As the snow melts in the high desert of California, Nevada, Oregon, and the rest of the West, small towns like Bend, Oregon begins to welcome the influx of mountain bikers thirsty for a hefty serving of dirt, before the sun cooks it into dust. It just so happens that Memorial Day weekend in Bend has historically been prime for such a feast of trails.
Years back, the Chris King Gourmet Century was held in this mountain town, tapping into not only the vast amount of singletrack but also the food culture. While the Gourmet Century brought about a lot of good times, it ultimately was a lot of work, eventually causing the brand to move onto more low-key, informal gatherings. That’s where the Swarm idea came from. In short, Chris King wanted to engage with the community of Bend, one of their local dealers, Crow’s Feet Commons, and do it in a lower-stress environment. It was open to the public and best of all, free.
As the invites were posted on social media and this website, none of us knew exactly how many people would show up. Since it was Memorial Day Weekend, the town of Bend was busting at the seams already with tourists and mountain bikers seeking solace on the trails of this mountain bike mecca. Our trip to the event began in Los Angeles, where we loaded up the Cruiser with everything we’d need to camp, ride bikes, hike, and document the happenings. Two days later and we were rolling into the sleepy town of Bend, just prior to the three-day weekend and the first ever Chris King Swarm.