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Singletrack Report: McKenzie River Trail

May 30th, 2012

Much of the trail runs next to the rushing river, creating a unique juxtapostion between the water and dirt.

The McKenzie River Trail (the MRT) is situated in Central Oregon, on the west side of the Cascades. This mountain range, predominantly made up of dormant and not-so-dormant volcanoes, does an efficient job of stopping the moisture from the Pacific Coast. On the west side you have temperate rainforests and old growth timber, and a stones throw to the east you are exploring an arid desert-like landscape. The MRT, being on the west side of the volcanoes, features towering Douglas fir, mossy forest floors, a raging river (complete with big waterfalls) and a cool climate. Apparently it rains frequently, but it was nice and dry for our visit down this renowned trail.

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adventure, Osprey Athletes, The Cycling Buzz, Travel , , , , , , , , ,

Swiss Chalet: Eight Days of the Finest Swiss and French Downhill Mountain Bike Gems

May 22nd, 2012

Head buzzing from wine, stomach full of cheese, meat and bread, I careened haphazardly down the mountain, the Rhone Valley far below and a group of howling bike riders in the exact same boat as I following closely behind.

We were mid-way through an eight-day sampling of some of the finest Swiss and French downhill mountain bike gems. Some days took us to established bike parks, and other days to obscure trails hidden to the general public, and only discovered through a combination of bribing locals, studying maps and some good ‘ol fashioned luck.

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Trail Opening Celebrations in British Columbia

May 2nd, 2012

No better cause for celebration than some fresh mountain bike trail!

With the arrival of spring comes the introduction of new trails, poking up out of the melting snow like so many April flowers. They may have been lovingly crafted over the previous summer, granting a lucky few passage before the winter took hold, or they are a result of a trail builder’s many dark, wet, cold days digging and sculpting while others are riding powder on the higher reaches of the mountains (myself included).

Regardless of when they were built, these fresh nuggets of mountain biking pleasure reveal themselves to us in the spring, bringing exciting new experiences to share with our friends. New climbs to conquer, gaps to clear, or technical DH lines to master, these handcrafted pieces of dirt artistry hold in them the potential for another season’s worth of adventure, fun and challenge.

Nowhere is this celebrated more than at a trail opening. I grew up in Nelson, a town where these events were revered, looked forward to. The trail builder was not asked about certain nuances of their work in progress, but rather the details of the celebration that would take place once the trail was complete.

The openings would be a raucous affair, including all the characters that made my home what it was. More frat party than group ride, entire crowds would gather around key features on the new trail, cheering on the local legends and heckling others that timidly approached the line. Riders, spurred on by the crowd, took their risk taking to a whole other level, greeted by loud cheers upon success, and catcalls and laughter with failure. This would continue all the way down the trail, adding an element of spectator sport to the ride.

At the trail end, the rowdy group would then spill out onto the beach, or backyard, or backroad and the real trail opening celebrations would commence. My few friends and I were youngsters amongst this motley group of mountain freaks, and we would watch from the fringes, content with the ride we just had the chance to share with this crew. Eventually we would pull ourselves away, resigned to a curfew imposed by parents, riding away from the crackling bonfire, skunky clouds of smoke, and laughing voices recalling trails of the past, and talk of ones in the future.

I was happy to see that the trail opening tradition is being revived here on the Coast, perhaps in a slightly more commercial fashion, but managing to keep the raw excitement and spirit of a new trail launch party. Ted Tempany in Squamish is dropping the ropes on his new masterpiece, Full Nelson, on May 5th. With support from the Province of BC, SORCA, Anthill Films and Red Bull, Ted and others toiled over this berm and jump-filled snake run all winter, and are launching it to the public this coming weekend. The Red Bull-sponsored party is an all-ages celebration, unlike the trail openers of my youth. Lawlessness aside, the spirit is still there: a party to commemorate the hard work of some dedicated and visionary trailbuilders, and a chance to have some fun with your buddies on a brand new mountain bike trail.

Osprey Athletes, The Cycling Buzz , , , , , , , , , , ,

Lane Love: Vancouver, BC

December 5th, 2011

Osprey Bike athlete Joe Schwartz posted this photo from his morning ride on Twitter last week: “Fresh asphalt #lanelove this morning. New bike lane in Vancouver.”

Happy Monday riding to you!

