As we work our way into Fall, I thought it time to review one of the most epic rides of the Spring. It’s called the McKenzie Double, or simply just “the double”. It happens over Memorial Day weekend, and is a birthday celebration with bikes and people you love to ride with. As a bonus, it also includes at least one night of crazy camping.
As the name suggests, it is a double day event. The first day is a road ride via the 5,325 ft McKenzie Scenic Pass ride aka 242 (As seen on this year’s custom Yanco hats). The second day is the Mckenzie River Trail (MRT). The ride up the pass is in short: amazing! The beauty of 242, aside from the scenery, is that the road is closed to car traffic every spring. It was great to have zero cars to think about while riding and enjoying the view, and there is a lot to take in. It was great to share the road with only cyclists and the occasional walker while making our way up to the pass. The pass is like a moonscape and offers amazing views….
…and smiles all around, because what comes next is a lot of downhill, a temperature increase, and ice cream in Sisters, OR. All worth the ride up! Arriving in Sisters was like riding into New York City after being in the solitude of the mountains, but ice cream was worth it! We weaved through town to get our well deserved treat before heading back up the pass from the other direction. This is a shorter, steeper climb and it is over before you know it. Happy to make it back to the pass, we layered up for our ride down, cause it was winter-like cold. I think Dan probably was the most prepared for his ride down….
As we made our way back down to camp the reality that this epic ride was coming to an end began to sink in. But the fun wasn’t over yet! When we rolled into camp, the size of our group almost doubled with more bike friends that had done a mountain bike ride that day and wanted in on the birthday fun.
And what’s the most important and first thing one should do after riding 70 some miles? Go stand in the VERY cold creek for 15 minutes. Everyone swore that it would make my muscles feel better in the morning. Since we did have a mountain bike ride the next day, I decided to partake in this recovery ritual. It was cold but I hafta say my legs felt ready to go for the MRT in the morning. After recovering from our recovery bath, we had an amazing meal, some good hang out time, a great fire with friends, and dogs, enough said! The next day would have some fun things in store, or so we thought…..
We started the morning off with fresh legs, and coffee in hand ready to conquer the MRT. We ate, packed up camp and drove on down the road to the trailhead. We arrived and organized ourselves into groups and rolled out for a full day. It was beautiful with not too much traffic, bike or otherwise. That was until we reached the Tamolitch Blue Pool and it was as if someone had turned on a people hose and sprayed them everywhere, and I mean everywhere! We sat for a small break and a bite to eat and gazed at the blue pool and hoped the people would thin out. It was a good hope, they just got more layered to the point where we had to walk our bikes. This went on for what seemed an eternity, in reality it was maybe a mile. Our next short term goal was to make it Trailbridge, and figure out if this mt bike ride would continue. There was an escape vehicle there, so bailing was an option. I was surprisingly exhausted mentally from the ride the day before and had come to my end point. Too many people to enjoy riding, and a few of us decided that we would end our ride there and get shuttled back to the car and head home. Sometimes you just gotta call it. Despite the people on the trail it was a beautiful ride, and it’s a trail that certainly keeps you engaged. Even though we opted out early it was still an awesome weekend! You can’t beat riding, hanging out with friends and just being a dirtbag for a few days. I can’t think of a better way to spend a holiday weekend.