Kat Sweet Skills Clinic October 4th/5th 2014

Sweetlines Shred Session-Alsea Falls

Take your mountain slaying skills to the next level! This class is perfect for new and experienced mountain bikers interested in building confidence by turning fear into fun on the trail!

Date: October 4th & 5th

Saturday – co-ed

Sunday – ladies only

Time: 10am-4pm\

Location: Fall Creek Access road, Alsea, Oregon 97324, Across from Alsea fall campground

Cost: $115

Max: 12 students (1:6 ratio of coaches to students); 2 coaches each day

Ages: 16 and older

Levels: intermediate to advanced (must have a minimum of one year of riding experience)

Skills: body position, flowy berms, jumps, drops, line selection, and on-trail tech training

Prerequisite: must have a year of mountain bike experience and be ready to catch some air!

Registration Link: https://www.bikereg.com/sweetlines-shred-session-alsea-falls

Kat Sweet is a ICP Level 3 Coach from IMBA with 10 years of teaching experience.

A portion of proceeds are benefitting BLM trail system budget and Team Dirt chapter efforts on the trail.

Contact: Kat Sweet

kat@sweetlines.com

206-427-3090

“Ride Like You Can”

Check out Kat’s website here for more info regarding on bike coaching

Alsea Falls was mentioned in Bend Bulletin

We were mentioned in the Bend Bulletin a few days ago.  It’s good to see the news continue to spread.  It begins with a sort of back-handed compliment of the area, but is very complimentary overall:

ALSEA — The thing that struck me during a ride through Alsea Falls Trails System was how engineers had conjured something unique, maybe even beautiful, from an uninspiring canvas.

You can read the full article here. (a cached copy can be found here)

By Popular Demand – a second Women’s MTB Clinic

The first women’s clinic was so popular, Mary Halbleib is offering a second clinic!

One clinic over two days:: July 21 & 23 in Corvallis
Who: All women are welcome, emphasis on beginner to intermediate skills
Cost: $85 for two-day course (5 pm to 8 pm on Monday & Wednesday)
Contact: Mary at mtb4health@gmail.com or 541-757-6579
Join this all-women event and learn:
• How to ride switchbacks
• Navigate up & down roots
• Options for clearing obstacles
• The fine art of braking
• Technical climbing & descending
• Slow speed maneuvering

Read the flyer for full details.

The Register-Guard Loves Alsea Falls

The Register-Guard just posted a nice article on the trail opening at Alsea Falls.  It begins:

The thing that struck me during a recent ride through Alsea Falls Trails System was how engineers had conjured something unique, maybe even beautiful, from an uninspiring canvas.

The mountain-bike system southwest of Corvallis — which opened to the public June 22 — was created amid thin second-growth forest, without scenic vistas and among logging roads, deprived of even the waterfall that gives the area its name.

But the 6-mile network stands out through the artistry of specially designed “flow trails,” pathways that curve, weave and roll down the mountain with such natural fluidity it feels as though you’re following a river.

You can read it in its entirety here (cached copy here).

Summary of Economic Impacts of Mountain Biking (pinkbike)

Pinkbike wrote an article discussing a number of studies that looked at the economic impact of mountain biking.  It’s well worth the read if you are either curious or find yourself in situations discussing “why build trails…” The conclusion was:

So why is this important? As an advocate for mountain biking, I believe its good to know your material. And the material is generally favourable showing lots of positive facts; ie that mountain biking travel is growing & is a significant activity and that mountain biking tourism is a significant contributor to local economies. Perhaps that will help other mountain biking advocates increase support of the sport either among local governments or the business community. At the very least perhaps it will go further in dispelling stereotypes about people who mountain bike.

This article might also go some ways to explain why if you complain about those dorky tourism promo videos being so boringand why-oh-why are they featuring a bunch of old XC geeks then let me blunt; you’re not the target market. Statistically, either you don’t travel because you’re dead broke or when you travel you go super-budget (top ramen, camping in Walmarts, panhandling tubes at the trailhead). Bottom line is that the 30 – 45 crowd travels, they’re mostly male, they’re relatively well off, don’t mind spending a bit of money, spend a fair amount of time on bike and like to pedal. Indeed what data exists shows that the age of mountain bike travellers has gone up over the past decade. One can reasonably conclude that this has happened because sport has become more popular among older people or that the 27 year olds of 1997 are now the 43 year olds of 2013 and still travelling to ride. Having said that the average age of visitors to the most popular destinations (Whistler and Moab being by far the destination attracting the most visitors) is noticeably younger. 

