My friend Joe, one of the founders of this BendTrails web site, asked me some advice about some of the trails in the Bend area. I’ve been riding these trails since they were built, sometimes I was the first person to ride many of these trails.
Joe also invited me to look at this website a few days before it went live. So I did and what really caught my attention was the trail ratings. Every trail has a rating. Now I don’t usually pay attention to trail ratings in the Bend area because I know every trail, or at least I think I do. I don’t look at the local maps because I know the area. I worked for the US Forest Service before I worked at Sunnyside Sports and I was on the crew that built the “helipad“. Yes it was a “helipad” for fire control.
Anyway I was intrigued by our trail ratings. The first thing I asked Joe was where are the Red Trails. He told me he never heard of Red Trails. Well when I’m in Europe riding I do look at maps and Red trails are my go to trails. They are longer, more difficult, no mandatory jumps or drops. Just good old fashioned XC trails. Lookout mountain, Mrazek, Flag Line etc. Apparently we call those trails blue with black sections. I find that confusing. To me black means you are jumping, doing some death defying drop or walking. That is what it means in Scotland. Blue means pretty darn easy with some good climbing and descending. Red means rock gardens, small drops, tight switch backs. I think we need Red over here.
For example Crooked Arm at Horse Ridge is Black. I walk, good riders ride it, but don’t always clean it. COD has nothing like Crooked Arm. There are a couple of Rock Gardens that most intermediate riders ride, they may dab but never is there a do or die moment. Both trails have black diamond markings. For a rider from out of town this is confusing.
This is not the fault of this website by the way. These ratings are on the local maps. I went back and looked. I hope in the future we can get a more standard rating system. As a start let’s add Red to the menu.
Thanks for reading. I hope to continue to write about our local trails. This will be a different blog than The World According to Don.
This article was contributed by Don Leet. Don is one of the original Bend mountain bikers and the former owner of Sunnyside Sports. He still works three days a week at Sunnyside. His career highlights are a Bronze and Silver Medal at the 1988 NORBA World Championships in Mammoth Lakes Ca, and a Gold medal at the 2011 USA Cycling National Championships in Sun Valley.He is now retired from racing but continues to ride and love Mountain Biking.