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September 6, 2008

Oregon, Phil’s Trails revisited

Filed under: MTB Travel, Oregon MTB 2008 — anotherheader @ 9:15 pm



Sunday was the last riding day of the trip. The day began with an inauspicious start as Bill, dressed in a disconcerting blue and brown riding wardrobe, came by the trailer to freely distribute interior design and feminine hygiene advice. We were all hoping the day would improve from this point. We knew for certain that it almost unquestionably would.

Berry and Becky were still worked from the MRT epic the day before, so we headed to Phil’s Trails for a short 1.5-hour or so spin. We climbed Ken’s Trail. Ken’s Trail fits in the Stepford Trails motif of the lower trails in the Phil’s area. The trails are well mannered, gently graded and ridden by courteous bikers, aboard svelte cross country steeds, uniformly clad in Lycra, who slavishly give way to uphill traffic, seemingly reciting the IMBA rules of the trail in unison. All good, but somewhat disconcerting, nonetheless.

Bill, making full use of his travel

Bill, making full use of his travel

At the top of Ken’s Trail, we crossed behind the helipad on Storm King. In general, the trails further from the Phil’s Trailhead become narrower and have a more feral and remote feel. Storm King fits this bill as we wound down the hill with William the Navigator at the front looking for the intersection with Grand Slam so we could close our loop. William the Navigator had great difficulty in finding Grand Slam. We ended up on another fun, destination worthy trail in the area, C.I.A., which was not on William’s map. As C.I.A. crossed a road cut, we were still uncertain where we were.

William pleaded that there was no trail signage to be seen and C.I.A. was clearly a new trail that was not on his map. Berry the Elder, asked of Lord William, “Where art thy compass and thy sextant that thou hath made so famous?”

Becky, on the steep drop in the Phil's (she's the only one who did this on two days of riding there).


William the Navigator had no reply for this damning question. For the first time, he fell totally silent.*

Berry the Elder has subsequently written a letter to the Royal Society for Singletrack Navigation suggesting that William the Navigator’s Royal Appointment be suspended. Berry suggested that the younger upstart, Garmin the Navigator, could be a worthy replacement.

On Berry the Elder’s insistence, after consultation with a Ranger who happened by (William the Navigator objected as he viewed this form of navigation to be “impure” and as cheating), we continued on to an access road that took us to Grand Slam. Grand Slam was narrow, fun, and twisting as it gradually descended towards Phil’s Trailhead. Towards the bottom, Grand Slam took us through a picturesque rock out cropping as the trail tread crossed over several challenging lava rock gardens.

At the base of Grand Slam, we opted to take the smooth route back to the vehicles, bypassing a trail segment with North Shore style build-ups on it that Bill and I had ridden on Friday. We finished with Phil’s Trail, which, in the downhill direction, is a gradual descent where you chose your speed by how much you pedal. On this trail, you apex corners and twitch your bike back and forth between the trees as you dig for more speed and more fun on the short straights.

Becky nearing the end

Becky nearing the end

We were back at the vehicles approximately 4 hours after we began. There must be some sort of time warp here, as it didn’t feel like a four-hour ride. The again, it didn’t feel like a 1.5 hour short spin either.

With profound sadness, we packed up the gear knowing that this would be the last ride of the trip. We are already planning our next adventure.

P.S. Later in the evening, Becky and I had another visit Fred Meyer’s ice cream row to see that ¼ to 1/6, by our estimate, of the ice cream in stock the prior evening had been sold. That translates to around 17,000 servings for a town of 77,000 people in one day. And that’s just one store in Bend.


* OK, some things in this account are not entirely true. Bill was not silent. He did, for a moment, stop dispensing feminine hygiene and interior design advice, though.


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