The common thread among the various destinations surveyed is that there is an EIA and therefore, some data about the economic impacts of biking for these destinations/areas. Another commonality is that these areas have healthy trail systems, a strong local community and a strong local bike culture steeped in trail building and advocacy volunteerism. Tourists don’t come to places unless these unquantifiable things exist; that healthy local scene, trail system and culture is basically a prerequisite. Unfortunately, for the most part, governments take the volunteer effort for granted. It is hoped that this article will show that some (any) investment in supporting local trail groups will return dividends not just in quality of life for a local community but also in terms of hard economic impacts.

In conclusion, mountain biking has dramatic positive economic impacts; even a simple cursory glance of the EIA’s show that. It’s my experience that a thriving local scene with good trails and outstanding local community doesn’t just add quality-of-life for locals but also tends to attract visitors from elsewhere (Smithers, Burns Lake anyone?). Outside visitors can be the icing on the cake for a strong local mountain biking community, bringing in outside money, bringing in new (hopefully good) ideas and reminding locals that, yes — they do have it good.

Read the whole thing here.

Wheels and Water reviews Alsea Falls

Nate Dogg, a friend of some on the team, wrote a great blog post on his experience at the grand opening of Alsea Falls.  It has been re-published here with his permission (we liked it that much).


Oregon certainly has a lot of mountain biking areas to choose from, and you can now add another high quality series of trails to the list – Alsea Falls! I first heard about this area during its early stages, from one of my good buddies and key figures in its development, Eric Emerson. Eric, along with the rest of the Alsea Falls Trail Builders (Team Dirt – IMBA chapter) were hard at work establishing the first phase – currently, 6 miles of trail (of a planned 20+). Although there were a few existing mixed-use trails that would be revitalized, they were mostly working from scratch, drawing on their previous trail building experience and vision to guide them. The work started in late 2013 ( in coordination with the BLM), and between then and now there have been many trail build days, all of which I unfortunately missed. For the record, I blame my absence on one of my other great passions, whitewater kayaking, which was in prime season. 


Fast forward a few months, when I received a Facebook invite from Eric to attend the opening day for the Alsea Falls MTB trail system (phase 1). The event would have shuttle support as well as food and Team Dirt merchandise for sale, with the proceeds from this fundraiser going right back into trail building/advocacy! Feeling a little guilty about not getting my hands dirty building trails, I paid for my shuttle pass (which was a bargain) and volunteered my photography services for the event. With the opening day scheduled for June 22nd, a Sunday, I decided to get in a road ride at Crater Lake on Saturday, which was also having an event – a vehicle free day on East Rim Drive! If you own a bike and are in the area during this event, drop everything and do it, you won’t be disappointed. Here is a trip report I did from the vehicle free day in 2013.


Still a little tired from my Crater Lake road ride, I didn’t get as early of a start as I would have liked, so I wouldn’t be catching the first shuttle ride of the day. By the time I got to Alsea Falls (about an hour drive from Eugene) it was around 10:30am, and by the time I was ready to ride it was nearly 11am. At the check-in table I was greeted by Amanda, Eric’s fiancée, who is also a friend of mine. After signing the waiver and putting on my name tag, I found Eric and gave him a big bro-hug, before loading up in the back of the box truck, which would be taking me and my bike to the top of the hill. After we had stuffed 15 to 20 of us in the back, the driver fired up the engine and we rolled out. Luckily the road is paved so it wasn’t too unpleasant, even with the few bumps along the way. As we made our way up the hill, I studied the trail map that I had grabbed from the check-in table. At this point in the trail area’s life, it appeared that we would have two main avenues to get back down to the bottom; 1) “High Baller” into “Springboard”, or 2) “Bailout” into “Dutchman”. Since the former was the new / mountain bike specific trails, I wanted to hit those first!

One by one we unloaded from the back of the truck and made any final adjustments before dropping into High Baller. Since I was planning to take photos, I tried to jump out ahead and set up before the others came through. I had brought plenty of lenses to play with and the weight in my pack certainly reflected that. The first part of the trail was quite narrow with lots of twists and turns, and even a few roots to deal with. Before long I pulled over at what I thought would be a good spot and broke out the camera gear. By the time I was setup most of the riders had ridden past, but I did get a few of the riders near the back, which included a tandem — how cool is that?! 


