Let me start off by saying “softest” should have an *. Some context here. We all just finished the Oregon Trail Gravel Grinder only 2 days ago, which was 22.5hrs of full gas on a bike over 5 days. While, it was probably in all of our best intrests to just relax and float the river we felt compelled to make use of this time when we were all together in Bend.

The original plan was to ride from town up to Elk Lake, where Barry has a sailboat docked. Then we would spend the afternoon/evening on the lake, camp at the Elk Lake Resort, and ride back to town the next day. The problem was we were all smoked, there was a heat wave (100ºF +), and it was all up hill from Bend to get to the lake.

So we adjusted our plan as we still wanted to make something happen. We loaded up Barry’s truck, pizza oven and all, and set out for the lake.

I’d never been sailing before and was excited. Though I wasn’t a huge fan of the tippy keel. Barry was an adequate captain and reassured us, though I was skeptical, that it wouldn’t tip and while it got close a few times he was right. 

After we got our fill of tacking back and fourth on the lake in the shadows of the surrounding peaks and the occasional, purposful, man overboard drill we headed back to the dock to “batten down the hatches” and start the next part of the adventure. Dinner.

We packed a pizza oven and I pre made empañada dough and filling, someone (a genius) packed Pillsbury cinnamon buns, and we had a sick night of camping.

The next morning we woke up, brewed coffee, and hit the road, or the trail rather, and were treated to a descent all the way into town. Cory, Beck, and I were on our Libre’s with the new RAD Fox Gravel forks, which made the mellow single track descent super fun on a gravel bike.

Finally, per my request, we stopped at Sparrow Bakery and got an Ocean Roll. An iconic Bend pastry. I had been trying to fit as many “Benderific” things in as I could before I left and this was high on the list. The only thing left to do was float the river and I had checked just about every “Benderific” thing off my list.

Sure it was the softest* Kona Adventure Team trip to date but in context I think it ranks up there with the toughest. The fact that we were all blownskies and still had enough motivation and longing for some kind of adventure to rally in any capacity says something about this crew. We all would have regreted not getting out in the woods for some fun while the gang was all together in Bend, even if there was a heat wave. Now we just have to figure out how to bring that pizza oven on more Kona Adventure Team trips.