One of the unexpected casualties of June's massive Two Bulls Fire that raged through the forests just west of Bend was the ultra-fun mountain bike race, Blitz 2 the Barrel. With fire and smoke threatening the flank of Mt. Bachelor, organizers postponed the early summer race to now, late summer.
Blitz 2 the Barrel is particularly noteworthy for several reasons—perhaps most noticeably because the fifth annual race is more than the usual thigh-busting climbs and gravity-defying jumps; it ends with an arm wrestling competition. Like a tour of Bend's most popular places, the race begins at Wanoga Sno-Park and wraps up in town at 10 Barrel Brewery, and correspondingly covers Bend's two favorite activities, biking and beer drinking. (Also notable is that the race offers the largest pro invitational award in the country—$20,000.)
In total, 41 riders will compete; 22 men, 19 women, including cofounder and professional mountain bike rider Adam Craig, who has won two national championship and competed at the Beijing Olympics.
Source Weekly: Do you remember your first real big crash/tumble?
Adam Craig: Absolutely. It was at Cadillac Campground in Bar Harbor, Maine. Age 10 and I had my first proper "Mountain Bike," a 20-inch-wheeled six-speed gem. I lasted about 20 minutes of bombing around the campground before overcooking a turn and skidding off the pavement directly into a row of granite blocks lining the road. This resulted in skidding across said blocks on my face and going to the ER for stitches in my nose. Been scared of pavement ever since.
SW: What makes you a good mountain bike racer?
AC: The fact that it's not on pavement.
SW: Are you better uphill or downhill?
AC: I've been working hard on my downhill skills, so hopefully that's the jam these days.
SW: Are you a better beer drinker or arm wrestler?
AC: I'm a skinny bike rider, so, quite average at each. Maybe less bad at drinking, just...
SW: Proudest moment in your racing career?
AC: Walking away with my first Elite National XC title in Mount Snow [Vermont], 2007. Such a fun, successful day on the bike in my original backyard of New England.
SW: If you weren't biking, what sport would you be doing?
AC: Flying helicopters, or maybe just ski touring.
Wed., Aug. 20
Women start 5:30 pm, Men start 6:30 pm
Riders start at: Wanoga Sno-Park
Recommended view site: Tetherow Golf Course (jumps and stairway obstacle)
Finish line: 10 Barrel, 1135 NW Galveston
Arm wrestling: 8:45 pm at 10 Barrel