Wednesday, June 16, 2004


This past weekend I finally rode the Extendo trail in McDonald Forest. I'd seen it before, even hiked it with Mary, but because I try to pay attention to official trail closures (some trails are closed between Oct 1 and April 15), I'd not ridden it on my bike.

Lately, I've just been riding out past Bald Hill, and out to the Oak Creek. From there I can enter McDonald Forest and ride a little loop that takes me about half an hour (600 to 6020 to Upwards to 680 back down 600). But now that it's after April 15th, I can fly down Extendo. Here's a pic of what the trail looks like - I didn't take the picture, and I have no idea who the person in it is.

Extendo has got to be my favorite trail in the Corvallis area. Granted, I've only been on a handful of the illeglal trails in McDonald Forest, but it's just a perfect combination of technical riding with speed. You've got windy single track, with some steep downs, and large tree roots liberally sprinkled in to make it interesting. Like a lot of the forest, there are large sections of trees where the only underbrush is grass - which is just amazing to bike through. Imagine, dark trunks extending 40-50' in the air, bright green grass 2 feet tall, and a slim trail weaving through it all like a snake.

Dan's trail is almost as pretty, and offers a less technical ride, though it is a bit faster. However, due to the storms this winter, there are tons of downed trees on Dan's trail, and they're still not cleared up. I rode with Ron, trying to show him the amazing riding in Corvallis, but all he got was his ass kicked while riding up Horse, and a good upper-body work out while tossing his bike over the 20-odd trees we had to cross while coming down Dan's.

The best beginner trails around are on Bald Hill, they're short, interesting, and even closer to home. I can get there in 10 minutes on my bike (as opposed to 20 minutes to Oak Creek). There are three single-track trails up to the top, plus a horse trail, and a little (hiker only) trail connecting two of the single-track trails. Additionally, just past the farms to the north of the hill is yet another single track trail that is a nice out-and-back. None of the trails are very steep, they're in the range of .5-1.5 miles long, but they're windy enough to be interesting to the more advanced riders. The only drawback is that poison oak runs rampant on Bald hill. And just recently I found another small set of trails that connect (via gravel roads) to the Bald Hill roads. I'll explore them soon.

I think I'm ready to head out with the group that leaves from Cyclotopia on Tues/Thurs at 6pm. They ride long and hard - you generally don't get home until 9 or 9:30, and since it is usually dark at that point, you need to bring a light. They're the ones that introduced me to the illegal trails, and after a few more rides I might get the courage do to them alone. The biggest problem is getting lost because all of a sudden you're dumped out onto a logging road you've never seen before. Well, that and the fact that they ride like little banshees, and I get tired trying to keep up.

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