The Bend Experiment

What would happen if you took seven of the most stoked members of mtbr on a bike and beer adventure in Bend, Oregon - one vehicle, one house, one schedule. Would there be fun to be had? Would they still talk to each other after the trip?

Mtbr sent a few emails and within a few days, the trip was set. Members were selected not only for their riding skills and beer tasting ability but mostly for their enthusiasm for riding and life in general. And our Colorado sister, Sonya Looney heard about our adventure and joined in on the festivities. On the roster were:
  • Kyle Maxwell - San Jose, Graphic Designer, Downieville Gathering organizer
  • Andy Lightle - Corona, CA, Bike Ambassador, Downieville Gathering organizer
  • Steve Potwin - San Jose, Skater, Photographer
  • Peter Tsang - SF, Custom bike nerd, Beer Expert
  • Mark De Ponzi - San Jose, Endurance Rider, Hot springs expert
  • Andrew Lazenby - Orange County, Engineer, Fast dude but slow drinker
  • Sonya Looney - Beer taster.
Commissioned for our activities were Cog Wild Tours for all rides, Alpenglow Vacation Rentals for housing, Toyota Lexus for the test vehicle and Boneyard Beer for IPA. All services were provided to us for free.

Road trips are a big part of the mountain bike lifestyle. Day trips or week-long trips define us and our appreciation for life and our sport. Read on and share in our adventures called the Bend Experiment.

We'll publish three articles on this adventure. The lodging and city of Bend, Cog Wild and the riding, COTA and the trail building efforts. Enjoy!

[email protected]

(Peter, Francis and Andy in the eight passenger Lexus 570)

Words and photos by Steve Potwin

The adventure started early on a Wednesday morning in October. I awoke abruptly with my alarm clock going off at 5:30am. I reached over and shut it off and then checked my phone. I noticed that I had a slew of new emails. Crap! The guys have moved the departure time up from 6:45am to 6:15am. I immediately grabbed all my gear and threw it into the car, strapped my bike to the rack and darted down the road …cautiously rolling through all 3 stop signs on my street. I reluctantly glanced into the rear view mirror only to see red and blue flashing lights. Really? The cops are out at this hour? I pulled over and the officer approached my car. I cracked the window and before he even asked me "Do you know why I stopped you?" I apologized to him for running the stop sign (singular) and explained to him that I am on my way to Bend Oregon with six of my buddies, for an epic mountain biking trip …and I am running late. He took my license and headed back to his car. Returning a few minutes later, extending his police issued clipboard into my window and asking me to sign an illegible document in the dark. He told me that this is only a warning. He sends me on my way - wishing me a safe and fun trip to Oregon. I smiled and whisked off to meet up with the crew.

(Left to Right are: Kyle, Drew, Steve, Francis, Andy, Mark and Peter)

Fast forward several hours and we're crossing the border into Oregon, cruising in luxury, in a brand new Lexus LX570. There are only two words to describe how we are feeling - Giddy and Thirsty! We head straight to Boneyard Beer in Bend. What a treat. It's Wednesday, which means that growler fills are only $6. All seven of us decide to each order up our own six beer sampler. Woah! What a tasty flight of beers. The habanero and chipotle infused, Diablo Rojo Fuego Ale, sure lives up to its name. It's the hottest, spiciest beer that I have ever tried. I found it to be delicious in small quantities. Be forewarned though, it'll leave your lips burning for a good half an hour though. The RPM IPA and the Hop Venom Double IPA turned out to be my favorites. We grabbed several growlers of RPM to go and headed out. Next stop, NW Elgin Ave. - Our mountain biking headquarters and home for the next four days.

This beautiful craftsman style, West side Bend home, was graciously provided to us by Victoria Smith, owner of Alpenglow Vacation Rentals. It is a newly remolded 2200 sqft. four bedroom, 2 ½ bath, single story home that sleeps 10. It features two King suites, two Queen suites, a fully equipped gourmet kitchen and a spacious living room with vaulted ceilings, a wrap around leather couch and a flat screen television above the gas fireplace. The house turned out to be the perfect home base for our epic mountain biking adventure - easily accommodating all seven of us and all of our gear. We immediately made ourselves at home, filling the stainless steel refrigerator with craft beers and gourmet snacks. Lev, from Cog Wild Adventures, stopped by to welcome us and share his 4-day riding schedule with us. We cracked one of the RPM growlers along with several delicious San Diego beers the Socal crew brougt up and enjoyed conversation around the spacious bar in the kitchen.

This amazing house is centrally located in a quintessential, family oriented, Bend neighborhood and is within walking distance to many popular restaurants, breweries, cafés, parks and the Deschutes River. We took advantage of the house's great location and walked to 10 Barrel Brewing on the 1st night of our stay. We enjoyed top notch gourmet pizzas and salads along with a pretty good beer selection, including a respectable single IPA (Apocalypse) and a better than average double IPA (Dub).

The next morning Cog Wild picked us up and we were off to the Ochoco National Forest on our first of four days of amazing riding. Being the unofficial, official photographer of the trip, I packed my bag full of heavy camera gear including a DSLR, two large lenses, two flashes and two tripods along with other accessories. I am new to mountain bike photography and I really didn't know just how hard it would be to carry all of the gear that I thought that I needed. I soon found out that all of the extra weight didn't help me keep up with the rest of the crew. Luckily, our friendly Cog Wild tour guides, Lev and Russ, took turns circling back to check on me. Their enthusiasm and encouragement sure helped me make it up the 8 mile climb to the top of Lookout Mountain. Wow! What an amazing view it was from up there. It was so worth the effort. We descended the nearly perfect, seemingly endless, single track down the mountain to the road. Followed by a short road ride back to the van where we shared a variety of delicious Deschutes beers. We headed back to the house looking forward to getting cleaned up and filling our stomachs.

After being out in the wilderness all day, there's nothing quite as refreshing as a nice hot shower followed up by a delicious dinner. The house seemed to have an endless supply of hot water allowing all seven of us to take showers when we returned. Andy and Drew prepared a delicious halibut enchilada dinner in the gourmet kitchen while Francis invited several of our friendly Cog Wild tour guides, along with their families, over for dinner that night. Before we knew it, we had a party going on! The house was filled with 25+ people. Since the house has such a nice spacious open floor plan, it easily accommodated all of us and made the spontaneous event a memorable evening.

Our amazing trip continued like this for the following 3 days. Cog Wild picked us up early every morning and showed us some of the most amazing trails Bend has to offer: The McKenzie River Trail, Whoops, Tiddlywinks, Larsen's Trail and the new Tyler's Traverse Trail, which is still under construction by the Central Oregon Trail Alliance. We explored restaurants and breweries that we probably wouldn't have found on our own if it weren't for the suggestions from our friends at Cog Wild - such as the Broken Top Bottle Shop, Crux Fermentation Project and the Riverside Market. All the while enjoying the comforts of home while staying at Alpenglow's NW Elgin Ave amazing vacation rental in West side Bend.

Alpenglow Vacation Rentals caters to the outdoor enthusiasts with their wide selection of beautiful homes in and around the Bend OR area. Whether you're in Bend to mountain bike, hike or snowboard, Alpenglow has a property that will fit your needs. With more than 20 rental homes available ranging in price from $135 - $300 a night, you're sure to find the perfect fit for your Bend adventure.

Alpenglow Contact Info:

Victoria Smith at: 541.385.7100 or toll free 1-877-437-5957

email [email protected]