One of the highlights of the mountain biking year is Mountain Bike Oregon, a really cool mountain bike event held in one of the best mountain biking areas in the United States; Oakridge, Oregon. The event is put on by Oregon Adventures and raises a lot of money for local organizations besides being a heck of a lot of fun for the participants.
We loaded up the truck with Just Fruit bars, one of the MBO sponsors, at their headquarters in North Bonneville, Washington and headed west, then south, then east to Oakridge in the Willamette National Forest.
We left a sunny Columbia River Gorge and arrived in Oakridge to clouds and light drizzle
Friday morning we woke up to cloudy skies and light rain. So much for the 80° and sunny the weather forecast had predicted. We were riding Lawler/Hardesty, or “Lardesty”, trails that were predominately downhill and were hoping the rain did not make the trails too muddy and slippery. Shuttled up to the Lawler trailhead and headed out on the moist Lawler singletrack
The trails were mostly pretty close to ideal, a touch on the wet side with a few slick muddy spots. The wet roots and rocks kept you on your toes. After meeting at the bottom of the Lawler trail, we headed over to Hardesty. MBO Head Guide Matt gave everybody directions and we headed up the Hardesty climb to the top of the mountain
There’s a pretty good climb up a gravel road, then a short, but tough singletrack climb to the top. This is when you’re glad it’s not 80°!
The top of the mountain was covered with clouds, giving the deep woods an unreal feel to them
Only one way to go from here and that’s down. Hardesty is a great downhill ride, a few technical sections, the bonus wet rocks and roots and a bit of exposure(mountain biker description of riding next to a cliff). All in all, the trail was in great shape, everyone had a smile on their face at the bottom
The sun was shining by the time we got back to Greenwaters Park. The campers were cleaning up and getting ready for dinner and an evening in the adult beverage garden
Friday night dinner was huge chicken and bean burritos, rice, veggies and brownies for dessert; perfect after a day of riding.
Saturday, we decided to ride Heckletooth, a trail we’ve never done before. It shows how much good riding there is around Oakridge; you can come here for years and not ride it all. With clear blue skies and sunshine, we loaded up the vans
Arrived at the Heckletooth trailhead and unloaded the bikes before the mosquitoes knew we were there
There’s a bit of a challenging climb up to the top of Heckletooth, MBO Head Guide Matt and Guide Jennifer led the way up
Great view from the top of Heckletooth
The trails were damp and tacky yesterday, today it was a little different on the exposed flanks of Heckletooth; the upper trails were dry, dusty and slippery. The Heckletooth downhill trail has some knarly switchbacks, if you can clear these hairpin turns, you’re a heck of a rider
After white-knuckling it through the top section of the Heckletooth trail, the lower part of the trail turns into sweet singletrack; perfect traction, fast and flowing
We rode back to camp, took a little break and headed out for a quick ride out Salmon Creek
Stopped to check out the fish hatchery next to Salmon Creek on the way back
The hatchery is where salmon smolts learn how to swim upstream
Back to camp for a quick shower and off to dinner and Saturday night hijinks in the adult beverage garden. It used to be the “beer garden”, but now MBO serves wine along with a wide selection of PacNW beers, so now it’s referred to as the “adult beverage garden”.
Always lots of fun hanging out with our friends in the Just Fruit skybox, Fred doesn’t look that happy though.
The evening debauchery is capped off by the always popular minibike races. The winner gets a free Niner bike frame, so it gets pretty serious
A great weekend of riding and general fun. Looking forward to the August MBO in a few weeks.