Monday, November 28, 2011

Sedona Mountain Biking

"Things are gonna change, I can feel it." Was Beck talking about Sedona? Probably not, but things ARE changing in Sedona and we like what we're seeing down in that thar red rock country.

Before "we" go any further let's change it to "I", Matt the Janitor-in-Chief of Hermosa Tours. I'm making this distinction because I'm excited about Sedona as a mountain biker first. I also want to be very careful as some of the things happening are certainly on the fringe of legal trail building and I don't want anyone (namely the Forest Service) to get the wrong idea that Hermosa Tours is condoning or participating - so let's call this a friendly PSA between me and you. :)

OK, so disclaimer noted. The Sedona mountain biking scene is going OFF! I've always considered Sedona an "OK" mountain biking destination, but slowly over the last 5 or so years I've heard whispers of an entire system of user-built trails taking shape. I like that term, "User-Built". I had a chance to talk to one of the famous builders while I was in Sedona and he used this term. Interesting twist! Anyway, there are probably more user-built mountain bike trails in Sedona than there are Forest Service system trails. The great part? They're really really well built and designed. The best part? It appears the Forest Service agrees and they have slowly been adopting many of these user-built trails.

This doesn't happen very often. More often we hear of trails being closed for Wilderness, closed to perceived user conflicts or closed to development or resource extraction. But not here - it seems the trail system is growing by leaps and bounds and what still hasn't been brought into the system isn't being patrolled by snipers with infrared goggles. Generally it's casual.

The other thing I noted about the Sedona mountain bike trail system is the connectivity. I think it's potentially a great model for how a trail system should be designed. You can ride for hours and hours, right out of and next to town, and barely touch pavement. It's JUST SO COOL!

So as a mountain biker let me say - make a plan to get to Sedona for a riding vacation this year. Patronize the local shops and they'll be more than happy to help you find the user-built system and the recently-adopted system trails. You'll be glad you made the effort!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Self-Guided Mountain Bike Tours

We just might be on to something. This year Hermosa Tours launched our self-guided mountain bike tours and the turnout and response has been spectacular. It is our belief that the majority of serious mountain bikers are a "do-it-yourself" species, so why not create a product to match?

142 miles of remote singletrack, doubletrack, jeep road and forest service road between Fruita and Moab. Hanging views of the Colorado River, steep sandstone canyons and the distant backdrop of the La Sal Mountains. Season: April, May, September, October

We'd challenge you to show us 75 miles of high alpine singletrack that compare to this segment of the Colorado Trail. Soaring peaks, shoulder-high wildflowers and roaring creeks punctuate the landscape. Make sure this is on your bucket list. Season: July, August, September.

Arizona Trail: Self-Guided (coming soon)

Every year the Arizona Trail gets more singletrack and more connected. We're putting the finishing touches on a 110-mile route in the southern part of Arizona for Spring 2012. We don't want to give away too much, but get ready for one of the newest landmark rides every mountain biker must do! Season: Late February, March, April, November

(Photo courtesy of

Monday, June 6, 2011

Hermosa Tours NW Sponsors Hood River Super-D

Hermosa Tours NW is a proud sponsor of the the Oregon Super-D Series for the 2011 season. We're providing shuttle support for the races, held once a month through September across the region. Last weekend's 3rd Annual Hood River Super-D kicked off the series, and set the bar high! It was a super fun event, with well over 200 racers showing up to ride one of the steepest and fun Super-D courses in the country, serving up 3,000' of vertical drop in 7 miles, and 400' of climbing. Riders came from all over the West, and as far away as France.
Post Canyon Shuttle, in action!
The course was muddy due to heavy rain the last half of the week prior to the race, but partly cloudy skies and a good Gorge wind dried out the trails in no time, creating the dreamy conditions we locals wait for all year long. It was a perfect day of racing on Sunday afternoon.

Sweet and Tacky! Photo Credit, Ki Kopkau

See more photos from the race on Vital MTB.

