Tour De Taco: Bend, Oregon

This past week, I learned that a quick trip to Bend, Oregon is always great for the soul. I arrived mid day, grabbed a Clif Bar and Red Bull and headed straight from the airport to the trails. There is no time for lunch when there are people waiting who are willing to shuttle you on Tiddlywinks! I built my bike in the parking lot, ripped trails all afternoon with the Red Bull crew and left enough time to shower and change before the eagerly awaited premiere of North of Nightfall that night at the Tower Theater. Side note: this film is incredible and I highly recommended seeing it. 

The next morning, we headed out early for another ride before my 1:50pm flight home. We rode around 20 miles of amazing single track and were only slightly worried when we rolled into the parking lot at 12pm - a little less than two hours before my flight. In my mind, it's always worth it to get a few extra minutes on the trail - even if it means a rushed bike pack and a speedy drive to the airport. I stood in the middle of the parking lot in my kit and scrambled to get my bike packed as it started hailing. Suffice it to say - I did not take off my rotors, but I did all the other important things. At 12:07pm, it was done. 

I hopped in the car with my athlete manager (shoutout to Aaron Lutze for putting up with me) and we booked it to the Redmond airport. At 12:40pm, we rolled up with plenty of time to check my bike and get through security. There was just one problem - we hadn't gotten lunch. After eating another Clif Bar meal for breakfast to maximize time for our epic ride, I was pretty hungry. A quick google search revealed a Mexican restaurant just a few minutes away. "Should we just go full send?", I asked Aaron. We pondered for a moment, but there was no real decision to be made. 

I ran into the airport, checked my bike, ran out and jumped back into the car. By 12:50, I was ordering up "tacos especiales to go" at La Frontera. We waited eagerly, knowing this was a pretty savage move if I wanted to make it back to San Francisco that day. But soon, I was back in the truck holding a styrofoam to go box filled with deliciousness. I made it to the airport 40 minutes before takeoff, cruised through security while still wearing my kit and made it with plenty of time to change into some lululemons and enjoy my pre flight tacos victoriously. What a day.

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The Taco Spot: La Frontera is located in a small building on the side of the highway and, at first glance, almost appears closed. Inside, however, it is bustling with authentic Mexican music, delicious food being prepared and plates of tacos and tostadas being carried to nearby tables. It was hard to take my eyes off them. The wall above the cash register is papered with pictures of each item on the menu - with simple descriptions above them in spanish and the service was friendly and speedy, which was very important on this particular occasion. They also have warm, home made chips next to a case filled with amazing salsas. As I waited for my meal, I ate a little basket of chips and tried each of the salsas (the green turned out to be my favorite).

As my main course, I ordered two chicken tacos with a side of rice and beans. I was warned that the salsa would be extremely spicy to which I replied "I love spice". It was very delicious, but also very fuego so I recommend being prepared with a bottle of water and a napkin to wipe your tears. I will also note that all of their tacos are served in corn tortillas which makes ordering gluten free very easy. The tortillas were a highlight - they were white corn, just a tad crispy on the outside and didn't fall apart when you held them. The rice and beans were also a great side - the rice had little bits of vegetables in it and were a great compliment to my tasty tacos. Overall, the food tasted great - particularly after a long morning of riding trails. I highly recommend seeking out this gem if you are in Bend and, especially, if you are tight on time before or after a flight! 

Where I rode: It was a quick trip to bend and I am no expert on their trail networks - but I do have a few recommendations! Tiddlywinks is a super fun trail and can be easily shuttled - it is pretty smooth and flowy with some fun and reasonably sized jumps. We also rode Phil's Trail which features a series of well built table tops and fun berms. This trail would have a been a bit more fun if I wasn't on my hardtail, but I highly recommend checking it out. These were just a few of my favorites from the short rides we did, but I hope to return for some epic rides and more exploring this fall! From what I have seen, there is no shortage of amazing single track to be shredded. 

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