Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Soul Riding along the McKenzie River

Between Eugene and Bend there is a paradise land called the McKenzie River. It is in the Willamette National Forest. It is pure and vast. And it is home to a 26 mile off-road trail that features long, flowy sections guiding you to Oregon's Wonders — waterfalls, lava fields, 100 ft tall pine trees and a vast rolling river flowing with pure water from the tips of the Cascade mountains. Whomever designed this trail was a genius.

Unfortunately our appreciation of the trail was limited to the junker bikes we rented nearby. I had a Nishiki and Bjet had a Mongoose, but they were probably entry level bikes with a spring rear suspension and components made from lead. The Nishiki looked like it went through a war, fortunately I could get clipless pedals on the Mongoose for Bjet.

The trail was super fast and flowy through a beautiful forest next to the rolling rapids of the river. It was great to ride for an hour, then have a quick Clifbar picnic next to the river.

The one downside is that the trail features many bridges. The upside is they make you stop and appreciate the views, but they really aren't ridable unless you are one of those downhiller supermen with no fear. Most of them only have a railing on one side and steps lead up into most of the bridges making it difficult to ride onto the bridge (probably so people don't try to ride and fall off into the water). I kind of wished half of them were easier to ride, because sometimes you had to dismount 3-4 times within a mile.

Overlooking the TrailBridge Reservoir. Unfortunately my foot slipped off the crappy platform pedal while climbing, and I nearly lost my balance and slid down a 100 foot dirt hill! I preferred the view from the trail... We had to turn around just past the reservoir to head back and be with the family. I was surprised at how slow we were, we had to stop and keep checking out the spectacular views and we didn't even get to see the best parts!

I hope to get back there again someday, I found myself wanting to just get lost out there for an entire day riding the whole trail back and forth.

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