The best riding is still ahead of usMore Techy Trail? You Bet
Thanks to the efforts of the 150 volunteers and 21 trail crew leaders who showed up to work during COTA's annual Spring Fling, there's a lot of new trail under construction as well as some revitalized existing trail and some promising reroutes.
One of the more interesting reroutes is on COD just above the Inn of The Seventh Mountain on the south side of Century Drive. There, a relatively boring and sandy section of trail has been blocked off and a reroute offering much more technical challenge has been added.
"The Forest Service was much more amenable to having a more technical section of trail when we walked the land to lay out the reroute," said COTA trail building and maintenance honcho, Chris Kratsch.
There's no doubt about it, the COD reroute is more technical and a spur off of it (which joins in with the "normal" trail later) is way technical. (That's way technical as it's best ridden with lots of suspension, body armor and advanced skills.)
Local rider Gerald Itkin and I attempted to ride the spur the day after the Spring Fling volunteers put in and we ended up riding only 40 percent of it. The other 60 percent we walked.
That gave rise to us deciding to co-author a book entitled "The Wussie's Guide To Central Oregon Mountain Biking." On the Wussie scale of W-1 (easy) to W-5 (are you kidding me), the COD reroute spur has a couple of W-5 sections. Of course no one will buy the book because every rider in Bend is world class, fearless and would rather risk spending time at the ER after flubbing a W-5 section and landing in the rocks than walk a section...
Other trails worked on during Spring Fling were many. Fifty people headed to the new Wanoga trail system putting in three miles of trail, 25 worked on the aforementioned COD reroute and spur, 20 worked to beautify the Phil's Trailhead area while the remaining volunteers worked on the Whoops Trail and the Lair.
Hail To The Chief
And while we're on mountain biking, congratulations to outgoing COTA president Kent Howes on receiving COTA's 2008 "Lifetime Achievement Award."
Howes' four-year term as president saw membership in the organization grow from 200 to 500, an increase in business sponsorships, and over the last year the addition of 60 miles of new trail to the regional trail systems.
Howes and longtime riding compatriot Eric "The Schralper" Sageser have formed a trail design and building company called Tredwerks. Their new company already has two contracts to fulfill.
There's something special about the Dirty Half marathon race that makes it, in my humble opinion, Bend's best sporting event. It's the combination of wonderful organization, positive/upbeat atmosphere, good course, community support and an enthusiastic group of competitors that make the event work so well.
Best comment on race day came from Dennis Karnop on watching his daughter Lisa Nye come in as the first woman finisher: "I guess she's still got it."
That's an understatement, as mother-of-two Nye is still an exceptional runner.
On the men's side, a few hardcore runners are still scratching their heads and saying, 'I thought Steve Larsen was a bicycle racer,' after Larsen's impressive win.
Bend-Boulder Throw Down?
Longtime readers of this column will recall when "Outside Missoula" magazine ran a tongue-in-cheek "throw down" story last summer comparing Missoula and Bend as outdoor paradises.
Then almost a year to the day later comes the USA Today story saying that Bend is the next Boulder, Colorado. Champagne corks must have been popping down at tourism central. For those of us who know Boulder, it was cause for a major downer. Boulder is so off-putting and over-the-top, while Bend is thankfully not there yet.
So here's my version of a Bend-Boulder throw down.
Need to own a road bike that costs six digits, have shaved legs and train eight hours a day to be considered socially acceptable: advantage Boulder.
Need to be world class in political correctness, attitude, and size of mortgage as well as having, after marrying a person as perfect as you, perfect children: advantage Boulder.
Ability to not take your outdoor athletic self too seriously and have fun: advantage Bend.
And before we leave this topic, local journalism teachers should use the USA Today story as a classic example of either: A) travel/destination writing gone totally awry, or: B) a classic example of a writer penning a total send-up disguised as a "real" story.