Your adventure begins in Tumalo State Park, a sunny 330-acre chunk of heaven on the banks of the Deschutes River. As you warm up your legs and fill your lungs with the sweet smell of dew-fed sage and juniper, you’ll ride past Shevlin Park on quiet country roads on your way to the outdoor playland that is Bend, Oregon.
As you cruise through bike-friendly Bend you will undoubtedly notice a common theme–Bend loves beer. There are 21 (and counting) breweries in Bend proper and you can get a growler filled almost anywhere–including the car wash. If you ask nicely, they may make an exception and top off your water bottles for you.
Once you reach the southeastern part of town, you’ll start climbing the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway towards Mt. Bachelor. This being the first climb of the week, we kept it mellow so as not to scare anyone off. It’s a 5%-ish 10-mile ascent with the payoff being unbeatable views of Mt Bachelor. Most of the landscape on this stretch can be attributed to the masterful handiwork of ancient volcanos and glaciers.
Shortly before we reach Mt Bachelor, our route turns onto a Forest Service Road that provides a glorious 15 miles of downhill towards the resort community of Sunriver. Once in town, we follow S. Century Drive and Huntington Rd for another 14 miles of mostly flat cruising to the town of La Pine (French for The Pine) and the finish line of our first day’s ride.
Our home for the night will be the Home of the Hawks–La Pine High School. This bastion of academic excellence is surrounded by acres of green grass and is conveniently located just a few blocks away from a Bi-Mart, which would be a good place to pick up anything you may need for the ride that you didn’t bring (sunscreen, Tylenol, tools, spare socks, boxed wine, etc ) before we go farther off the grid. You need a membership card to get in, but a lifetime membership will only set you back $5.
Also, for the first time in Cycle Oregon history, we are taking advantage the hundreds of miles of tasty trails around Central Oregon and offering riders some gravel options. If you feel like getting a little gritty, just after leaving Bend you can hop on 12 miles of gravel road and rejoin the main route 5 miles before the summit of Century Drive aka Cascade Lakes Highway.
That’s it. That’s Day 1. Enjoy an evening of good music, new friends and some La Pine High Hawk hospitality as you get ready to do it all again tomorrow.