IMG_3772  There is nothing that describes a good time like hanging out with your buddies around a campfire roasting weenies and smores. Chatting about the way you bombed into that slick berm, and railing it like a moto rig with a two wheel drift.. or the way you didn’t quite hit the drop with enough speed which resulted in bars to your chest and a face full of dirt at least in my case..

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Traveling out to Bend, Oregon has become a winter & spring weekend destination for us. The dirt soaks up so much moisture that by the time the rain hits the ground, to railing berms, the dirt is pristine. Soft but not too soft, tacky but not enough to cling onto your tire, and loose where you want it to be.

We started out Saturday morning, after a hot roast of campfire coffee, some eggs and sausage we made the ascend up Storm King in the Deschutes National Forest. The dirt was so perfect calling it “Hero Dirt “ wouldn’t have done it injustice. From Storm King we worked over to Funner and no wonder why they call it that. It was flowy, technical and had some pretty good rock drops. One that I decided to go a bit front heavy on and dropped myself onto the forgiving dirt. Mouth & eyes full of dirt and with a couple of bruises later I was still begging for more descent down this trail.

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Ariel climbing up the trail

After some well deserved lunch and refreshments we met up at the top of Wanoga snow park lot and headed up Tiddlywinks. We worked through patches of snow, ice and down trees at first then rounded off to the top of the trail leaving the beautiful sights of Mt. Bachelor behind us. Through the trees and around rocks and logs we made it to the best part of the trail, the descend part (in my opinion).

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Nick Piazza going after some berms!

From berm to jump to berm again we all felt like we were flying like bats out of hell down the hill. Rye first, Nick second, me third and Ariel brought in the rear. She just got her new Kona Process and this was its first ride! The confidence of a bike set up right for her showed as she attacked these berms. She had her elbows up, race face on and was going for some jumps. I yelled to the boys this girl needs a DH BIKE! And quick! She had her first good crash on one of the jumps, but her attitude of shrugging it off and getting back into the saddle inspired me. She was on the attack for the rest of the day; it helped me get into the zone as well, chasing the boys down the mountain.

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Rye hitting some jumps.

A few times I thought I might die as the rear wheel let loose in some of the flatter corners but holding onto it and diving into the next switch back made me feel so good I had to yell WooHoo! You could hear it like an echo in the front and back of the trail. All of us howling in the wind as we shred out of the forest and back onto the road to get the car. High fiving, and laughing to the verge of tears, this is why I love mountain biking.

Although I love to race, weekends like these remind me of how important it is to whom you surround yourself with. I have so much gratitude for the friends I have made while doing this sport and how many opportunities have opened up to me by sharing these experiences with like-minded souls. I am humbled by the forests and my heart longs to be back there.

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From right to left: Ariel, Nick, Rye and Me (Kerstin)

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