A typical root crossing near the start of High Baller

 

Givin’ chase

 

Jim Collins on the top part of High Baller

 

Jon Robson settles into a groove

 

Tandem!


After everyone had cruised by, I loaded back up and headed down the trail, which continued its narrow/techie character for a bit. Eventually the trail widened and entered a flowy section, complete with high banked turns to rail around. Of course I had to stop at a few of these to set up for more photos, and luckily I had some time before the next truckload of riders started coming down. Knowing that it would be a little bit, I decided to try some off-camera flash, which I had never done before, at least for action photography. Although flash only adds a fourth element to exposure (the others being shutter speed, aperture, and ISO), it adds a great deal more of control and complexity — getting your light’s location and intensity dialed in is a real challenge but can also make for some amazing shots!
  
Just about the time I had my light & camera set, and taken a couple of test shots, I heard the next pack of bikers off in the distance and headed towards me. As they came through, I fired off a shot for each rider, since the flash really doesn’t allow you to shoot in burst mode. I actually spent more than an hour in this section of the trail, trying different lighting setups (i.e. angle, location, exposure, flash power), which gave me many photos that were pretty bad but also some that I rather liked. Here are a few of the better ones from the bermed section of upper High Baller.


In the middle of the berm section of upper High Baller

 

Lovin’ the burms

 

Terry Tiessen gets high on the turn

 

Another rider, another shot

 

Finishing up the turn

 

Jon Gustavson leans into it

 

Tim Maddux on yet another banked turn

 

Michelle Emmons and Shawn Litson, enjoying the flow on Upper High Baller


After spending more than enough time on upper High Baller, I once again packed everything up and headed down the trail to find another good spot. Not far below the trail dropped onto a road, before immediately heading into lower High Baller. The lower section continues the flow while also kicking it up a notch, offering more banked turns, some high speed sections, and some nice kickers to get some air, if you so choose. Even though there is potential to ‘go big’, it’s certainly not mandatory — this is what makes this trail so cool, it can be enjoyed by just about anyone with a dirt friendly bike. While taking photos in this section I saw folks of all ages and abilities, and the two were not necessarily linked; in fact a couple of the younger kids were really throwin’ it out there! One thing that was universal was that everyone seemed to be having an amazing time and really enjoying the trail.


A youngster going big!

 

Followed by another. “Hey, what are you lookin’ at?!”

 

Another rider on lower High Baller

 

A great trail for everyone!

 

Diggin’ into one of the great turns on lower High Baller

 

Finishing the turn with speed

 

One of the faster sections on High Baller

 

Look, more berms


All too soon, lower High Baller ended at a road crossing, but the fun did not, as “Springboard” started immediately on the other side. Although it is only rated as a green (High Baller is rated as a blue), it was still thoroughly entertaining. Basically it felt like one long pump-track, with a few tight switchbacks thrown in for good measure. There are also some nice straight shots to speed through, but be careful, because at least one of the turns can really sneak up on you. I must say, I was really impressed with how well this trail pumped, and once you got into a rhythm, you could build up some nice speed without pedaling and rarely braking — now that’s flow! The way this trail is routed also gives you an impressive length of downhill, for a fairly minimal amount of elevation loss. This really gives you some bang for your buck, especially when you don’t have shuttle assistance. Another thing to note about this trail is that although it’s mainly downhill, there is a mild amount of climbing and even the pumping can tire you out a bit; all in all it makes for a pretty good workout. Eventually, Springboard intersected with another trail (Dutchman), where the gradient tapered off and the trails led back to the bottom trailhead. There were still some fun bits in there, but nothing like the stuff above. 


