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 to 34 age group.Other notable changes for this year's edition include new courses for the time trial 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 on the Crooked River Highway that will take racers upstream and into the Wild and Scenic Crooked River canyon.
The road race, which will be similar to that of the Cascade Cycling Classic, will be one large loop 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 over Labor Day holiday shopping period, 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.
Let's hope it’s clean racing in 2012. For 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. (JW)
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)
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With just a matter of hours remaining before the start of the multi-day Masters Road Nationals, organizers were still well short of the roughly 400 volunteers needed to shepherd the event through the four-day campaign. Volunteer coordinator Renee Mansour said she is scrambling to find enough bodies to staff key positions including crosswalk safety and course management, drug testing and even on-course workers to ride alongside the peloton on motorbikes.
As of Tuesday morning, Mansour said she was about 200 volunteers shy of the target.
“There is still a huge need for volunteers,” Mansour said.
While events like the Masters Nationals and the CCC are usually able to get by with fewer than the desired number of workers, it can create safety issues for riders and spectators, she said.
“It does make the staff and USA worried about having the course safe enough for riders. Usually, it works out. I do this for Cascade Cycling Classic also. This is a bit more stressful only because it’s usually not the day before the race and I’m in such bad need,” Mansour said.
She added that volunteer shifts range from four to five hours and cover a range of critical jobs. No experience is necessary. For more information on how to become a last-minute volunteer, email Mansour at firstname.lastname@example.org
Deschutes National Forest Trails Specialist Chris Sabo was recently quoted as saying that it may be time to put some restrictions on the number of daily summertime visitors to South Sisters, the popular wilderness peak that draws thousands of hikers each summer.
It’s an idea that’s been bandied about before, but it sounds like the Forest Service might be getting serious about getting a handle on foot traffic on the much-traveled area, where as many as 10,000 hikers make the trek to the mountain top each summer. All that foot traffic is taking a toll on the environment and the visitor experience. Dozens of disparate trails crisscross the lower slopes of the mountain, according to Sabo, and the upper trail is as wide as 40 feet in some places where it has been packed down by the constant traffic. In an interview with the Bulletin, Sabo told the paper that it could take as long as two decades for the soils to recover if visitor limits were implemented immediately.
If the Forest Service does move to a daily quota system, it’s not clear how soon that would happen or what the public process would be for determining just how many hikers would be allowed. A call to the Forest Service seeking more information went unreturned on Tuesday. While there may be some resistance, the agency wouldn’t be the first to clamp down on access. The BLM has instituted a first-come first served permit system on sections of the Deschutes and John Day rivers during the peak of the boating season.
Another summer paddle season is basically in the books as students head back to schools. Personally, I thought I would make it another summer without getting sucked into the stand-up paddleboard craze. Alas. I’m now in the market for a used paddleboard after seeing how my eight-year-old daughter and certified water junkie reacted to the loaner board I got off Geoff Frank and Co. over at Tumalo Creek, Kayak and Canoe. The board essentially replaced an inflatable rubber raft that I gave to a friend. The raft was not missed either by my kids who took to the stand-up thing like mermaids to water, nor by me who had the unenviable job of inflating and deflating said raft. Of course an 11-foot paddleboard presents some logistical challenges of its own. And while I may not be ready to enroll anytime soon in stand-up paddleboard yoga classes or one of the other somewhat ridiculous incarnations of the SUP craze, it was particularly satisfying to see the smile on my daughter’s face as she confidently skimmed across the surface of Elk Lake with a paddle in her hand and the wind in her hair. If you’re like me and mine and bitten by the SUP bug this past summer, there are some good late-season deals to be had on boards and equipment. Tumalo’s 10-day end of season sale begins Sept. 22 and will offer would-be paddlers a shot at some deep discounts on demo models.
Photos submitted and taken from file photo.