Have a lane that you love? Send us a photo! You can post it to our Facebook page, shoot us an email at blog[at]ospreypacks[dot]com or upload to our Flickr group and we might just feature it here on our weekly photo feature, Lane Love.

Lane Love, photos ,

Protected Singletrack in Jasper National Park

October 19th, 2011

Some mountain bike meccas have their “mecca” designation handed to them with ease. All of the elements are there for them: the ideal topography, a dedicated bunch of locals with a vision, and the freedom to ride in the aforementioned hills.
Jasper mountain bikers have never had it easy. The town is situated in the middle of a national park, which presents many obstacles on the road to becoming a mountain bike destination. Parks Canada, which was formed exactly 100 years ago in 1911, has never held mountain bikes in high esteem, shutting them out completely from vast areas of national park land. Jasper, however, is a living, breathing anomaly in the Parks world, with mountain bikers slowly carving out a niche for themselves in the middle of the Canadian Rockies.

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The Unsung Heroes of the BC Bike Race

July 26th, 2011

A race, in its most basic form, breeds heroes. These heroes usually take the form of the champions, the athletes that rise above to conquer his or her field, besting all contenders.

The demanding format of the BC Bike Race allows for new heroes to emerge. These are the folks that may not be the fastest of the day (heck, some of the heroes end up being some of the slowest riders out there). But these unsung heroes are the ones grinding and toiling out on the course, leaving behind their day jobs and lives back home to focus on one thing and one thing only: getting across that finish line each day of the race.

There are people like Dave, who spent the whole first night in Cumberland overcome with a vicious flu. The night was passed curled up in a dirty bathroom, alternating between bouts of vomiting and fitful sleep. He crawled to the start line in the morning, and fought through the day. The next day his flu subsided and he kept going strong on course.

Speaking of overcoming challenges, there was the couple from Austin that was looking forward to a week of racing without their kids in tow. Their nanny fell through at the last minute, and undeterred they changed their race entry to tag-team, brought their kids, alternated days of racing and had a great BC Bike Race family vacation. Not Disneyland, but the kids didn’t seem to mind.

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adventure, Osprey Athletes , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Homecoming

June 30th, 2011

Jason Remple looking out over Kootenay Lake

There is a certain comfort with the trappings of home. The familiar nooks and crannies of a house that one has grown up in, the hiding places, the comfort that is bred through this familiarity. The trails I grew up on evoke similar feelings. My travels take me all over the world, but my roots run deep into the dark forest loam of the Kootenays, my first home. I recently visited my hometown of Nelson for a few days, and managed to get out for a few mountain bike rides.

More than just the trails themselves, the feeling of re-immersing myself in an environment that nurtured me from a young age was a comfort in itself. The stoic and silent mountains that I grew up in seemed to welcome me as I climbed up the logging road towards the first Kootenay trail of my return. Even the scents of the forest seemed familiar, reminding me of my youthful adventures on the very same mountain.

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Lane Love: Yarn Bombing Vancouver Bike Lanes

June 20th, 2011

Colourful bike racks in downtown Vancouver

You learn new things all the time, and today was no exception. Did you know it was International Yarn Bombing Day a couple of weekends ago? This occasion was put to good use in Vancouver where the bike racks along one lane were beautified with yarn.

Have a lane that you love? Send us a photo! You can post it to our Facebook page, shoot us an email at blog[at]ospreypacks[dot]com or upload to our Flickr group and we might just feature it here on our weekly photo feature, Lane Love.

Lane Love , , , , , ,

Shiny Toys

May 31st, 2011

Downhill glory.

Everyone knows the feeling of getting something shiny and new. It could have been your last birthday, or Christmas, or maybe a little treat to yourself after a momentous occasion, like finishing school.

I just bought a brand-new iPhone. I baby that thing like it is made of glass. I make sure the face is clean or that it is not getting stored with any sharp objects on my ride to work. I even put it in a little cloth bag on mountain bike rides to preserve its shiny, almost-new sheen. Some might say I go out of my way to do so.

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Best Day Ever?

May 5th, 2011

What constitutes a great day?

Is it the people you spend it with, or the activities that conspire on that “ultimate day?” Or is perfection attained through carefully laid plans or fortuitous timing and good ol’ luck? The best day ever is the holy grail that we all search for; that little thing that gets you out of bed, wondering if the sun is rising on your best day ever.

But I don’t claim best days. There are too many things I enjoy in life to fit them all into one day. I would rather spread them out over a series of days, weeks, years. Best life ever, maybe.

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