Every great mountain bike destination started with a group of passionate riders. Sure, you can ride mountain bikes anywhere on Earth and have a good time, but the must-visit places that we all dream about… they don’t just build themselves. It takes land access, lots of digging and a healthy amount of mountain bike culture.
Bend, Oregon, has all of these ingredients and is quickly becoming a top destination for trail riders and freeriders alike. Carson Storch was lucky to grow up in this mountain biking paradise and is one of the riders most actively building the scene.
“There has always been a prominent scene here and I feel like I grew up while the progressive side of the scene was growing,” said Storch. “The opportunity for bigger and better spots to ride has grown the past few years with guys like Cam McCaul, Dusty Wygle, and Kyle Jameson transplanting here. With the stuff we all have going on with film projects and events, the scene is really growing.”
In addition to steadily making a name for himself as one of the world’s top freeriders, Storch is also one of the key figures in bringing Black Sage Fest to the area. “I first went to the Oregon Dirt Park in late 2014. Since then I have been dreaming up ideas for film projects and events – working my way into being a part of the park in a bigger way,” said Storch. “I always knew a Fest course would work perfect out here, so when I got the opportunity, I invited KJ to take Cruz Fest into a new space, and together we created Black Sage.”
With this event’s second edition coming up in May, Graham Agassiz and Kurt Sorge took the opportunity to escape the deep winter of Kamloops, British Columbia to shred with Carson and ride all that the area has to offer. “Any chance I get to hang and ride with Aggy and Sorge is a good time,” said Storch. “I’m glad they got a preview of what we did with Black Sage for this year. I was also stoked to show them a couple of other zones near Bend.”
“Last time I was here was for Black Sage,” said Agassiz. “It’s a killer venue for the Fest series, but I didn’t get to explore any of the terrains that Carson has been raving about. This time we spent a full week exploring Carson’s favorite spots and he didn’t disappoint.”
“Winter has been great this season, but by April I was ready to get back on the bike,” said Sorge. “A little road trip to Oregon was just what I needed.”
Storch, along with the other core builders in the community, is building a world-class riding destination. The results of their efforts will be noticed by all the riders that make it to Black Sage. And the best thing about Bend is that you don’t have to be a pro freerider to shred the wide variety of trails and leave with a smile.
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Words by Dain Zaffke
Photos by Héctor Saura
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