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A Gran Affair: Cyclocross preview, broken bindings and a backcountry checklist 

Gearing up for cyclocross

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Doug LaPlaca and his cohorts at Visit Bend have done an excellent job establishing Bend as a premier cyclocross destination. Events ranging from the local to national level have invaded our town giving riders yet another reason to keep their bikes tuned all year long.

With the lack of snow keeping skis in garages, now's the perfect time to check out a couple of cyclocross events.

First up is a fundraiser for junior cyclocross racers hoping to compete at the U.S. Cyclocross National Championships in Madison, WI this coming January. Former pro cyclist and coach Bart Bowen of Powered by Bowen, is hosting a "CXmas Party" Thursday, December 8 at 6:30 p.m. at Powered by Bowen on Century Drive.

Local retailers and cycling teams have provided CXmas gifts for cyclists that will be on display. All proceeds from their sale and the $5 suggested minimum donation will go to the CX Junior Fund.

This weekend, December 10-11, Bend will host the final two races of the U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross series. The Deschutes Brewery Cup will take place all day Saturday and Sunday with the elite women beginning at 2:15 p.m. and the elite men at 3:30 p.m. both days. Head out to Deschutes Brewery in the Old Mill to watch competitors covered in blood, sweat and mud.

Current standing's leader and Bend resident RyanTrebon will try to best former champions Tim Johnson, Todd Wells and Jeremy Powers on his home turf. On the women's side, look for a battle between points leader Katerina Nash, youngster Kaitlin Antonneau, and perennial favorite Katie Compton, to name a few.-

Some Snow

Last Sunday, I decided to risk the early season conditions and head to Edison for a late afternoon/early evening ski to AC/DC shelter. The plan included skiing up the "most difficult" DC trail toward the shelter and down the AC trail back to the car, completing the 5.5-mile journey.

Most skiers have been burned by the sketchy conditions that tend to exist during the shoulder seasons. Cold nights following warm days make for icy trails. Exposed branches can peek through the thin layers of snow. Shortly after arriving, I was informed by another skier that my fears were unfounded; the snow was good.

My dog's panting smile comes off more as an athletic hazing through the sweat pouring down my face. With each hill, I could almost hear Orwell's Animal Farm chant, "Four legs good, two legs bad."

The sun began to set as I noticed my right ski not responding to the orders given by my foot. A quick glance revealed the front of my binding completely free from the ski. My dream of a simple repair job was quickly squelched as the screw refused to connect with the provided hole.

For those who believe that bad things must happen in threes, I will complete the trifecta: Broken binding, dropping temperature, and depleting daylight. While I managed to ski back to the car, I reminded myself that this is how people get into trouble in the backcountry.

There is a sign at most of the snow parks reminding us of the dangers of winter backcountry travel and suggesting the minimum of safety supplies to carry. I, too, have a minimum list. However, my list was created using a long-running set of questions from my grandma in Michigan.

What if you get hurt? First-aid kit, check. What if you get lost? Map, compass, check. What if it gets cold? Extra clothing, fire starter, space blanket, check. What if you have to spend the night? Emergency shelter, check. What if you get hungry? Food, check.

In other sliding-on-snow news, Meissner ski season has begun. Tangent Loop is groomed as of last Friday, December 2. Thanks to the Tumalo Langlauf Club for its hard work. If you skate or classic ski on the 40 kilometers of groomed track, please consider supporting the club.

Better to Give

Kudos to Dan McGarigle at Pine Mountain Sports for supporting those who support them. Dan presented $1,314 to the Deschutes County Search and Rescue and the Central Oregon Trail Alliance (COTA). The money raised came from their wildly successful Powderhound Preview Event, Nov. 16 at the Tower Theatre.

Silver Moon Brewing is another local business doing right by its patrons. Proceeds from its "Epic Trail Ale" are helping to support COTA, Tumalo Langlauf Club (ski) and the Bend Paddle Trail Alliance. Drink to the health of your trails.


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