) referring to this route as The Odyssey of the VOG.
The first time they used the phrase, I envisioned a giant monster - part tree, part Bigfoot or Abominable Snowman, tramping through the forest and destroying everything in its path. After consulting with my route-building partner on the name, it stuck, as did the monster image that would eventually become the logo and symbol for the route.
Of course, the Odyssey of the VOG (Valley of the Giants) actually gets its name from the 51 acres of massive old growth forest found on the North Fork Siletz River at the western edge of Polk County. Most of these huge trees are Douglas-firs, with a few large western hemlocks as well, many of which are close to 500 years in age.
While most riders will not veer off course at mile 68 to do the hike itself, the Valley of the Giants hike is worth checking out for anyone touring this route. For the racers, you may not see it, but you’re on the doorstep of a massive - some might even say notorious - old growth forest.
Many may expect the Odyssey of the VOG to be easy riding since it is west of Oregon’s infamous Cascade Range. Don’t be fooled. What the coast range lacks in altitude it more than makes up for in elevation grades. On route, expect monster climbs, white-knuckled descents, breathtaking ridgeline views, oceanfront roads, and a start and finish that rolls through quiet farmland. the Odyssey of the VOG is a diverse riding opportunity that showcases the rural Willamette Valley, the rugged coast range, and the expansive Oregon Coast.