On the first saturday in March a few of us decided to test our mettle. Although not the principal thought that proliferates from within our cerebral cortex when dreaming of mountain biking, we had the idea to enter a cross country race. Echo red to red, the largest mountain bike race in Oregon, has reputations of uninspired descents and grinding climbs. The course leverages a maximum length to square footage ratio with constant twist and countless switchbacks; all crammed just outside the almost ghost town of Echo.
Our races went well. Not at all did we inspire future generations of cycling prodigies with our physical prowess, but we finished. Well, I don’t think Ethan finished. His bike couldn’t handle his winter fitness. As I passed him with his bike upside down beside the trail he mentioned his “9 speed chain broke where it met his 10 speed chain” (he was riding a singlespeed). Jake decided to pause and wait for me at the aid station, surely looking for conversation in place of forested terrain. We completed the race almost together, at the back of the pack, with camaraderie at an all time high.
The town of Echo embraces the mountain bike race with all generations of spectators coming out to the biggest thing to happen to the town each year. It’s always great to ride someplace new even when it includes a three hour drive and less than technical trails.