This past weekend, I had the pleasure of experiencing a TREO Bike Tour in Eastern Oregon. We won the trip, which was up for live auction at the BTA Alice Awards, and I am so grateful we did. The drive from Portland to TREO was quick; we arrived at the ranch, which is south of Arlington, in 3.5 hours flat. Eastern Oregon’s beauty became apparent as soon as we got off the main road. The views of the open range were filled with towering windmills, rolling hills, livestock and, best of all, car-less roads.
Upon our arrival, TREO owner Phil Carlson was waiting for our group and gave a quick tour of the property. This ‘real ranch’ includes mounted deer and photos that show TREO’s 25 years of winter guests who visit to game hunt for pheasant and chukar. The ranch house is spacious, and immaculately clean with plenty of space for groups of up to 16 people. Amenities include a hot tub, pool table, horse shoes, volleyball, a dedicated bike shop adjacent to an Old West style saloon, wireless internet, and NO cellphone reception.
The night of our arrival we sat down with Phil to hash over the details of our ride. We were able to specialize our route according to our group’s skill level (from intermediate to beyond advanced), bike type (road to gravel) and interest (speed, distance, elevation). On Day One, we choose a high elevation ride at 4100 feet through forest that included a compact gravel portion. The 56-mile loop started with a several mile downhill that lead us to a 16-mile gradual forest climb followed by 12 miles of an incredible swooping corner downhill. Rolling hills with cliffs alongside came next, and led to a death climb (this kicked my ass!) which we finished just before lunch. After lunch we descended 9-miles on compact gravel, which was ride-able, but not an ideal match for my road bike. Next year I’ll be sure to bring a second bike to do a full day of just gravel riding.
Day Two was a completely different experience. We choose a 60-mile loop through wheat fields starting with a 8-mile downhill, where my friend Carl hit 41.7 miles an hour (WOW!). A 4-mile climb came next and then 17 miles of rolling hills before we finished with a 20-mile slight elevation climb. The road quality was excellent and we didn’t see more than 15 cars the whole weekend. I cannot impress enough how amazing the riding was. The feeling of wide open space with literally nothing but spectacular views and wildlife was renewing and intimidating.
Each ride was fully supported with a personal SAG (Support & Gear) wagon stocked with a full tool set, water, snacks, full lunch and cold beer to celebrate the end of the ride. Our meals were pre- planned via email, and Phil was easily able to accommodate our group of four, even though we came with three different specialized diets: one gluten free, one dairy and one no nitrates. The food – fresh bread, rolls, salads, fruit, real turkey, prime rib and more – was sourced from local companies including Carlton Farms and Boyd’s Coffee. Everything was completely homemade by local staff and was fresh and delicious.
If this is your only trip of the year and you bike but your family doesn’t, don’t worry, there’s plenty to do at the TREO Ranch and in the surrounding area. TREO has a pistol and rifle range, clay pigeon shooting and calf roping, and they offer hikes to Glutton Falls and rafting on the John Day River.
The trip was so amazing, I am already thinking about next year. I cannot wait to go back with the entire PPP team, a second bike for gravel riding and a longer stay. Thanks for everything, TREO Bike Tours!