In the morning, I put in a call to the rest of the group to find out the scoop on the day’s riding. Berry, Bill, and Leslie planned on leaving Nigel with Nolan (or is it Nolan with Nigel?) and heading out for a ride. They were figuring that I’d ride with Nigel later. Fair enough.
It wasn’t clear when ride time was going to be, so we stood on call waiting for the launch sequence. Nigel was certainly ready to ride when the time came and had arranged a triple shuttle with Randy, the local shuttle guy. The plan was to do three shuttle drops, in short succession that included Aubrey Mountain, Flat Creek, and Larison Rock.
All three drops were similar in character, 1500 feet or so of altitude loss on a sweet 12-inch wide band of winding singletrack that wove its way through the low, lush forest floor foliage. In fact, the trails were so similar that we figured that if we blindfolded a local and took them up on one of the trails and had them try to identify which one they were on, they would get it wrong most of the time. For all we know, we rode the same trail three times in a row.
The descents were fast. On the narrow trail, the vegetation slapped at our legs as we speed down the ribbon of trail. In BC, it often took us more than twice as long to descend as it did to climb. In Oakridge, we were racing the shuttle down the hill and sometimes beating it. When trailing Nigel, I could always tell how close I was by strength of the smell of the burning plastic from his brake pads.
At the base of each of the first two drops, Randy picked us up and shuttled us up the next drop. After the last drop, we chose to ride the short distance back to town. I’d guess the whole ride was over in less than three hours.
It is interesting to see that some websites label these trails as “advanced”. On the BC standard, these would be easy green trails. At least I think they would—there were so few green trails in BC to compare it to. The Oregon trails are not close to the challenge of the easiest of intermediate blue trails in BC. It would be nice to have some standardization for what the difficulty grades mean from area to area. I’d guess that’d mean the BC would need to use single, double, and triple black diamond ratings a lot.