Friday, June 1, 2012
An opportunity to ride
Right now cyclists in central Oregon have a special opportunity. There is a time each year when McKenzie pass is plowed following it's winter closure, but not yet open to vehicle traffic. That provides the perfect window for a cyclist to ride a narrow, winding, scenic alpine pass free of the worries of car traffic. One can start anywhere west of Sisters on 242 and climb about 1500-2000ft to Dee Wright Observatory at the summit. The summit plateau winds through the lava for a few miles offering good views of north and middle sister. Then the descent to the west starts. Watch out for snowmelt, cinder, debris, the gates, and other cyclists as you descend. It's gradual for a few miles but gets steep and windy eventually. When you've gone as far as you like, turn around and climb back over! I was fortunate to have a decided tailwind on the return climb yesterday. A super cyclist can make a big loop back to Sisters over Santiam Pass. Sounds like we've got a week or two before the pass is fully open. It is definitely still rideable then, but not quite the same.