What’s with this mountain biking craze, anyway?

By Dusty Trails

 

I have to make a confession. In my 20 years of living in Bend, I have never really gotten into mountain biking. And it’s a shame, because there are over 270 miles of continuously linked single-track mountain biking trails right in my backyard.

So last weekend I officially tried mountain biking for the first time. I had an experienced friend take me out to Phil’s Trail, the popular biking hub that is less than 5 minutes away from Tripleknot. From there, we had an overwhelming number of options of trails we could do. My friend graciously got me started on a beginner route called Ben’s trail, which has less hills and rocks than the more advanced trails do.

After clumsily falling off of my commuter bike a week before, I wasn’t too confident about dodging rocks and roots and tree branches while going fast on a bike. We started out going pretty slowly when I came to my first obstacle where the trail wound in between two trees that were only about a foot apart. I closed my eyes, gritted my teeth, and somehow made it through the death trap.

But instead of feeling nervous, I suddenly felt exhilarated. We were twisting and turning through tight trees, bombing down big hills, climbing up bigger ones, and ducking under overhanging tree branches, and I could not stop smiling. There were even smoothed out logs that you could bike over. I have always been into trail running, but this was so much more fun! The forest was our playground, and we had all day to explore.

I still have a lot to learn about the sport, but I cannot wait to get out there and start riding again. There are countless trails in Bend for beginners like me along with the world-class biking crowd. It’s easy to find a friend to show you some good places to start, but Cog Wild Bicycle Tours can also be a fun way to get to know the ropes. And believe me, it’s worth it. Now I know what this mountain biking craze in Central Oregon is all about!

What’s not to like?

By Dusty Trails

 

Last week, a little newspaper called The New York Times just included Bend in an article entitled “12 Months of Skiing, From Chile to China.” Somewhere between Chile and China, our own mountain is cited as one of the best places to ski in the month of July for its Fourth of July opening. That’s pretty cool. But the fact is, we have so much more to brag about.

 

For instance, National Geographic and Travel + Leisure magazines also recently included Mt. Bachelor on their compilations of best ski towns. Basically we’re proving what we already knew, that Bend is one of the best of the best when it comes to winter fun (and summer skiing, evidently).

 

Apparently The New York Times has a soft spot for us Bend-ites, because they published yet another piece back in April entitled, “Bend, Ore., a Brewer’s Town.” The newly expanded Deschutes Brewery downtown was the inspiration for the article, as it has become the fifth largest craft brewer in the nation and has contributed to one of the highest brewery-to-resident ratios in the country.

 

So we’ve got prime skiing and awesome beer. What else makes us so great? In a May 2011 edition of Outdoor Life magazine, Bend came in at number one on their list of America’s Top 200 Towns for Sportsmen for its “embarrassment of sporting riches.” What’s more, in a 2009 article in Mountain Bike Action magazine, Bend was named America’s Top Mountain Biking Town that “seems like it was founded just for mountain bikers.”

 

Central Oregon is not only a great place to live for humans, but for dogs, too. Every year, Dog Fancy magazine names the top “DogTowns,” and the winner for 2012 was…Bend! Rightly so. The article sites Bend as “a place where dogs both work and play, ski and swim.”

 

We were even awarded best tasting drinking water in the Pacific Northwest’s Cascade to Coast section of the American Water Works Association for its “clean, crisp and grassy” flavor with a “nice aftertaste.” Grassy? Whatever.

 

The latest writer to wax fondly about us is Nathan Borchelt who began his article in The Washington Post last month by stating, “I hate Bend, Ore.” But that’s only because he says, “No place should have it this good.” Truly, the man had nothing but positive things to say about our humble abode.

 

See for yourself what all the fuss is about at Visit Bend. Then don’t be surprised if you start bragging about it too.