“So are you more of a roadie?” one of the guides asked me as we were getting in our shuttle to head up Mt. Bachelor in Bend, Oregon for a day of mountain biking.
“Umm…” In my usual fashion, I spent more time trying to figure out why she was asking such a question and to what degree I really qualified as a mountain biker vs. a roadie than to just answer her question. “No…” I quickly figured out that she was asking based on my full spandex and matching team kit, and I was suddenly less offended. We were out west, and this was an odd sight on a mountain bike. I expected this, but I wasn’t about to spend $80 on shorts so I could wear the same ones all week to fit in. Back home, wearing baggy shorts in the humidity is about equivalent of wrapping yourself in a wet blanket to ride. I could handle looking like a weirdo for a week. I could also handle the questionable looks I got from people when I told them we were from Virginia; it’s not exactly known as a mountain biking destination outside of the region.
But none of that mattered anyway since everyone we met in Oregon was exceedingly nice and the riding was fantastic. After visiting friends in Portland, we rode Post Canyon in Hood River, did a guided tour with the excellent Cog Wild in Bend, rode the entire McKenzie River trail, and added two more days of riding in Bend instead of going to the coast. We just couldn’t leave Bend. Even on the day we knew we were for sure leaving to head back to Portland, we got a text from our friend saying it was 100 degrees and miserable in the city. It was beautiful in Bend. I even had my sweater on at the time we got this warning text, so we spent the day by the river and arrived in Portland in time for dinner.
It was hard to leave, as vacation always is. But as I read Dirt Rag on the plane–the issue that I picked up in the Cog Wild office in Bend after I couldn’t get my digital subscription on my Kindle–the pages were full of people I knew from home. Either written by them, written about them, or a little bit of both. There was even an entire article about the “mountain bike mecca” of Harrisonburg, VA and the people who contributed to its existence. It was a great reminder of what I was returning to.
I wanted to wave the issue around to everyone in Bend and point to all the pages and say things like,”this guy helped me out after a crash, this guy helped me out at my first ever mountain bike race, this guy tried to teach our group how to nose-wheelie, I race that woman, that’s my favorite spot to ride,” and stuff like that. But I couldn’t do that because I was on an airplane getting farther away from Bend with each passing minute. I do hope at least, that some people I met read that issue and say “Virginia, I met some people from there. Sounds cool.” ‘Cause it is cool.