Experience Central Oregon on a mountain bike
Students can experience the Mountain Biking Capital of the United States, according to Paul Karr, while getting college credits.
Mountain Biking instructor Paul Karr has been teaching at Central Oregon Community College for three years. He said his favorite part of teaching the class is sharing his passion for mountain biking.
“I want [college students] to love it as much as I do and value it,” Karr said.
Karr recently graduated from Kaplan University in British Columbia with a certificate in mountain bike operations. As well as showing students local trails, he teaches trail-side mechanics, from loose bolts and nuts to tire blowouts.
“It’s different than road riding,” Karr said. “You’re 10 miles out in the woods, something goes wrong, there is not someone to help right around the corner to help.”
The Deschutes National Forest offers 2.2 million acres of land, and mountain biking is the best way to experience it, according to Karr.
“You can cover 30-40 miles a day,” Karr said. “You really get the sense you’re far out there.”
COCC offers beginner and intermediate mountain biking classes.The final for the intermediate class is the Wanoga-to-town route, including the “Tiddlywinks” and “Funner” trails, according to Karr.
Through the course, Karr hopes to inspire a love for outdoor fitness and recreation in students.
“Biking is inherently fun,” Karr said, “just to ride releases endorphins.”
The river helps students stay afloat in nature’s classroom.
Whitewater kayaking classes are available spring through fall term at Central Oregon Community College.
Greg Terhaar has been teaching whitewater classes at COCC since 1990.
“I enjoy teaching people how to do it safely and efficiently,” Terhaar said.
He learned how to run rivers at COCC in 1982.
Classes are open to any COCC student and the school provides all the equipment, according to Terhaar.
“Expect to get wet,” Terhaar said.
On the Deschutes River, students learn “how moving water works,” Terhaar said. This allows them to use the different currents to their advantage while avoiding danger.
If a kayaker flips over in the water he needs to flip back over, which is called an “eskimo-roll.” Depending on availability, the class offers roll-practice in the pool at the Juniper Swim and Fitness Center in Bend, according to Terhaar.
“We have students of all ages and abilities,” Terhaar said. “A lot have never been in a kayak before.”