High and Dry. It is difficult to imagine that after the number of days of hot weather we've had recently there can still be snow blocking any trails, but it's true. The Metolius-Windigo trail is still blocked by snow and a few remaining downed trees that are due for cutting soon. Snow can also be found on the Kwohl Butte trail (off the South side of Mt. Bachelor) and on some parts of the 370 Road, which provides access to the Broken Top trails in the Three Sisters Wilderness area.That said, trail clearing is progressing nicely. This is why we live in and visit Bend - the sheer volume of available single track for exploring. By mid-August, we will have access to almost 500 miles of trails within a one-hour radius of Bend. One COTA volunteer actually measured 272 miles of continuous single track accessible right from the edge of town!
One caveat to all this trail is that it can easily lure us into a sense of ease. "I just rode from town" doesn't necessarily equate to "I'm close to help." When you're heading out (especially now that our little "thunderstorm season" has arrived) please go prepared. A rain shell, extra food and water and the ability to "find yourself" are just as important this time of year as any other. We still have good daylight hours, but bring a light if you are starting late or going long.
Another thing you'll want to bring along is a sense of good trail etiquette. Our soil here in central Oregon is fragile, especially now that it is bone dry. Many trails are already the consistency of talcum powder. It is always good form to avoid skidding, but the berms you railed in the spring are now much softer; be sure to keep your tires on the firm line.
A good case in point on riding the berms is on the Whoops trail; soil on this trail is already very loose and getting softer by the day. Just the other day, I noticed the spots where riders went a little high and outside on the berms; the soil gave way and it's pretty clear that this has caused more than a few crashes. Whoops is a really fun trail if you treat it with the respect it's due. Please keep in mind that it's better to come home happy and unhurt than broken. Think of all the riding you miss when you can't ride!
Enjoy yourself out there, and please send questions, comments or concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org