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What mountain bike racing looks like in eastern Oregon (from way above)

Posted by on March 7th, 2016 at 3:42 pm

Most regular readers of this site know that I have a major crush on eastern Oregon. If you love to ride bicycles, it’s sort of a paradise. It has wide open roads, big skies, forests, lakes, rivers, and wonderful rural towns full of nice people.

Over the weekend the small town of Echo hosted its annual cross-country mountain bike race and poker run. The Echo-Red-to-Red is sanctioned by the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association. That group’s Executive Director Kenji Sugahara was on hand for the festivities and he launched his drone to capture some beautiful footage of the action. If his short video doesn’t inspire you to ride and explore this part of the our state than I’m afraid nothing will.

I have yet to do the Echo race, but I just put it on my calendar for 2017.

On a related note, this weekend is the annual Dalles Mountain 60 ride. This ride is one of the original gravel adventures that skyrocketed to popularity here in the Portland region. It was first dreamed up and hosted by the folks at VeloDirt and now it’s flying high with its own wings. Check out the route on Ride With GPS and make a weekend out of it with an overnight in The Dalles. If you do, make sure you tell Mayor Lawrence (a self-described “bike freak”) I said “hi”.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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35 Comments
  • The Bike Concierge March 7, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    I’ve raced Red-to-Red and ridden the Dalles Mtn 60 route, both are great routes. I fully understand your crush on eastern Oregon!

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  • Andrew Kreps March 7, 2016 at 4:01 pm

    It’s worth noting that Sno Road Winery opens their private land to the public for the race, and only for the race- making it quite special indeed. There are many wonderful trails there that are open year-round, so give this a read before you head out. The race is challenging and amazing.

    http://www.echored2red.com/race-info.html

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  • PNP March 7, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    Beautiful video. I’d try mountain biking on those trails. I lived in eastern Washington for a number of years, and grew to love the wide open vistas. You’ve made me a bit nostalgic.

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  • Tim March 7, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    wow – I need to quit my job and go ride.

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  • mran1984 March 7, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    It appears that no salmon were harmed during this mtb event…whew, everyone can sleep peacefully.

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    • Granpa March 8, 2016 at 7:54 am

      I didn’t take long for anti-environmental snark to enter the discussion. Well done.

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      • TrailLover March 8, 2016 at 8:12 am

        I think you meant to write “anti-fake-environmental” snark. There’s a difference.

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        • Granpa March 8, 2016 at 8:36 am

          Nuance, irony, double negatives, innuendo and subtlety don’t convey well in this media. Mt. bike advocates are so aggressive in protecting their sport, they get defensive, frequently with snark posing as humor, where they is no offense. No post derided mt. biking in this thread, yet the derision commenced.

          https://search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?p=lighten+up+francis&ei=UTF-8&hspart=mozilla&hsimp=yhs-003

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          • Alex March 8, 2016 at 9:03 am

            I would say that anti-mountain bike advocates are even more aggressive – to the tune of setting up traps and doing violence against mountain bikers. I can provide links if interested.

            Any evidence of mountain bikers resorting to violence?

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          • TrailLover March 8, 2016 at 9:09 am

            “No post derided mt. biking in this thread,” You may have missed this:

            Mike Quiglery wrote: “It is wise to keep the jacked up, lycra clad crowd off these ruts to minimize damage that already exists, plus preserve peace, quiet and wildlife.”

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          • 37Dennis March 8, 2016 at 5:35 pm

            I turn instant hater on haters of off-road cycling. Sorry not sorry. When all the idiots on here use their garden tools to turn pavement back to the earth, we will only be left with soil to ride on. They might as well get used to the most fun implement to deploy… The Mountain Bike ! Shred on.

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  • TrailLover March 7, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    “Eastern Oregon” is a big place, but if you like to ride mountain bikes it may be a getting a LOT smaller – to the tune of two million acres – if Wilderness proponents succeed in establishing the Owyhee Canyonlands federal Wilderness. You’ll never again be allowed to bring a bicycle on any trails in that area.

    If that sounds wrong to you, you can either oppose the Wilderness designation (there are better alternatives) or support the Sustainable Trails Coalition’s effort to put bicycles back in federal Wilderness where they belong. http://www.sustainabletrailscoalition.org/

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    • Mike Quiglery March 8, 2016 at 6:54 am

      Nonsense! Mountain biking (and motorized vehicles) will be allowed on already existing roads in the proposed Owyhee Canyonlands Wilderness.

      Other than that there are no trails except for the ruts created by cows and sheep (i.e., public lands grazing which will also be allowed to continue).

      It is wise to keep the jacked up, lycra clad crowd off these ruts to minimize damage that already exists, plus preserve peace, quiet and wildlife.

      Open every bit of land to mountain bikes and the ORV/snowmobile/dirt bike crowd will line up to demand equal access.

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      • Alex March 8, 2016 at 9:01 am

        > Open every bit of land to mountain bikes and the ORV/snowmobile/dirt bike crowd will line up to demand equal access.

        That actually hasn’t been the case. I would like to read what you are citing.

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      • TrailLover March 8, 2016 at 9:10 am

        By the way, nobody is advocating to “open every bit of land to mountain bikes.”

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    • Hello, Kitty March 9, 2016 at 2:40 pm

      Because wilderness sucks. Right?

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      • Brian March 9, 2016 at 4:14 pm

        It totally sucks.

