Update: Mtbr is going to Bend in April and our host Lev forwarded us this video to get us ready.
Video by Lev Stryker
This is Whoops trail. It is a couple miles long and drops about 500 feet. There is minimal braking as it is perfectly carved. A beginner can ride this trail but watch what seven locals can do with it.
Over the last few years, I’ve been hearing more and more rumblings about a place called Bend, Oregon. A few friends have uprooted their lives and moved there. And I kept hearing about some good trails and good scene there. But it was hard to put my finger on it and commit to the 10 hour trip to get there from SF, CA. I kept hearing about sandy and flattish trails that were ‘kid-friendly’, ‘dh ready’. Some friends had a grand time and some others gave me a lukewarm review.
On Day 3, we did Jump and Flow session: 2 laps on Whoops, Phil’s Trail Head pump track, dirt jumps and slalom track. Then to The Lair, beginner, intermediate, and advanced lines.
Well Melanie at Cog Wild Tours gave me a trip offer that was impossible to refuse so I dragged myself and few loyal mtbr friends to experience the enigma that is Bend, Oregon. We set up a trip at the end of October to try and get some fall riding conditions. Cog Wild is a tour company comprised of former California residents. Melanie Fisher came by way of Redwood City, California and Lev Stryker came from Santa Cruz, CA. They run Cog Wild which a premium Tour company that runs guided tours throughout the Bend, OR cycling season.
We went for a three day trip with 2 days of driving to get there and back home. Melanie set up a detailed but flexible itinerary for us. She sets up a tour much like a custom frame builder. She interviews the riders to understand their preferences and abilities. A plan is built but it is kept flexible as they keep talking to the riders and observing how they are enjoying the trails. At any point, Melanie and Lev are able to customize the ride by adding or subtracting miles, jumps, rocks and sights.
We ended up doing the following rides in three days:
Day 1: Started at Big Meadow, rode Metolios/Windigo (high country beauty) to Happy Valley. Ended at Paul’s, GS, DS, KGB, Marvin’s Garden and COD (rocky tech, at the end). Total was 35 miles
Day 2: Started at Dutchman Trail Head. Rode Flagline trail (more high country radness, some stunts and features) …….Lower Storm King to the Deschutes River trail, back to Condo – Total was 30 miles
Day 3: Jump and Flow session: 2 laps on Whoops, Phil’s Trail Head pump track, dirt jumps and slalom track. Then to The lair, beginner, intermediate, and advanced lines.
And they talked about so many more trails….
By the middle of the first day, I began to understand. I understood why it was important to get a competent guide in Bend. The singletrack network is so vast and varied that one cannot possibly figure it out and optimize it for one’s enjoyment. There’s no two obvious routes like Downieville or dotted lines like Gooseberry Mesa. What we have here is a maze of singletrack with very different flavors. I got a sneaking suspicion that my friends who did not like Bend, Oregon tried to figure out the trails on their own and just wing it. My advice to Bend, Oregon virgins who are driving a long way to get there is: Don’t take a chance. Go with Cog Wild Tours.
By then end of the first day, my thought was “If I had to go home tonight for some emergency, this trip would have been worthwhile already.” The trail quality and variety was just incredible. They had everything and every trail was built to such a high quality standard for mountain bikers. But I didn’t have to go home, each day extended into an orgy of trail, town, food and beer as Melanie made sure that we were able to get the perfect mix of riding, down time and Bend night life. Each day just got better and better. I will let the guys Andy, Kyle, Aaron and Derek tell their own version of this tale.
Read and Ride On,
Francis aka ‘francois’
Trip Report by: Andy Lightle otherwise known as ‘Rut’ in mtbr.
Day one, I woke up to the sun rising over the Deschutes River at the Mount Bachelor Village Resort. It’s a resort style condo complex and worth every penny. Waking up to the sun rising over the river and its central location in Bend were worth it alone. I started the coffee, prepped the veggie’s for breakfast and was soon joined by Kyle. We made bacon and eggs with a veggie mix; perfect for carb loading for a mountain bike ride. Before too long Aaron, Derek and Francis were up getting ready for food and riding in Bend. We were amp’ed and ready to go. MTBR was in the house!
The Cogwild van pulled up and introductions were made. Sarah our driver came out and Lev our guide started loading the bikes. As we drove to the trailhead Lev started figuring our what kind of ride he was in for. Was he going to be riding with some other pro’s and top level athletes? Or would he be out there pedaling 10 strokes and waiting again. I guess you can say we are somewhere in the middle. We enjoy the pain of the climb as long as it is worth it once you get to the other side.
If you are familiar with the area, we rode the following….we started at Big Meadow, rode Metolios/Windigo (high country beauty) to Happy Valley, Farewell trail (rocky, with mtn views) to Tumalo Falls, Tumalo Creek trail and Skyliner trail to Whoops (pump, jump and flow). The lower trails we rode were Paul’s, GS, DS, KGB, Marvin’s Garden and COD (rocky tech, at the end). Those trails are often referred to as alphabet soup.
You might be asking yourself, “how does he remember all those trails?” Well I don’t but that is one of the advantages of having a guide on the trails. Not only does he/she know the right trails to ride, he also knows the names, the features, the rest spots, the look outs and so on! This was my first trip with a guide and I have to admit, I was skeptical as first. I mean why spend the money; we can find the trails. We can do some research and figure things out, right? Maybe in D-ville or maybe on a ski resort, but not in Bend! We rode for 6 hours and got to ride amazing trails that fit our riding ability. Lev knew where to refill water, where to hop off trail and look at the beautiful Tumalo Falls. He knew the good rest stops and where to take killer photos. Thanks Lev for taking care of us.
We returned to our condo around 5pm. We took way too long downloading photos and “sampling” beers from the fridge. Soon enough we were off to check out the festivities Bend has to offer. Jackson’s Corner was suggested to us. It’s a deli/diner/pub/common house with a band type of place. The far wall was lined with a big ‘ol chiller loaded with unknown beers. The tables (all made by one of our guides on day 2) were huge wooden blocks designed to sit more than one party at a time. We sat with an “older” couple who not only mountain biked but also rock climbed and hiked as well; they had to be in their late 60’s. Their enthusiasm was amazing. Her eyes lit up as she described the local trails. It was truly a pleasure to sit and chat with them. What we did not realize was this is the culture of Bend. Everyone is outdoorsy and happy to see you. We left Jackson’s Corner spent, content and ready for bed.