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Thank God for Groomers: Corduroy, Twin Bridges Looping and Belgian cyclocross madness 

Thanks to the groomers, trails are easier to navigate on Tangent Loop.

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Thanks, Groomers.

An early morning ski two weeks ago reminded me to give a big thanks to all of the groomers who keep the trails manageable for us. I started my dawn patrol of Virginia Meissner early to beat the assured weekend crowd. My ski exploration led me up the freshly groomed Tangent Loop to the tracked-but-not-groomed Wednesdays Trail. I followed Wednesdays until the track stopped at some downed trees. Unexcited about breaking trail through three feet of snow, I headed back toward the Snowbush Trail.

A nice ski track allowed me to experience a couple inches of fresh powder without sacrificing my legs. I toured the western end of the trail system until I ran out of tracked trail. I was suddenly forced to make the unhappy decision of breaking trail or turning around. Unwilling to give up ground, I began to move slowly through the knee-deep, untouched powder. I immediately recognized the futile nature of my attempt and turned around. Just as I headed back with my tail between my legs I spotted the glorious sight of a grooming machine. I knew good karma had saved me as I tipped my hat to the groomers on their way past. The smile stayed on my face as I rode the corduroy to my car.

My Own Commute Option

I also want to give thanks to the people who have offered me a lift down Century Drive after a one-way ski. Cascade Lakes Highway may be the last safe place to hitch a ride. Usually, the sight of a hitchhiker causes people to think serial killer or bait. But, stand next to the Cascade Lakes Highway with a pair of skis by your side and people don't hesitate to offer a ride.

Twin Bridges Loop Scenic Bikeway

Kudos to Visit Bend for pushing one of the best bike rides in Central Oregon through the Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission. Voting was unanimous! The trail will be part of the Three Sisters Bikeway system, which includes McKenzie Pass, the Metolius Loops, and Sisters to Smith Rock State Park.

As a regular rider of the 36-mile loop, I supported the approval. But, as a spoiled brat who likes the solitude of road rides in the country, I hope the loop doesn't become a madhouse full of spandex-wearing tourists. Incidentally, please be careful if you are interested in experiencing the loop during the winter. Several sections, such as the Shevlin downhill portion, rarely see the sun and thus remain slick.

Thanks should also go out to Sen. Ron Wyden and his Deschutes County Ad Hoc Committee on Recreation Assets. The committee's findings called to, "establish Deschutes County as a premier destination for road cycling and mountain biking." They also recognize that, "relatively minor projects and efforts could dramatically increase the region's attractiveness for recreational cycling, increasing tourism and attracting greater participation by county residents."

On the Horizon

This Saturday, Feb. 4, Meissner Nordic, AKA Tumalo Langlauf, will fill paper bags with candles for their Annual Luminaria Ski. This Meissner tradition is family friendly and Meissner Nordic's primary fundraising event. Make sure you bring a headlamp to be seen on the trails. The following weekend Meissner Shelter will play host to the club's annual Waffle Feed. What could be better than Norwegian waffles cooked on a wood stove at a backcountry shelter? The morning feast begins at 10:30 and goes until the batter runs out.

MBSEF has rescheduled the Patagonia Pursuit to Sunday, Feb. 12. Skiers, or two-person teams, will begin with a mass start classic leg and then transition to a skate leg. The Youth Division (15 and under) will race six kilometers while racers 16 and older will compete for 12 kilometers.

This past weekend, Heart Center Cardiology and St. Charles Health System presented the Tour for the Heart, at Mount Bachelor Nordic Center. Two hundred people skied or snowshoed five kilometers to raise awareness of the number one cause of death for women, heart disease - just another reason to get outside for some recreation!

Cyclocross the Pond

Last Sunday, Jan. 29, local cyclocross racer Ryan Trebon took 18th place at the Belgian-dominated Cyclocross World Championships in Koksijde, Belgium. While Trebon led the Americans in the race, Niels Albert won the race with his countrymen grabbing the next six spots. Trebon was the only American to finish on the same lap as the winner. While Oregon may be positioning itself as the West Coast royal court of cyclocross, the Belgian crowd of over 70,000 included King Albert II, arguably European royalty's biggest cycling fan.


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