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First Tracks!: It's time... for Studs, Muffins and Stud Muffins 


click to enlarge First tracks across Dutchman Flat
  • First tracks across Dutchman Flat
First tracks across Dutchman FlatWhat more could you ask for on November 4th - an Obama victory and a foot of fresh powder on Bachelor! Yippeee! The day after the elections, my friend Lisa and I scored some of the very first tracks of the season on Woody's and Easy Back. We skied across Dutchman Flat into the nordic area through perfect snow and found the groomer had just made a pass to pack down the base. I'd say it was an auspicious start to a new season and a new era.


As of November 1st, you can put on your studs. That can go for your running shoes as well as your car tires. You know how the saying goes: "There is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate gear." The maxim holds true for winter running in Central Oregon and "screwing your shoes" can help you be prepared for the snow and ice. Local stud muffin Jeff Browning (a.k.a. Bronco Billy) screwed a pair of my trail running shoes at a clinic at the FootZone last week. All you need are 3/8-inch sheet metal screws and a drill. "Yaktrax (rubber and coiled wire contraptions that can be pulled over the outsole) have their place, but this is a great traction alternative if you have a pair of shoes you can commit," says Browning. Through experimentation, he developed the "8-screw minimalist pattern," as well as a heavier duty version with a few more screws. Some of his tips: "Make sure to screw into a lug" and "You can always take them back out." Due to popular demand, Browning will hold a sequel clinic soon. Check with the FootZone at or 317-3568.


The roads aren't too slick yet to hang up your road bike. Allen and Beverly Lucas, owners of Bend Bike n Sport, live out by Tumalo State Park with their two young children. Being cyclists, they love their espresso. "We were thrilled when Stewart Fritchman opened his third Bellatazza in Tumalo and we were instant customers, dropping by for our morning latte or afternoon pick-me-up," Beverly says. "We're both avid cyclists and knew the Tumalo location would be a great draw for other similarly afflicted people using a popular cycling route. We thought it would be a wonderful addition to have basic repair parts and a floor pump permanently situated at the coffee shop. I contacted Stewart, who agreed it would provide a service for local cyclists and very kindly allowed us to bring down a full repair box that is now kept in the back of the shop for when it's needed. Teague Hatfield used the service just the other week when he and his friends found themselves with two flats and one inner tube. You might say Bellatazza saved him one hell of a hike home!" Next time you're doing the Twin Bridges ride, stop in for a double skinny latte, a muffin, and some air.


Congrats to X-C Oregon skier Zach Violett for being selected to Team Wired, a fully sponsored American team that will compete in the 2009 Polar Challenge, a race to the magnetic North Pole that will commemorate the hundred-year anniversary of the first time the pole was reached by explorers Robert Peary and Matthew Henson. Violett was selected, along with his two teammates, in a competition held in Colorado where hopefuls spent a day completing tasks such as building a raft from supplied materials and crossing an icy lake, navigating a ropes and ladders course, and completing a 7-mile run. "I feel that I excel when pushed out of my element," Violett said in his application. He should have plenty of opportunity to excel during the race next April, which will involve 368 miles of cross country skiing through polar bear country and wind chill temperatures down to -85˚F.


You know it's time to wax your skis when the Powder Hound is here. Pine Mountain Sports' 9th annual "Welcome to Winter" party is slated for Wednesday, November 19th at the Tower Theatre. This year's slide show will feature local photographers sharing stunning shots of steep mountain faces and deep telemark turns. "Jonas Tarlen of Snowless Skiing Productions is returning with his third crowd-pleasing film," says owner Dan McGarigle. "Brian Becker, whose photograph graced the cover of the October issue of Powder Magazine, is returning for his fourth year." Besides taunting local outdoor lovers with images of powdery snow, organizers will give away more than $2500 of outdoor gear in a raffle that benefits Central Oregon Trail Alliance and Deschutes County Search and Rescue. For tickets or more info, contact Pine Mountain Sports at or 385-8080.


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