Our summer plans this year consisted of a 12 day, 5,000 mile road trip that touched 14 states, a Salsa prototype, and included 2 weddings and a funeral. If you do the math, that’s a lot of time in the car, so I was very grateful I could squeeze a couple of bikes into the hatchback and get out for a ride along the way.
I planned a route along the McKenzie River in Oregon. If you’ve never been there, or never heard of this trail, I highly recommend it. This trail has amazing variety: from fast, flowing single track to very tight, technical, lava rock, with a whole bunch of log bridges. You wind your way along the river, so at times it’s completely silent in the forest, and other times you’re right next to the rushing water.
This was sort of a nostalgic ride for me. I don’t get back home to Oregon that often, let alone with a bike to ride. With the notable exception of my Dad and a couple other people, this was the same group that I went with on my very first mountain bike ride. Only this time instead of riding my original Trek 800 (purchased brand new in 1995), I was riding a new Salsa prototype that I helped design. It doesn’t get much better than that!
I’ve ridden this trail a couple of other times, but I was very excited for this run. Instead of shuttling like usual, I planned to park at the bottom, ride up to meet the rest of the group, and then ride back down together. This would ensure a maximum dose of single track for my road-trip legs and ample testing for this new model.
When the baby woke up crying a little after 4:00 A.M. that morning, I figured I wouldn’t be able to fall back asleep and decided it was time to get on the road. Although chillier than expected, the weather was beautiful and the trail was in great shape. I quickly realized how much I had missed good Oregon single track. I had to repeatedly tell myself not to stop for pictures, or I would never meet up with everyone else on time.
I enjoyed every mile of trail on my Salsa Prototype. I can’t say much about it, other than I’ve been riding it for a while now and it’s fantastic. With the exception of a broken saddle (that we were able to salvage), our ride was fairly uneventful. It was just hour after hour of great trail – exactly what I was hoping for.
The only way to finish off a perfect day was to make a stop at Detroit Lake for a snack. We used to stop here after every climbing/camping/biking trip during high school. Not much has changed, and I got my standard BBQ beef burritos and quart of chocolate milk. I’m pretty sure those burritos have taken a couple years off my life, but I can’t get enough.
It was a beautiful day and thanks to Jed and Peter for an epic ride. We’ll have to do it again soon. Six states later and some beautiful scenery and I'm back at work, dreaming of the McKenzie River.
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I?m Mark, living the dream as an Industrial Designer, married to my amazing wife, and now trying to keep up with our new baby girl! I love to see the world and I?ve lived everywhere from New York to Paris to Utah to California, and a few places in between. I started mt. biking in the soggy forests of Oregon almost 15 years ago, and I?m still coming to terms with the mountain-less Midwest - but who can pass up an opportunity to work for Salsa? If I?m not with the family or on my bike, I?m probably tinkering with an old Saab 900 or trying to manage the ever-growing list of things to fix on our old house.