For the second consecutive year hundreds of "mature" bike racers will flock to Central Oregon for the USA Cycling Masters Road National Championships. This year it's a five-day affair that will kick off Wednesday, Sept. 5 and run through Sunday, Sept. 9. Unlike last year, however, this year a “masters racer” is defined as those aged 35 and older. In 2011 the youngest master's category was the 30-34 age group.
Other notable changes for this year's edition include new courses for the time trial, road race and for some of the crit races. Rather than race another time trial up and down the broken pavement of Skyliner’s Rd., race organizers elected to hold the race outside Prineville along the scenic Crooked River Hwy., which will take racers upstream and into the Crooked River canyon.
The road race, which will be similar to that of the CCC, will be held on Cascade Lakes Hwy rather than last year's circuit-style course on Mt. Washington and Archie Briggs. And to appease downtown business owners, who last year grumbled about the days-long road closures during peak shopping periods, organizers responded by scheduling only one day of criteriums in downtown Bend. Crits will also be held in Northwest Crossing to help lessen the impact to downtown businesses.
Lets hope it’s clean racing in 2012. For at least the last two years amateur master road racers have tested positive for banned substances during the title race and, as a result, have had their results nullified.
Wednesday, Sept. 5: Time Trial, Prineville (All racers)
Thursday, Sept. 6: Road Race, Mt. Bachelor (Women’s categories 35-49; Men’s categories 35-59)
Friday, Sept. 7: Road Race, Mt. Bachelor (Women 50 and older; Men 60 and older; all tandem racers)
Saturday, Sept. 8: Criterium, Downtown Bend (Women’s categories 35-49; Men’s categories 35-59)
Sunday, Sept. 9: Criterium, Northwest Crossing (Women 50 and older; Men 60 and older)