This is the place and the time to get out on your mountain bike. The not-so-secret news is out: Bend was named Mountain Bike Action Magazine's Top American Mountain Biking Town in the May 2009 issue. The snow is melting rapidly, opening up higher elevation trails, and the recent showers have been excellent for dust abatement on lower trails. Do it now!
The McKenzie River Trail is now clear from top to bottom. If you haven't ridden this trail, you should; it's one of the best in Oregon.
The first trails in the new Wanoga Complex are now open, too-"Funner" and "Tiddlywinks". Funner is a 6-mile trail that parallels Century Drive and connects Wanoga to Storm King. I think they named it Funner because it is much funner to ride it downhill rather than up. It's pretty rocky and rough, with lots of drops and jumps. Only a few sections of Tiddlywinks are finished at this point, but it will eventually circumnavigate Kiwa Butte. According to the COTA website, "The trails are a little difficult to find up at Wanoga. Tiddlywinks starts behind the restroom building heading SE along the butte there. Funner is located out of the NE corner. Follow the small double track leaving the parking lot and look for pink flags trending toward town (east). Once you're on the trails, you "should" be able to stay on them given the number of bike tracks out there now. Ride with caution and be prepared for adventure and you'll have a great time."
Speaking of local trails, mountain bike racers got their last competitive crack at Phil's Trail this past weekend with Pickett's Charge. Phil's is officially off the mountain bike circuit with races moving to the Wanoga area in the future. But Phil's went out with a bang on Sunday. Pro riders pounded out 34 miles on a track that started and ended at the well-known trailhead and included sections of COD, Storm King and Grand Slam
Congratulations to Men and Women's Pro Winners, Chris Shepard and Evelyn Dong, who finished in 2:02:35 and 2:50:36, respectively. Also a big atta-boy to Tim Jones and Brig Brandt, members of the extended Source family who both finished well.
Jones, whose lamb chops need no introduction, took top honors in the men's single speed category, cranking out the 19 mile course in 1:16:08. Brandy meanwhile grabbed a piece of the podium with a strong third place finish in the Men's Pro Category, coming in at 2:07:28. (EF)
Now is also a perfect time to get out on your road bike.
The Cascade Lakes Highway opened up a couple of weeks ago as well as the loop on Three Trappers Roa; the new pavement on Hwy 42 is sweet. Just don't try the longer loop on South Century because the road is really torn up between Pringle Falls and Sunriver.
McKenzie Pass is also now open to the Observatory. Don't miss the window of opportunity to enjoy a beautiful car-free ride. Car-free sounds really good after hearing about the latest car-bike accident in town.
On Tuesday June 2nd, WebCyclery employee Andrey Yarbrough was hit from behind by a truck just west of Shevlin Park while he was on a morning road ride. The driver, who was reaching for his cell phone, was cited. Yarbrough, who suffered a head injury and some broken vertebrae and ribs, is still at St. Charles Medical Center.
"We have been inundated with calls from friends and customers wondering about his condition and what can be done to help," said Dick Gorman. "In lieu of flowers, we have set up a fund to help Andrey and his girlfriend get through the next few months of what is sure to be a difficult time. Donations can be made at WebCyclery (or by phone at 541-318-6188) by cash, check or charge, or at the downtown Wells Fargo. The account is under 'WebCyclery-benefit for Andrey Yarbrough'. Cards can be sent or hand delivered here to WebCyclery and we will make sure that he gets them at the hospital, and (hopefully soon) at his home. Please keep Andrey in your thoughts and prayers."
I just met Andrey last month at the shop, where he convinced me to take a spin on his bike with decoupled cranks. Here's hoping he's back out on that wacky bike soon.
GO BOTH WAYS
If you can't decide which way to go, road or mountain, maybe you should get a 'cross bike. I first tried cyclocross 20 years ago when it was a weird Euro sport. Today, it is booming in this country. Cyclocross race season isn't until Fall, but from the looks of the traffic on Phil's Trail, lots of people are having fun right now on their 'cross bikes.
Fat tires, skinny tires, knobby tires....it's all good!