The phone at 900 Wall began ringing in April with people eager to make reservations for Saturday, July 23. They were staking a claim on elegant front-row seats for the Cascade Cycling Classic criterium races that will take place that afternoon and evening. The restaurant, like many others downtown, adds outdoor tables for the race, and is now completely booked, mostly with Bendites.
"It's a fun event," says 900 Wall's Mike Millette. "It brings in a lot more locals than other events."
Zydeco actually limits the length of time people can sit on the patio during the race due to demand for tables. "People will camp out there all night," explains Manager Brian Bellew. "It's a great event. If we could, we'd put rows of seating out there."
No worries if you haven't yet scored a posh seat. Some restaurants, like Amalia's, are not taking reservations, and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. And for spectators who prefer a more nomadic experience, there will be many food vendors along the course, including some of the popular chow carts.
If you ride your bike into downtown, you'll not only avoid the hassle of parking your car and walking to the race course, but you'll have the perfect vehicle for checking out the skills course set up by former pro Marcel Russenberger. The course is free, and open to both kids and adults on bikes.
A favorite spot of die-hard cycling fans along the almost mile-long racecourse is the final turn located at the corner of Wall and Idaho streets, where Central Oregon Trail Alliance camps out. It's a great place to see the riders squeeze onto the narrow block before they blast out of the final turn toward the finish line.
"The thing I love about the Cascade Cycling Classic - even above the national championship races we host - is that this race has been going on so long, and there are so many local riders," says Kevney Dugan, the Director of Sales and Sports Development for Visit Bend. "I don't know the number of Bend riders, but it's big."
Cascade Cycling Classic Downtown Criterium
Sat. July 23.
5:45pm (women) 7pm (men)
All ages. Free.