Cyclists: Prepare for some exhilarating competition. July 19 marks the start of Bend's 38th annual Cascade Cycling Classic, in which professional and amateur cyclists come from across the globe to compete in the longest running stage race in the United States.
"The race is great because it covers all the different types of terrains and landscapes of Oregon," said Molly Cogswell-Kelley, the Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation financial development and events director.
The competition sees teams crush through five dynamic stage races. This year, in the professional category, the event incorporates a few styles of racing: three road races, one time trial, and one criterium, or "crit." Road races are the most popular form of bicycle racing at the professional level. They involve a mass start where all teams and riders begin at the same place and time and cover a specified distance.
Time Trail stages are done either in teams or individually. Each rider is given a start time and will navigate a course to a specific point and back, where their times will be recorded and ranked. The last category, commonly referred to as the crit, is performed on a smaller course, where riders will complete as many laps as possible in a given time frame. All three styles of racing pose different challenges for riders and unique excitement for spectators.
In case you're curious about how it all works, here's more about each stage of the race.
Stage 1 is the Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation McKenzie Pass Road Race. The starting point for the Pro 1 men will be Crook County High School in Prineville, at 9 am on July 19. Pro 1-2 women will start from Prineville Reservoir at 10 am. The races will cover 108.1 miles and 89.3 miles, respectively, both finishing at McKenzie Pass. Riders should expect open fields and farmlands early in the race, amazing views of the Cascade Mountains, and "killer climbs to break up the group," said Cogswell-Kelley.
Stage 2 is the Robberson Ford-Mazda-Skyliners Time Trial on July 20. The out and back course starts at Pacific Crest Middle School and ends at W.E. Miller Elementary School. Pro 1 men time trials begin at 10 am, and the Pro 1-2 women starting time is yet to be determined. The freshly paved 14.3-mile course is short, but with a 4 percent increase in elevation, it will offer an epic challenge.
Stage 3 is the Regency BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon-Cascade Lakes Road Race, taking place on July 21. For the Pro 1 men's category, this race begins at 10 am and covers 108 miles. Pro 1-2 women begin at 11:30 am and traverse 87.9 miles. The race starts at the Summit High School parking lot and finishes at Kapka Butte Sno-Park with plenty of climbing and downhill in between.
In Stage 4 on July 22, riders will compete in the Desert Orthopedics and Rebound Physical Therapy - Downtown Twilight Criterium. Pro 1-2 women begin at 5:10 pm with a race time of 50 minutes. The Pro 1 men's race begins at 6:30 pm and lasts a grueling 75 minutes. Approximately 20,000 spectators will gather in the heart of downtown Bend to enjoy this race.
Stage 5, the final day of racing, July 23, will feature the Worthy Brewing - Aubrey Butte Circuit Race. In this road race, cyclists will perform laps, beginning and ending at Central Oregon Community College. Pro 1 men will race for 82 miles (5 laps), Pro 1-2 women will complete 3 laps for a total of 49 miles. Starting times are 11 am for men, noon for women.
The Cascade Cycling Classic will bring out the best of professional and amateur cyclists. Year after year, the organizers of this event continue to impress with dynamic and well-planned courses. Look forward to tremendous competition, daunting climbs, brutal sprints and pristine scenery. And not only that, but the kitty is pretty big too: total prizes amount to over $31,000.
Cascade Cycling Classic
Wed., July 19 through Sun., July 23