Long-time Runner's World contributing writer Hal Higdon says this about hills: "We love them. We hate them. They make us strong. They make us weak." Meant for runners, the same applies to road bikers. For those that subscribe to "strong" and embrace lung-busting experiences, here are a few suggestions (all distances are one-way with elevation).
The climb to Mt. Bachelor (20 miles, 3,330 ft.) is an easy-to-follow, out-and-back on Century Drive starting at the Reed Market roundabout. The view "easily" distract the rider.
McKenzie Pass (15 miles, 2,200 ft.) is popular and highly recommended, especially when the road (Hwy 242) is closed to traffic (well, you missed that for the year; re-opened mid-June). The rewards include views of lava flows and the Dee Wright Observatory. From Sisters, eight miles of open-to-traffic riding leads to the gate, followed by seven car-free miles to the summit.
For a higher heart rate, both rides can be extended by rolling down the backside before turning around. At McKenzie Pass head towards Belknap Springs (25 miles, 4,000 ft.), or turn back whenever the urge to climb hits. At Mt. Bachelor, continue to Sparks Lake (four miles, 1000 ft.). Enjoy the fast downhill, 'cause coming back is gonna hurt.
An urban lung burner
If the short urban up that is Archie Briggs (1.5 miles, 300 ft.) is good enough for the annual Cascades Cycling Classic, it is good enough for us mere mortals. Start at O.B Riley Road and spin until reaching Mt. Washington Dr. For more climbing, turn right on Mt. Washington and look for Summit Ave. (two miles, 400 ft.) on your left, looping back to Mt. Washington. Repeat as desired.
Other out-of-town thrillers
While in Sisters, consider Three Creeks Road (26 miles, 2,670 ft.) Head south on Elm Street where it becomes Three Creeks. To include a national monument in your ride, take Hwy. 97 south, about 23 miles, to the Newberry National Volcanic Monument exit, park in the dirt lot, and bike up Paulina Lake Rd. (18 miles, 2,500 ft.) into the caldera. Extend your ride to East Lake for a picnic lunch or stop at Paulina Falls for a scenic rest stop.