With SSWC a few days away, and extra time on our hands, we met for the first big ride of the weekend, taking advantage of the incredibly good fall weather. Our mission was the Olallie-O’Leary Loop, based in McKenzie Bridge. Perhaps not as well-known as the riding further to the south in Oakridge, Olallie-O’Leary could easily be a top ten ride on any mountain biker’s list. Long grinding climbs, scenic ridge top traverses, and endless downhills through giant, moss-covered pines, over prime loamy trails might sound like a dream. After a glorious day out here, we found the experience a wonderful reality.
From the Cascades we headed east around and down from the rugged volcanic mountains into the ever-popular mountain bike destination of Bend. There we convened with the rest of the Super Group for a pre-SSWC ride on a big loop that included the much-loved Flagline trail. Even for Bend residents, a ride with this trail is a treat since it’s only open for part of the year. With new “members” on hand, we indoctrinated them properly. Lots of climbing and descending anchored with a maximum amount of singletrack goodness. As the bright light of the afternoon gave way to late day light rays through the trees, the crisp air of sunset surrounded us just as we rolled into the parking lot, exchanging high-fives and hugs, celebrating another classic Super Group ride.
Rather than rush back to town for dinner, we staged an impromptu happy hour and caught up on life over fizzy beverages, hors-d'oeuvres and a few rounds of bb-gun target shooting. The activity has become a hallmark of our downtime. Every group has their “thing”, right? Plinking holes in LaCroix cans has become ours.
Long grinding climbs, scenic ridge top traverses, and endless downhills through giant, moss-covered pines, over prime loamy trails might sound like a dream.
One Day, One Speed
As the sun rose on Saturday, a small faction of the Super Group was up early, doing the necessary caffeination and caloric intake to prepare for the pinnacle ride of the Super Group weekend, Singlespeed World Championships. After fixing number plates (either 69 or 420) on their bikes, they gathered with other racers in a parking lot on the west end of Bend to await final instructions before a day-long odyssey, pushing only one single gear.
For anyone that knows SSWC, they understand the event is more than just a race. After witnessing it for the first time, I would call it a day-long timed bike ride with adult recreation stops and silly costumes. If you can’t have fun here...
As the small Super Group contingent slow-pedaled out from the start, they looked determined, energized and squeaky clean. Four hours later, in a field of pines, bikes and food trucks, we (the ones who didn’t race) would find them again smiling through sweat-soaked dust caked to their faces. Surrounded by their fellow racers, they were laughing and talking amidst a gently rising cloud of floating dust. They regaled everyone with stories of grinding climbs, blind descents, trail-side margaritas and a guy playing trombone in the middle of the forest. It was a long, hard day on the bikes, but they were happy. It was Super Group style for sure.
On the last night together, we celebrated with the rest of the SSWC crowd, enjoying fizzy beverages, listening to music and wondering how bad the winner’s tattoos hurt. Between sets, we happily relived our past adventures and laid the groundwork for future gatherings.