09 29 2016
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Shipwreck Hunting
FLORENCE, Ore. (AP) -- Beachcombers find endless treasures along the Oregon coast, from seashells to shipwrecks.
State archaeologist Dennis Griffin says more ships may emerge from the sands this year along the stretch of Pacific coast long known as the "Pacific Graveyard."
He said the wrecks of five already are visible along the south-central coast between Reedsport and Coos Bay including the Sujameco, the Sparrow, the Helen E, the Bella and the Olson.
Hundreds of ships have wrecked along the coast over the years, and shifting sands are beginning to expose them.
So there's no telling what may show up next.

Ski Areas Open
WILLAMETTE PASS, Ore. (AP) -- With little snow on the mountains, ski areas throughout the state got off to a late start this season. But now, with an abundance of snowfall brought by December's record winter storms, many ski areas are expected to remain open well into the spring.
In Central Oregon, Willamette Pass opened Dec. 19, and since then, says ski area spokesman Randy Rogers, 700 skiers have hit the slopes each day. On Mt. Hood, Ski Bowl, Timberline and Meadows are now in full operation. The snow depth at Timberline is 112 inches at mid-mountain and Ski Bowl has 69 inches at mid-mountain.
Willamette Pass has 48 inches at mid-mountain. Hoodoo Mountain Resort reports a 65-inch base. And Mount Bachelor, the state's largest ski resort, says recent storms have created a 98-inch base at mid-mountain.

Single Speed Mountain Bikes
BEND, Ore. (AP) -- Hipsters in too-tight pants aren't the only ones riding stripped-down bicycles these days.
The trend toward back-to-the-basics bikes extends off the pavement, as evidenced by the increasing number of mountain bikers in Oregon and elsewhere on single-speed bikes.
These are mountain bikes with only one gear ratio and often none of the heavy-duty suspension that's become a fixture on modern trail-riding bikes.
For those who already consider mountain biking just pedal-powered masochism, the attraction to riding without the help of gears and comfort of shocks might be hard to grasp.
"I stuck with it because of the simplicity and purity of just pedaling," says Tom Letsinger, a member of the Disciples of Dirt, the Eugene mountain biking club.
"There is a kind of athletic Zen state when it's just you moving down the trail without any distractions," said Letsinger, who started riding a single speed bike seven years ago. "That and because it hurts more."
Single speeds are deliberate backlash to bling-heavy bikes that have been the trend since American mountain biking pioneers began bombing down Marin County's Mount Tamalpais on modified cruiser bikes in the 1970s.
"It's kind of pleasant to go out on a fully rigid single speed and have as much fun as you would have on some $7,000 wonder bike," says Single Speed World Champion Carl Decker of Bend.
Decker, who rides geared bikes for Team Giant, built his first single speed in his garage about eight years ago, when single-speed bikes were still fairly rare.
Today Bend, with its surplus of rolling trails and relatively mild climbs, might be the epicenter of Oregon single-speed riding.
With companies like Kona and Surly mass producing off-the-shelf single-speed bikes, one no longer need be a tinkerer with a garage full of extra cogs and chains to ride one.
Because of their relative simplicity, single-speed bikes cost less when new than their fully geared counterparts and are easier to maintain over the long run. A basic single speed can be had for as little as $300, while conversion kits for your current bike can be had for less than $100.
There are some disadvantages: It's harder to speed through flats and mild descents because you tend to get going faster than your legs can pedal.
Keeping momentum becomes a priority, and with no shocks to soften the bumps in the case of a "fully rigid" bike, you have to be careful picking your lines.
"It's not for beginners," Decker says. "Most people benefit from the gears. You have to be pretty strong."

 

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