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      • Alex March 11, 2016 at 9:18 am

        And bikes change wilderness to non-wilderness, unlike horses and hiking.

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  • TrailLover March 8, 2016 at 8:10 am

    Thanks for defining “nonsense.” What’s wise is to keep stereotyping, insults and recreational bigotry like yours out of decision making regarding public lands management.

    Newsflash: Off-road cyclists are not looking to ride on roads any more than other outdoor enthusiasts are looking to hike on them. We’re all looking for rustic, rugged, backcountry experiences, especially if we live or have traveled to remote areas like much of the Owyees. I’m just as peaceful, quiet and respectful of wildlife when I’m on my bicycle as when I am traveling by foot. Can we assume you are totally opposed to equestrian use (allowed in Wilderness) for all the reasons you listed?

    I’m not very familiar with the area but I find it hard to believe that there are no trails on 2 million acres of land. I see several hikes listed on the wilderness proponent’s website. Maybe some bikeportland readers can chime in with their experience and knowledge. And even if recreational trail opportunities are currently limited, the development of sustainable, human-power-only trails in the future could be worthwhile and important for a range of reasons.

    And no thank you for your slippery slope argument. It’s something to keep in mind but is almost totally nonsense. http://www.singletracks.com/blog/trail-advocacy/responses-to-the-10-most-common-arguments-against-allowing-mountain-bikes-in-wilderness-areas/

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) March 8, 2016 at 8:13 am

      Mike and TrailLover,

      Thanks for your comments but please be more respectful of one another and other readers. You both have important points to make so there’s no need to weaken them by using insults and mean language. Keep it clean and productive please! Thank you

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    • dwk March 8, 2016 at 8:52 am

      Mt. bike used has completely ruined the McKenzie river trail experience for anyone not on a bike….

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      • Alex March 8, 2016 at 9:00 am

        I will be sure to let the thousands of people hiking on the trail with smiles on their face know that. From my experience on the trail, the hikers always seem supportive and impressed at the people willing to ride bikes on the trail.

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      • Brian March 8, 2016 at 9:03 am

        The number of folks who hike this trail (many as regular users) would lead one to believe you are wrong. I have hiked it multiple times and had a great time doing so. I have also biked it multiple times and the encounters I have had have all been positive and quite nice. I even shared some food at the blue pool with some hikers while we chatted about it’s beauty.

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        • dwk March 8, 2016 at 9:12 am

          Did you watch them jump off the cliff or go swimming in the blue pool?

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          • Brian March 8, 2016 at 9:22 am

            I’ve seen hikers swimming in the pool, yes. Why? Is it not allowed?

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            • dwk March 8, 2016 at 9:26 am

              And you wonder why some think the bikes ruined the trail…

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              • Alex March 8, 2016 at 9:29 am

                What are you even talking about?

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                • dwk March 8, 2016 at 9:36 am

                  I have hiked the trail for twenty years. No one, and I mean no one ever thought to jump in the blue pool. As the trail use multiplied dramatically due to both bike and hike use, things like jumping in the pool became exceptable.
                  I am all for MT. bike trails, they should not be mixed use. The McKenzie river trail is a gem and should have been more protected.

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                • Alex March 8, 2016 at 9:40 am

                  So you are really complaining about overuse and not mountain biking specifically? This isn’t just the fault of mountain bikers. Are you arguing against breeding? You really lost me on this one.

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                • TrailLover March 8, 2016 at 9:58 am

                  People have certainly been swimming in the blue pool probably since the day the very first human stumbled across it. But Alex seems to be right: Concerns expressed here might be better focused on overuse and poor education/etiquette rather than scapegoating cyclists who are legitimate trail users like the rest of us.

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              • Brian March 8, 2016 at 9:30 am

                Was it wrong for me as a biker to watch hikers jumping and swimming in the pool? How did I ruin the experience by watching hikers swim? Should I have yelled at them for swimming in cool water in the middle of a hot Summer day?

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      • TrailLover March 8, 2016 at 9:06 am

        Really? The MRT is one of the highest rated hiking and running trails in the entire country. But that’s not to say that bicycle users have not impacted the experience of some other trail users. While the presence of trail users on bicycles may have “completely ruined” your experience it doesn’t seem to be the case for most people. As a hiker and cyclist on the MRT, I seem to have a wonderful experience every time I visit the trail. Could it be that it’s more a problem of crowding than cycling? Perhaps the volume of cyclists would be a bit lower if cyclists didn’t face such severe access restrictions on so many other public trails. Also, perhaps the MRT lends itself to conflict because of the relative ease with which cyclists can be shuttled to the top of the trail. That does seem to lead to some trail users getting in over their heads and some amateurish and undesirable trail etiquette. Maybe the trails community can work together to mitigate some of those challenges.

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  • Brian March 8, 2016 at 9:52 am

    I’ve only seen people (hikers, specifically) swim in the pool. I find it hard to believe that people haven’t been swimming in it for as long as people and the pool have co-existed. Anyway, we’ll have to agree to disagree with allowing mixed use on the trails that exist all over Oregon. Unless, of course, you are ok with making many more of them “mtb only.”

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    • Brian March 8, 2016 at 9:52 am

      Meant as reply to dwk above.

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  • Matt March 8, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    Great video! Last time I raced it was in 2014 when it was +10 with wind chill and one of the best races I have ever done. Big shout out to the local bike shop, winery, and other sponsors who make it a such a fun way to start the season. Well worth the long drive from Portland.

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