Practice day shuttles. Photo by Mike Estes, taken from our shuttle van.
This year's expanded race venue included camping and a shuttle staging/parking area adjacent to the finish line. A special thanks to the property owner for offering such a convenience! It helped reduce traffic congestion along Post Canyon Drive, and made loading shuttle vans much easier. Plus, it was a really fun place to hang out in between shuttles.
Loading one of three vans providing shuttle support for the Dirty Fingers Post and Pint pre-race practice run.
Hermosa Tours NW Guides Jessica Robinson and myself were two of 41 (Yeah ladies!!) women to compete on Sunday. We both finished strong in separate combined Cat. 1/2 classes, and I have to say, we're doing a proper job of carrying on the Durango Hermosa Tours tradition of riding in costume for the race. The Hermosa Hotties represented, no doubt about it!

Pre-race Hotties. (We're looking for other sponsors...!)
Check out the race results here. The next race is scheduled for July 3 in Bend, Oregon, so start training! The word on the streets is that this course is more pedal-ly, but far less technical than Post, and for us lowlanders, is at 'altitude' at 5,500'ASL.

Next weekend, June 10-11, we'll also be providing shuttle support for the Dog River Enduro, part of the Northwest Cup race series (formerly the Fluidride Cup), sponsored by Dirty Fingers Bicycle Repair in Hood River, Mt. Hood Skibowl, Hurricane Racing, and others. We're stoked to be part of the local race scene to promote mountain biking in our community!

Lindsey Voreis ripping it to take third in the Women's Pro Class. Photo Credit Ki Kopkau.
The Hermosa Tours NW Post Canyon Shuttle runs every weekend from 10 am to 6:00 pm, and on-call on weekdays. A minimum of 4 riders or $60 sends the van. Save gas and time, and ride the shuttle to the top for just $15 per rider, or buy-2-get-1-free, same day use. We donate $2 from every shuttle rider, every run, to local trail advocacy efforts, including ongoing work in Post Canyon, and the movement to Save the Syncline in Bingen, Washington, where closures of some of our favorite trails are imminent.

To learn more about Hermosa Tours NW and the Post Canyon Shuttle, visit our website.

Ready to Roll!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Suite Shuttle Packages!

Classic Post Canyon!
While patiently waiting for spring to show up here in the Pacific Northwest, we've been busy putting together some pretty amazing tour and shuttle packages based in Hood River. We're taking advantage of our proximity to the Post Canyon playground, and partnering with one of the most scenic (and affordable!) accommodations providers in the Gorge, the Vagabond Lodge, to offer weekend sleep n' shred packages this season.

Mike Estes, dedicated Post Canyon aficionado and trail builder, and skilled mountain biker, is the caretaker at the Vagabond Lodge. When not booking rooms and taking care of guests, Mike can be found building trails, stunts, pump tracks and other fun elements in Post Canyon, and competing in Downhill mountain bike races. We are excited to team up with Estes to put together some pretty amazing packages for riders who want to visit Post Canyon but don't want to bother with multiple vehicles to get their laps in on all the sweet terrain the place has to offer.

View from the Vagabond
Spending the night or weekend in the Gorge is the perfect way to explore Post and all of the other classic trails in the area. These Suite Shuttle packages make it affordable for all riders to visit Hood River, and ride till their heart's content. Here is a sampling of what some of our packages are going to look like for the 2011 season:
  • Six people, one room -- starting at $49 per night -- $58 for a suite.
  • Six people, two rooms -- starting at $61 per night -- $77 for two suites.
  • Six people, three rooms -- starting at $71 per night.
Prices are per person and include two shuttle rides to the top of Post Canyon, provided by Hermosa Tours.

Options for view and non-view room, larger rooms and suites are available and priced accordingly. Prices are approximate based on nominal options. You'll want to plan and make your reservation early because the Vagabond can fill up fast!

Just when you thought a mountain biking weekend in Hood River couldn't get any better, you'll be psyched to know about the White Buffalo Wine Bar and Bistro. Because it's located just steps away from the Vagabond, you can stumble in from a long day of riding, cool off with a cold one or sample any number of Gorge and other wines from around the world, and fill up on delicious food-- all without having to drive anywhere!

