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Going Long: September in Bend is ultra-marathon season, but ‘cross races are upon us, too 

Another endurance race will descend on Bend this weekend. This one, a triathlon, is totally insane.

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After leading through the halfway point at the 2012 U.S.A. Cycling Mountain Bike Marathon National Championships, Bend’s Adam Craig thought he had the race sewn up.

Last year’s marathon champ continued to ride comfortably at the front of the race until mile 52 of the 54-mile event.

“I pretty much won the whole time until about two miles to go,” joked Craig about last Saturday’s race. Near mile 32, the Rabobank-Giant rider said he started to run low on fuel and then, with 2012 U.S. Olympian Todd Wells bearing down, Craig dropped his last two gels while racing down Dinah Moe Humm Trail.

“I REALLY needed those,” said Craig, who added that he hoped to could “out-clever” Wells on the final climb up Funner.

But a wily Wells was not to be out-foxed. Wells passed a cross-eyed Craig near the flats just below the Wanoga Sno-Park finish line and cruised in for the win in 3 hours, 36 minutes, 52 seconds.

Bend’s Carl Decker, who stayed close to the leaders all day, put in a late-race surge and passed Craig to finish second in 3:37.27. Craig rolled across the finish seconds later in 3:37.52.

Like Craig and Decker, Bend’s Serena Bishop Gordon also walked on to the pro podium after she finished fourth in the women’s marathon race. The Silverado rider started strong and was able to ride with the leaders for the first quarter of the race.

“It was really hard, but a really great course,” said Bishop Gordon. “I was riding like there was someone 10 seconds behind me the whole time.”

Bishop Gordon hung on to finish in 4:35.16. California’s Pua Mata, the reigning marathon national champion, won this year’s edition in 4:09.35.

Congrats to all of Central Oregon’s singlespeed and age-group podium finishers: Becky Bjork, Alice Drobna, Claire Duncan, Austin Line, Cody Peterson, Bruce Rogers, Paul Thomasberg, Scott Seaton and Don Leet.

Get The Lead Out

Another endurance race will descend on Bend this weekend. This one, a triathlon, is totally insane.

The Leadman Tri is a 250-kilometer race (155 miles) that starts with a chilly 5-kilometer swim in Cultus Lake. The water temperature is expected to be low 60s at the 7 a.m. start. After a lengthy swim, competitors will ride around Mt. Bachelor. Twice. Yep, the 223-kilometer bike segment (138 miles) takes racers over the pass at Bachelor two times as they slog around the Cascades Lakes loop. And to cap off the day, they’ll then run 22 kilometers (13 miles) along the Deschutes River and Tetherow Golf Club before finishing at the Old Mill.

The epic triathlon boasts a $50,000 prize purse for the pros. Bend’s Matt Lieto hopes to finish on the pro podium and bring home a chunk of the cash. First place takes $10,000. If you’re looking for a piece of the action, but not up for a 155 miles of multi-sport agony, the race is looking for a bevy of volunteers to staff the course. According to volunteer coordinator Renee Mansour, as many as 750 bodies are needed to staff the event over four days. For information, email her at rmansour@bendbroadband, or simply sign up by logging onto, clicking Bend, OR – 250 and “volunteer.”

Flagline 50k Run

And for the moderately mad, there’s the Flagline 50k, which will be held Saturday on Flagline Trail and will once again serve as the U.S.T.F. National Championships. The popular race is also part of the Oregon Trail ultramarathon series. With a $3,000 prize purse, it should draw out some of the nation’s best trail runners.

Last year, Bend racers dominated the running event. Max King won the men’s race in 3 hours, 27 minutes and Stephanie Howe won the women’s race in 4 hours, 19 minutes. King should lead the pack again this year, but the women’s outcome is more uncertain as Howe is sidelined with a hip injury.

Craggin’ Classic at Smith Rock

This past weekend marked the American Alpine Club’s annual Craggin’ Classic climbing festival and this year’s Northwest event was held here in Central Oregon at Smith Rock. The festival featured instruction, a climbing competition (results unavailable at press time) and presentations by climbing notables like Paige Claassen. Claassen, 21, is considered by many to be the top female sport climber in the country and completed her first 5.14 before she was 19.

The sendy youth from Colorado gave a follow-up presentation at the Bend Rock Gym, an event that served as a fundraiser for the Bend Endurance Academy.

‘Cross Season is Here

With fall just around the corner (Sept. 22!), it’s time to glue up your tubulars and practice your remounts—‘cross season in the Northwest has begun!

Races on the west side of the Cascades, like the G.P.T.B. cyclocross series, have been ongoing since the start of September and ‘cross racing in Bend got underway last week with the first Thrilla race near Summit High School. The four-race WebCyclery Thrilla series will continue every Thursday through Oct. 4.

You can also satisfy your ‘cross cravings by jumping in Sunday’s Future Cross race, a benefit for local junior racers. The Powered By Bowen event kicks off at 10am at Seventh Mountain Resort.

Photo taken by Lifetime Fitness.


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