1-Day Mountain Biking Trip: The McKenzie River Trail Revisited
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My friend’s dad, Leon Heyerly, texted me a week or so ago about joining him on a ride down the McKenzie River Trail. He said he was going with his brother-in-law, Eric Martin, and a guy from his church, John Moyer, the weekend of the 18th, and just thought he’d check to see if I was available. Of course I never turn down a mountain biking invitation, but this particular invitation was noteworthy because Leon is 58 and Eric 61, no spring chickens as far as mountain biking goes. And the McKenzie River Trail is no joke, with a lot of technical riding and dangerous ridges. After he texted me I knew I had to witness first-hand how this little adventure would pan out for these two. So Saturday morning we left Salem around 7:45am and arrived at the Clear Lake Trailhead close to 9:15am, which is the start of the ride.
It only took about a ½ mile to get to our first fork in the road, where I went one way and the other guys took a different route. My choice proved… challenging. I ended up doing some hike-a-bikes because the riding simply took more courage than I could muster. We met on the other side of the lake and carried on.
Rather than sharing all the details of the rest of our journey, I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking. You’ll see that Leon and Eric are true mountain biking warriors, especially when one considers that they are new to mountain biking, only having ridden a handful of times before this ride. They admitted retrospectively that they may have skipped a couple steps by riding the McKenzie River Trail this early in their mountain biking career, but they lived through the ordeal and even had smiles on their faces at the end. I’ve separated the pictures into some subsections rather than chronologically. I think it shows some of the major themes of our ride: crashes, trails, bridges, and water. Enjoy!
Crashes happened on this trip… a lot.
Sometimes the trails were flowy and smooth.
While other times, the trail was just plain nasty.
The McKenzie River Trail has lots of really cool bridges, and all of us chose different ways to wheel our bikes across.
There are a number of water falls, lakes, and streams along the McKenzie River Trail.
Overall, it was a great experience mountain biking with two guys that are about 60. While it took a little longer to get to the bottom, I felt lucky to get to be a part of the experience with them. Plus, after doing the McKenzie River Trail, every other trail in Oregon will be a piece of cake!