I spend the last 5 days riding up in Oregon, 2 days on rides just with friends, and 3 days at Mountain Bike Oregon (MBO). Mountain Bike Oregon is a mountain bike get together held in Oakridge, Oregon, a no-name town in central Oregon with a trail system that is second to none. The ‘500 miles’ of trails listed on Mountain Bike Oregon’s web site is not an exaggeration, and the quality of the trails is phenomenal. Most of the trails are skinny, buffed single track, but there is a good selection of technical riding as well. Rivers and streams crisscross the unique rain forests of northwest Oregon. The technical challenges are as often made of roots and tree stumps rather than rocks and you are just as often riding on bark and pine needles as dirt on many trails. (My Pictures from MBO)
The Mountain Bike Oregon event itself was very well organized. The cover price for the weekend is was right around $250 (depending on when you registered) and it was an all inclusive event. All ride shuttles and guides, a campsite, bathrooms (mostly portable), showers were available at the local high school, and food. Breakfast was excellent; eggs, pancakes, sausage, biscuits and gravy, and fresh fruit along with coffee and OJ. Far from your traditional camping fare. At breakfast time and shortly afterwards, a lunch spread was laid out in a pack-it-yourself fashion. All the good whole grain bread, lunch meat or peanut butter and jelly, cookies and munchies you wanted to whip up. The disappointment for me food-wise was dinner, a lackluster offering of mediocre pasta and dried burgers that was filling, but didn’t really inspire praise. Desert was excellent and the brownies with ice cream were great.
The one thing that really drives home how impressive this area is was the quality and passion of the riders in the area. Almost universally the guides were mind-blowingly impressive riders. These are people who are passionate about the trails and have migrated to central Oregon because of the quality of the trails there. The guides do an awesome job of keeping track of large groups of mountain bikers and every ride had a great guide to ‘paid client’ ratio. There were roughly 30 “Disciples of Dirt” at the event, all volunteers, all ecstatic about cycling and almost universally the most friendly people you would ever wish to see on a ride.
This is the third year of Mountain Bike Oregon and every year it’s gotten bigger and better. The trails in the area are so compelling that some of the people who went to the event were seriously considering a vacation home. One person was even talking about relocating to the area. All the beer you can drink, decent food, shuttled rides, and some of the friendliest, most accommodating organizers make this into a mountain biking event that people are going to want to go to again and again.