My experience with bike riding has never worked out well. I tore every ligament in my ankle in college after I somersaulted over the handlebars. Obviously, I didn’t know how to brake correctly. Trying my first mountain bike out with a friend on an unknown trail that kept getting narrower and narrower, with more steep inclines and deeper ascents. Bushes and tree branches encroached us on both sides until finally, we had to start carrying our bikes over fallen trees. At this point, we were unsure if we should turn around or venture on down the trail. We had gone so far and, as you can imagine, our food and water had diminished. That was the end of my mountain biking experience until a decade or two later.
Mountain Biking Day Tour
Recently another friend invited me along to the Cog Wild Mountain Biking Sampler half-day tour, and I honestly thought we were biking on the bike paths in Sunriver. I couldn’t figure out why it would be a tour. But no…it’s in Bend sand on actual mountain biking trails. The website asked which technical skills I would like to work on. Eek! Now I’m nervous.
Somehow I envisioned meandering through the forest trails, thinking they were relatively flat and wide. Ahh…no, it was nothing like that! It became apparent real quick this was going to be a different experience. My anxiety went sky high. I texted my husband, and he texted me back, saying that they were probably going to take us on “AKA take your girlfriend on a bike ride.” Which later I found out they didn’t, thank goodness!
Loge Camp in Bend Oregon
We arrived at Loge Camp in Bend, Oregon, which I had wanted to check out. Joshua and Colton were our guides, and they quickly went over our mountain bike riding experience (which was pretty much null). We then fitted our bikes and helmets and went over basic instructions such as braking and shifting gears. We still had 30 minutes to go and explore Loge Camp, so Julie and I grabbed a coffee at the cafe and settled outside in the sun by the pool next to the gas fire pit. Once the shuttle was loaded, we drove to the drop off spot on the Cascade Highway. The drop off place looked like the middle of nowhere.
The Mountain Biking Tour
We began biking through the forest on narrow, dusty trails with sharp curves that ran right in between tall pine trees with rocks jutting out from place to place. It would help if you remained focused on the quick turns, so you ride around the trees and not into them.
First, I needed to learn to relax on my braking, then how to maneuver around or over the rocks, will putting my bum off the seat when going downhill. Trying to remembering which gear to shift for harder or easier was the most cumbersome. Three hours and my bum, arms, neck, legs were killing me, but I finally was getting it and able to go over instead of around the rocks. Hallelujah!
We made our way back to Loge Camp to turn in our bikes, grab a Kombucha, and lounge in the cute yellow and blue metal chairs underneath strings of hanging lights and a guy who was hanging out next to us in one of two hammocks. It was great to sit down; our legs were quivering. I finally feel comfortable on a bike and especially on the trails. Julie and I are already planning our next mountain bike outing to go out and conquer those trails!
Our guides were so patient and gave us lots of tips, answered lots of questions and encouragement along the way. It was good to see so many other mountain biking ladies out there on the trails. So if you are interested in mountain biking try Cog Wild tours or their mountain bike skills class. If you are from out of town, Loge Camp would be a fun place to stay in Bend, Oregon.
If you really want to get inspired by other mountain biking ladies, check out this list of 10 fierce female mountain bike riders to follow on Instagram from Sacred Rides. Pretty amazing!