If you have ever run in Forest Park, and worked your way north of Germantown Road, you have undoubtedly come across the famed BPA road. BPA stands for Bonneville Power Administration, and the road serves as access to the power lines that run east to west through this section of the park.
The road is much like any of the fire lanes that run through the park, and has access points from highway 30 on the northeast side, to Skyline Road on the northwest side, and cuts across Wildwood Trail as one of the last crossings before Newberry Road. There is a decent trailhead off of Skyline that allows runners and walkers an easy way to access Wildwood, while also staying away from the steeper sections of the road on the east end.
For those who like a challenge, the east access on highway 30 is a bit of work, and is definitely a great hill workout for those looking for some solid vertical gain in a short space. Our segment for this week is the 0.95 mile section that goes from the gate at the bottom, to the picnic table at the top (off Firelane 13). There is 890 feet of gain from bottom to top.
There are multiple segments for this hill, depending on the number of times you want to repeat it. Also, the view from the top is worth it!!
The first segment is “BPA Rd Climb: Gate to Picnic Table” and the fastest single trip to the top = 8:52 by Robert McLauchlan from 6/3/2020. The top female is Rachel Drake (4th overall) with a time of 9:20 from 6/1/2021. 1,261 people have logged a time on this segment through Strava!!! Yours truly is sitting at 101st place…I’ve got some work to do (although I am 3rd in my age group!).
The next segment is the “BPA Double – Touch the gate” which is 2 climbs, followed by 2 descents to the gate. Current leader is Aaron Coe with 30:17. Top female is Leah Brown with 40:29. 172 people have times listed. I’m currently sitting in 10th for this one, and 1st in my AG.
Next is the “BPA Challenge (up & down touching both signs 3 times in a row)”, which is exactly as it sounds and includes all 3 descents. Current leader is Aaron Coe, top female is Leah Brown. There have been 126 total times. I’m also sitting in 10th for this, and 1st in my AG.
The next segment is the “BPA x 5” which is a doozy. Check out the Strava segment from my run. 5 ups, 5 downs, no messing around! The total mileage is 10 miles with about 4,600 feet of climbing. The top dog is Anthony Lee. Top female is Naomi Tucker. The segment has 53 total times, and currently I am 4th overall, 1st in my AG.
Beyond the uphill segments from bottom to top, there are a handful of additional smaller segments, including a full downhill run, “BPA descent: Picnic table to gate” (I’m in 17th overall out of 671), “BPA Road Scree field” which is a short uphill section near the bottom (I’m in 142nd out of 1,300), and “BPA Road Climb” which actually sends you up Newton Road, from the bottom of BPA Road.
Further, BPA Road is part of the popular Nasty North segment. Currently Tyler Green holds that record.
Forest Park is home to hundreds of Strava segments, and it is such an amazing place to run and train. If you’re looking for some serious vert, and a worthy hill to make it happen, check out BPA Road…and let me know how you did on the BPA x 5!!
If you use Strava (or want to get started – it’s free!) please join the Run Oregon club! We currently have over 720 members! It’s a fun way to keep track of your miles and see how others in the area are doing.
Strava is an online training and racing log for runners and cyclists. The basic account is free and requires you to create a login. Note that this is not sponsored by Strava, nor endorsed or supported in any way by Strava. It’s just a fun thing we’re going to do to give some speedy shout-outs to area runners and pose a challenge to those of you willing to take on their segment.