Flash forward 10 years and wouldn't you know it I live in Bend and was doing the same ride, only now it is called Bend's Big Fat Tour (BBFT) and you get to choose between 2 or 3 days of riding. The "Epic" is the 3-day and the 2-day is called the "Recreational". I chose to ride the Epic since two of the days' rides were on trails I have never ridden before, and the fact that I like to ride my bike as much as possible. The BBFT is not just a ride around Mt Bachelor anymore either, the routes change each year and this year we went to the Ochoco National Forrest, Mt. Bachelor, and Scout Lake. There were roughly 75 riders testing their abilities to do the 3 day epic ride. People from all over came to Bend, OR to extend their mountain bike season a little longer.
This year the event organizers decided to put a clue on each of the summits we climbed and offered up a prize to the person who's name was drawn from all that got the corret answer to the question. Some of the clues required an extra bit of climbing just to get to.
I would have to say riding in the Ochoco's was probably my favorite of the three days. It was a 34 mile epic ride that would have us climbing almost 6,000ft. The weather was perfect (high 50's) and scenery amazing. During one section of singletrack climbing it felt like climbing up L' Alp d' Huez. Between the steepness and numerous switchbacks it was the mountain bike version of the infamous French climb. When there is a lot of climbing, that can only mean one thing...that there will also be lots of descending. The final 8 miles or so were pure bliss; fast, smooth-flowing singletrack that popped out right by the parking lot.
views form a top Vista Butte on Day 2
This route was similar to the one I did 10 years ago but the total distance this year was 70 miles (instead of 60) and we actually rode some freshly built trails. Again the theme for the ride was "climbing". I'm not sure of the total amount of feet climbed but it seemed like a ton (and all on singletrack :-). The ride started around 7:30am and I finished about 1:40pm. There were about 4-5 Aid Stations fully stocked with food and drinks and each were definitely appreciated. The most tasty bit of food were the chocolate chip brownies, I'm not sure how many of those I ate.
A rider relaxing by Scout Lake before the start of Day 3Day 3
The final day of the Epic had us riding out by Scout Lake. This was another area of trails I have never ridden so I was anxiously looking forward to it. The ride started at 11am and temps seeemed warmer than everyone thought. Lots of vests, jackets, arm/knee warmers were getting taken off quickly after the initial climb. I'm not sure how the first section of singletrack was discovered because I could hardly even see the trail. It took some serious focus to keep track of the trail. After several miles riding singletrack and a broken chain, we hit the fire road climb to the summit of Cache Mountain. The climb was a gradual 5-6 miles and rocky at times. Once we reached the top the views were amazing. Crystal clear skies allowed riders to soak in some of Central Oregon's best views (The Sisters, Three Fingered Jack, and Mt Washington).
The only thing left now was to descent 5 miles to the parking lot. It was a pretty sweet way to end a great three days of riding.
Once again I had a blast riding the BBFT and would highly recommend this to anyone looking to check out the town of Bend and sample some of the best trails in Central Oregon with lots of support along the way. Just be prepared, the weather in Bend this time of year can be unpredictable, so come prepared for the worst and hope for the best...as we experienced this year.