Food, Drink, and Fun at the White Buffalo!
For more information, and to book, please contact the Vagabond Lodge. Learn more about Post Canyon on Mike's blog.

Let the sun shine and the shredding begin!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Mountain Bike Imagery

I've been thinking lately about the effect mountain bike imagery has on the public image of the sport. Someone recently sparked this thought in reference to the movie "Life Cycles" and how much they enjoyed it. I thought it was pretty entertaining, but somehow the original overview I had heard before seeing it made it sound more like an ambiguous celebration of the bicycle. Instead, with some interesting time-lapsed cinematography aside, it was the standard full-face helmet, goggled, high-speed dash down trails. I think it was the title that sounded so enchanting; similar to "Seasons".

Now before anyone rushes to defend "gravity", "downhill" or "freeride" just know I fundamentally have no problem with this side of mountain biking. I myself own a Santa Cruz Bullit, albeit ancient. My point is the overload of this sort of imagery as "mountain biking" to the rest of the world and its potential effect on public perception. It sells soda, SUVs, energy drinks and countless other "extreme"-slanted products, but does it injure our sport as a whole? I lost count years ago how many times the anti-mountain bike factions (Wilderness Society, Sierra Club, etc etc) have referenced "40-lb bikes screaming past them at 30mph", blah blah blah...

This got me thinking - is the problem the LACK of imagery for the other disciplines within mountain biking? Why can't we make the quintessential mountain bike movie about our harmony with the backcountry and wilderness? Is there a way to show the bicycle as the perfect mode of transportation for exploring our great expanses of nature? I'm no Spielberg, but is it possible to make a mountain bike film in the spirit of books like "Desert Solitaire" or "Walden"...or movies like "Jeremiah Johnson", "Seven Years in Tibet" or "Touching the Void"? Does the documentary "Tour Divide" start down this road a little despite being about a race?

Would love to hear your thoughts....

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Wheels to Wine -- A New Tour

Domaine Poullion Winery
With more than 40 wineries in 40 miles, singletrack in every cardinal direction, and a web of scenic road routes, the Columbia Gorge is a veritable mecca for both wine and bike lovers.

We're happy to announce that we've rolled these two passions into one unforgettable day tour that allows connoisseurs to explore the best of both addictions, in one of the most scenic settings imaginable.

Based in and around Hood River, Oregon, Hermosa Tours' new Wheels to Wine Tour include a morning of mountain or road biking, followed by an afternoon at a Gorge winery.

Memaloose Winery
We'll start off by sampling some of the finest handcrafted wines in the region, learning about the wines from knowledgeable tasting room staff and winery owners. A fresh, gourmet lunch on the lawn will feature local ingredients and wine pairings, with plenty of time to take in the view and lounge in the sun.

Sunset at Maryhill Winery
A tour of the winery and vineyard caps off this perfect Gorge day. No visit to a winery would be complete without the chance to purchase wine to take home. Most of the wineries we'll visit are boutique and family-run and don't sell outside of the region, so you'll want to stock up on your favorite vintages.

The Wheels to Wine tour includes all transportation, bikes and gear if needed, wine tasting, lunch with wine pairings and dessert, and a private tour of the winery. The Wheels to Wine tours will last about five to six hours, and are suitable for all skill levels of riders.

For  more information and to book, email us or call 877.282.BIKE (2453).

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Post Canyon Playground

If you're a mountain biker, you've likely heard of Post Canyon, that little playground located just outside of Hood River, Oregon. If not, here's a taste:

Post Canyon Playground from Hermosa Tours on Vimeo.

Although it's mostly famous for having some of the best freeriding on the West Coast, Post Canyon has something for everyone. With more than 3,000 vertical feet of descent (or ascent, if you want) from top to bottom, and 50 square miles of trails and fireroads, there is a ride for every style. There is also no shortage of wood in Post Canyon, with freeride stunts rivaling BC's North Shore that will challenge even the most daring rider. Feeling timid? Warm up on Family Man's low-to-the-ground bridges and ladders, small pump track, and intermediate jump line, Middle School.

