Friday, 3 September 2010

Today I drove the 350 miles from Bend Oregon to Seattle Tacoma International Airport for my flight to New York.  The route follows the length of the Cascade Mountains from Bend down to Puget Sound.

Its starts off as high desert, lots of old volcano’s can be seen; apparently they are cinder cone volcano’s.  There are long tubes inside in which it’s possible to go down some distance, they are formed when the volcano discharges lots of ash and gas into the atmosphere.

I took a few photos of the route along the way, nice clean and smooth roads and fantastic scenery.  The very large volcano is Mount Hood.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Farewell Bend

Last night in Bend OR tonight.  Finished five straight days of high desert mountain biking.  did around 130 miles of riding, conditions ranging from sleet and almost freezing temperatures to clear sunshine and 30 degrees.  altogether a fantastic holiday in a mountain biking mecca.  The best are I found was Phil's Trails, starting from Phil's Trailhead.  It's an enormous area, I don't know the length of all the trails, but it must run to much more than 100 miles.  The quality is excellent, as I said before the trails are smooth and sandy, every turn is bermed.  There are very steep and technical ups and downs, the rock gardens are amazing, so much work gone into this area.  Further away are still more of hundreds of miles of trails, just can't do it all in one trip.

There are lots or varmints and critters on the trails, big birds, cougar (didn't see one), deer and thousands of chipmunks, they are everywhere, very inquisitive, though wild, I attracted a couple by throwing pieces of bananas, they are too clever though and just pick it up and run away with it.  They seem to come in all sizes, with different stripes of different colours...very interesting  

Although its high desert is covered in pine trees, none seem more than 50 years old, there is lots of evidence of forest fires in the past, so I suppose that is how the forest is controlled, at least in former times.

Extinct volcano's are everywhere, they are all over the place, they call them "Buttes".  Lava is everywhere, I think the last volcano erupted about 6.500 years ago. 

So back to Seattle in the morning and an overnight flight to New York.  Trouble is hurricane Earl is also headed there!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Bend Oregon

Arrived in Bend for five days mountain biking. Although I have ridden 5 days in a row before, I have not done five days serious mountain biking before in a row, especially at above 4,000 feet.

Anyway I have found the altitude no problem at all, still go uphill as slowly as before!

Hired a bike, Trek 4500 hardtail, only just acceptable.

The trails are well marked and all seem to start at trail heads where you can park. There are no other facilities, like coffee shops etc!

All the trails, being in the high desert are very dry, dusty and sandy, but the surface is fantastic, fast rolling and smooth, at least between the rocky technical sections.

Basically the trails are like the very best of UK trail centres, except thay are wild and this is no trail centre, but of the rock gardens and the like are mad made. So the riding is superb. When I say high desert its not like a sand desert, its rocky, with lots of vegetation and millions of pine trees.

For the three days I have been here I have managed around 20-30 miles a day, not too much but enough. On the remote sections you are a long way from any help. so taking it carefully.

In the next post will give a bit more info about the particular trails.