By the time we reached the bottom of the climb on Sunday, the falling flakes had progressed from “wintry ambiance” to “weather phenomenon.” Sean wore the mad grin I long ago learned to associate with what he’ll call “an adventure ride” and I call a death march: the last thing I heard him yell before he turned onto the (rapidly disappearing) trail was, “Who-o’s got their bad idea jeans on?”
My knee died, hard, for the first time in a long time. Unclear at this point if I’ll spend another week or another year fixing it, but I’m inclined to say it was worth it either way. A powder day on wheels? The snow crunched and squeaked under the tires, collected on my eyelashes, fell from pine boughs in curtains of glitter—we carved! It was one of the most miserable, beautiful, best days I’ve ever had on a bike. I remembered why (or at least where) I like to ride.
Especially coming from the Bay Area, the difference between pedaling purpose-built singletrack—as opposed to a hiking route that happens to be bike-legal— is big and blissful, snowed over or not. But the trails aren’t all there is to love about Bend. Tinder (sorry, mom) tells me the dating market looks like this:
The local paper, too, is revealing:
It was, as always, very hard to leave.