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!

A new home for you… and your dog will love it too

By Dusty Trails

 

We love our dogs here in Central Oregon. That’s why Dog Fancy magazine named Bend the top “dog town” in the country last year. We’ve got restaurants that encourage dogs in their patio areas, a parade for pets on the 4th of July, and a luxury hotel that gives your dog a personalized pet bed, Joshua Tree Pet Salve, and even pet massages. So yes, I think it’s safe to say we’re deserving of our new title.

 

In the summertime, it’s not uncommon to see dogs floating along on the front of a kayak or paddleboard with the locals, or jumping into the river after a Frisbee at the River Bend Dog Park. The city boasts six other off-leash areas, along with miles of dog-friendly mountain biking trails in the Deschutes National Forest.

 

Wintertime is just as much fun for dogs. The city’s dog advocacy group, DogPAC, has acquired a snowcat—renamed Sno-Dog—to enhance trail grooming at Wanoga Sno-Park, resulting in a two-mile loop of dog-friendly winter trails next to your own ski and snowshoe tracks.

 

Area residents and winter visitors can take dog-sled rides at the Oregon Trail of Dreams on Mt. Bachelor and maybe meet local Iditarod musher Rachel Scdoris. Mt. Bachelor Avalanche Rescue Dogs are skilled at locating victims under masses created by snow slides, while the dogs in the High Desert Search Dogs group focus on wilderness and urban tracking and trailing.

 

With “ruffly” 27,000 dogs to 80,000 people, the city has definitely warmed up to its canine companions. It’s easy to see why Dog Fancy has honored Bend as the best place for man’s best friends to have a healthy, active life. And it’s not too shabby for their owners, either.