The McKenzie River Trail (the MRT) is situated in Central Oregon, on the west side of the Cascades. This mountain range, predominantly made up of dormant and not-so-dormant volcanoes, does an efficient job of stopping the moisture from the Pacific Coast. On the west side you have temperate rainforests and old growth timber, and a stones throw to the east you are exploring an arid desert-like landscape. The MRT, being on the west side of the volcanoes, features towering Douglas fir, mossy forest floors, a raging river (complete with big waterfalls) and a cool climate. Apparently it rains frequently, but it was nice and dry for our visit down this renowned trail.
Head buzzing from wine, stomach full of cheese, meat and bread, I careened haphazardly down the mountain, the Rhone Valley far below and a group of howling bike riders in the exact same boat as I following closely behind.
We were mid-way through an eight-day sampling of some of the finest Swiss and French downhill mountain bike gems. Some days took us to established bike parks, and other days to obscure trails hidden to the general public, and only discovered through a combination of bribing locals, studying maps and some good ‘ol fashioned luck.
Some mountain bike meccas have their “mecca” designation handed to them with ease. All of the elements are there for them: the ideal topography, a dedicated bunch of locals with a vision, and the freedom to ride in the aforementioned hills.
Jasper mountain bikers have never had it easy. The town is situated in the middle of a national park, which presents many obstacles on the road to becoming a mountain bike destination. Parks Canada, which was formed exactly 100 years ago in 1911, has never held mountain bikes in high esteem, shutting them out completely from vast areas of national park land. Jasper, however, is a living, breathing anomaly in the Parks world, with mountain bikers slowly carving out a niche for themselves in the middle of the Canadian Rockies.
by Sven Brunso
A few weeks back Mother Nature gave those of us in SW Colorado a “glimpse” of what lies ahead. After an unseasonable week of wet, cool weather, the clouds lifted to reveal a healthy dose of white gold above 11,000 feet. Some grabbed their skis and rushed into the alpine in an effort to get their fix, but I opted to wait until the odds of face shots exceed those of core shots.
A race, in its most basic form, breeds heroes. These heroes usually take the form of the champions, the athletes that rise above to conquer his or her field, besting all contenders.
The demanding format of the BC Bike Race allows for new heroes to emerge. These are the folks that may not be the fastest of the day (heck, some of the heroes end up being some of the slowest riders out there). But these unsung heroes are the ones grinding and toiling out on the course, leaving behind their day jobs and lives back home to focus on one thing and one thing only: getting across that finish line each day of the race.
There are people like Dave, who spent the whole first night in Cumberland overcome with a vicious flu. The night was passed curled up in a dirty bathroom, alternating between bouts of vomiting and fitful sleep. He crawled to the start line in the morning, and fought through the day. The next day his flu subsided and he kept going strong on course.
Speaking of overcoming challenges, there was the couple from Austin that was looking forward to a week of racing without their kids in tow. Their nanny fell through at the last minute, and undeterred they changed their race entry to tag-team, brought their kids, alternated days of racing and had a great BC Bike Race family vacation. Not Disneyland, but the kids didn’t seem to mind.