Popular trails in Post include 2 Chair 2, Gran Prix, Chorus X, and the iconic XC line Seven Streams, which climbs up to Family Man from the parking area on Post Canyon Drive. New favorites include Three Blind Mice, the new 8-Track, and Bad Motor Scooter.

Post Canyon has designated bike-only trails, and many miles of moto trails, some of which are shared with mountain bikers. The signage has improved dramatically in Post in recent years, thanks to hard-working local trail stewards (Gorge Freeride Association, and others), and an official map was released last June. All trails in Post are located on Hood River County Forestry land; the County has played an instrumental role in local efforts to develop and maintain the trail network.

Hood River locals love their backyard trails, but Post Canyon attracts riders from all over the country. Post is rideable spring, summer, and fall, and is busy on the weekends when downhillers and freeriders show up in droves to hone their skillls, shuttling to the top. This equates to a lot of traffic on the county roads, and the route to the top can be confusing for newcomers and first timers to navigate.

Hermosa Tours is psyched to be offering the first ever shuttle service all the way to the top. Stay in touch for more information about pricing and other details. We'll help keep your costs down by offering a punchcard - Buy 9, get the 10th shuttle FREE!

Post Canyon alone is reason enough to visit the Gorge; factor in all of the other amazing trails, fun town, and beautiful scenery, and you'd be crazy not to come and check it out!

Contact Ryan to learn more about Hermosa Tours' Western Headquarters, located in Hood River, and start planning your trip to the Columbia Gorge today! Feel free to call 855-MTB-POST with questions about shuttles in Post Canyon.

Video by Allison at Extremeline Productions, featuring riders Allison and Dave Diller.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Syncline Synergy

Here in the Northwest, we've been jonesing to get out on the trail. Cold spells, rain, snow, and more rain  made most of our trails impassable for the past six weeks or so. Great snow up high has also made the lure of the snowboard hard to resist, but to be honest, nothing can compare to sweet singletrack explored on two wheels.

The window we've been waiting for opened yesterday, with temperatures in the low 20s (cold for the temperate Columbia Gorge), it was finally dry enough to make the pilgrimage east to the Syncline riding mecca. Located just above the Columbia River, this trail network provides the spectacular scenery of the Gorge, and the opportunity to explore a very unique landscape. It is by far one of our most cherished riding areas close to Hood River.

Yesterday, the Syncline trails offered a little bit of everything to our group of intrepid riders: snow at the top, dry and squeaky enough to provide good traction, glassy patches of ice slippery enough to warrant a portage, frozen dirt sounding a crunching cacophony as tires rolled across the surface, and wet, heavy mud in the sun-warmed lower reaches, caking components and splatter painting clothing and gear. Freezing extremities, no matter. It was a glorious day on the trail.

The Syncline's iconic Columbia Gorge geology features long cliff bands of basalt breaking up expanses of rolling grassy fields, peppered with boulders and rocky ledges, dotted with oak groves. Trails weave in and out of damp drainages, climb to sweeping vista points, teeter on exposed cliff edges. We ride here in the fall, when shadows cast by lone oak trees tiptoe over golden, cured tall grasses. In the winter, the Syncline is a respite from gloomy, dark days in Hood River, just far enough east to escape the clutches of stubborn inversion layers. In the spring, the synergy of the Syncline is intoxicating, a combination of knowing longer days lie ahead and warm patches of wildflowers blanketing the velvety green hillside, inviting you to get off your bike and roll around in their fragrant bed.

Midstream winter, it's hard to imagine those long, sunny days. But we're ok with crunching ice, frozen fingers, and snowy traverses; for now, they're all we've got, and we'll gladly take them.

In the meantime, here's a video of an awesome early fall Syncline adventure, courtesy of our friend Allison at Extremeline Productions.

Syncline Mountain Bike Adventure from Hermosa Tours on Vimeo.

From Hood River, we welcome 2011, and the prospect of new adventures and lots of time in the saddle. Here's to a New Year, filled with friends, bikes, new places, and love for the familiar ones.