Somewhere on Springboard

 

Watch out for this turn

 

Exiting the turn

 

Larry Desaulniers finds some sun

 

Trevor Griesmeyer in a speed section



A great pump section on Springboard

 

In the zone

 

More great terrain

 

Michelle Kinser finds some flow

 

One of the young guns gets ready for some jumps

 

Gettin’ a boost

 

Finishing up a fun series of jumps


Now back at the bottom, I went up to my car to eat lunch, before heading back up in the shuttle truck for another round. This time I didn’t take as many photos and spent more time just enjoying the trail. On my third time down the mountain, I decided to ride upper High Baller and then head south to take Bailout and Dutchman down. It is my understanding that in the future both of these trails will be designated as climbing only, which from what I saw would make a lot of sense. They certainly aren’t flow trails and are more similar to the type of riding you would find in Oakridge — hiking trails that are used by mountain bikers and other users, as opposed to MTB specific trails. That said, they’re still super fun, just more of an XC style affair. Since I was trying to get down to the bottom before the last shuttle left, I didn’t get any photos of these trails. Although, since I didn’t see anyone else on them, the photos would have been pretty boring anyways. For the record, I didn’t make it to the bottom in time to catch the shuttle… =(


After hanging out at the bottom parking area for a bit, I biked the short distance up the road to my car, where I changed back into my street clothes and loaded up my bike before leaving. I did make one more stop at Alsea Falls before heading back to Eugene, since I had never seen it before. Of course I’m always looking at creeks and waterfalls through the lens of a kayaker — Unfortunately, some wood buildup near the bottom of the falls has rendered it unrunnable, at least for more reserved boaters like myself. 


Conclusion:
If you read the above, it will come as no surprise that I really loved the new Alsea Falls trail system, even if it is a bit limited for the time being. I think that Team Dirt did a fantastic job both designing and building trails that are/will be enjoyable to riders of all skill levels, which was especially important to do for the first phase. The flow of both lower High Roller and all of Springboard are probably the best I’ve ever experienced — this includes all of my riding in BC, as well as nearby Blackrock. Speaking of Blackrock, it would be hard not to compare these trails to Bonsai Downhill, its flagship flow trail. Probably the most notable difference between the two is that the trails at Alsea are formed entirely from dirt; in other words, you won’t find any wood stunts/sections on these trails. Another nice feature is that the trailheads are very well marked, with signage at every trailhead, and a few boards with an easy to read trail map (.pdf can be found here).


Typical trail signage


A huge shout out to Team Dirt, the BLM, and any other volunteers/donors that helped make this new ride area possible. The first phase is amazing, and based on turnout/feedback from opening day, it’s going to be very popular. I’m already looking forward to my next visit to the area and can’t wait to get Emily and other friends out there to experience it for themselves. I’m also excited about the next phase, which is already being planned; maybe this time I’ll actually go out and get my hands dirty to help make it happen!

 

 

KVAL visits Alsea Falls for the grand opening.

KVAL visited Alsea Falls for the grand opening yesterday and wrote up a story that begins with:

ALSEA, Ore. — Bureau of Land Management field manager Rich Hatfield oversees miles of forests near Alsea that makes up a patchwork of previously logged land.

“It was the mountain bikers that stood up and said, ‘Hey, we really think we could revitalize the trail system’, and I put something in place that people want to use and will use,” Hatfield said.

A rider himself, Hatfield worked with the Corvallis-based group Team Dirt to build the Alsea Falls Trail System. After countless volunteer hours, the team made a system of trails they see as a destination for mountain bikers.

You can read the full story here.  (a cached copy can be found here).

They also made a nice photo gallery, one of the photos being:

Thanks to the 89 people (+volunteers) who showed up to experience the trails and celebrate the opening.  That kind of support ensures we will be able to continue the trail development at Alsea Falls.

Statesman Journal discusses MTB and tourism

There’s another article by the Statesman Journal, discussing a number of the areas for “flow” mountain biking available in Oregon, and how this is benefiting tourism.   It begins by highlighting the opening of the Alsea Falls trail system (woo-hoo!).

It begins:

Oregon’s newest system of mountain bike trails is set to open this weekend southwest of Corvallis, and perhaps as much as anything, the inauguration demonstrates how far the sport has come.

Alsea Falls Trails System showcases six new miles trail — with 10 to 12 miles planned — including stretches of specially designed “flow trails” that allow riders to swoop, drop and jump down the mountain in an experience best described as a roller coaster in the forest.

Read the entire article.

(a saved copy of the article can be found here)

Alsea Falls Opening Mentioned in Corvallis Gazette Times

The  GT has a nice article about the grand opening, it begins:

Mountain bikers have a new place to play in the mid-valley.

This Sunday, the Bureau of Land Management will unveil nearly six miles of new or rebuilt trails at the Alsea Falls Recreation Site in south Benton County, including the area’s first purpose-built mountain bike runs.

Read the entire thing here.

(a saved copy can be found here)