Participants don't find out where they're going - or how they'll get there - until the morning of the race when they receive their first "passport."
"It's definitely a race unlike the other typical races you've done before," says Emily Salberg, one of the Oyster Series producers. "The element of surprise is something our racers come back for year after year."
The Deschutes Brewery will serve as home base for two-person teams and four-person relay teams, and they'll return there after each leg to receive a new passport and head out on the next mission.
"Even people who have lived in Bend their whole life might do something they've never done before," says Salberg.
If you don't take your racing too seriously, and like a little off-the-wall fun with your adrenaline fix, the Oyster Off Road Adventure Race might be right up your spontaneous alley.
Registration is $65 per person until June 14, and then $70 per person until it closes on June 24. Proceeds go to the Deschutes River Conservancy, which is charged with providing volunteers for the race. The DRC needs at least 40 folks to pitch in with race day logistics, said Marisa Hossick, outreach coordinator. Volunteers get a free meal, drinks, a t-shirt and an invite to the after party at the Deschutes Brewery's warehouse where Hossick assures that the ale will be flowing. For info, contact Hossick at 541-382-4077 ext. 25, Marisa@deschutesriver.org
For more information on the race, go to www.oysterracingseries.com.
Blitz 2 The Barrel
Not so different from the bowling night of a past generation, a select group of Bend's hardcore pro and elite mountain bikers came together last summer for a few weeknight races, mano y mano. The races weren't formally promoted or supported, just a few guys who anted up a few bucks and then raced each other down the hill at breakneck speed, from Wanoga to 10 Barrel where they'd share a cold one and pay the winner.
The once underground Blitz 2 The Barrel, as it became known, has seemingly gone legit with fliers, sponsors, promotion and such. And yet, it has retained some its original edge with the intriguing premise of racing through the Tetherow golf course. Not necessarily the fairways, but stunt jumping across the patio at the posh clubhouse. Sweet.
With some serious cash on the line for the top three finishers and bonus dinero along the way for stunts and speed, these local boys will be racing full throttle next Wednesday, June 15. The race starts at 7 p.m. from Wanogo Sno Park and finishes at 10 Barrel, where contestants will down a pint to officially complete the race and everyone can enjoy the after party with awards, raffle prizes and music.
When Meredith Brandt moved to Bend and began mountain biking, she found herself frustrated, and riding alone, because she couldn't keep up with her then-boyfriend, now husband, local elite rider Brigg Brandt. "I didn't improve very quickly at all until I found a group of women to ride with," says Brandt. "That was key."
Inspired by her own experience, Brandt teamed up with Tania Piper to produce the Grit Clinics, providing mountain bike instruction for women only. All four Grit Clinics quickly sold out, which surprised the organizers.
"We had no idea when we came up with the concept it would be so popular," says Brandt. "We were hoping to get six people so we wouldn't have to cancel it."
Likewise, last weekend's sold-out Trek Dirt Series rolled into Bend, helping more than 50 women improve their technical skills and confidence on the mountain bike.
"It's offering an opportunity for women to learn together," explains Brandt of the popularity of women-specific clinics. "And I think being coached by other women is helpful because they don't feel the pressure they might get from men who have been mountain biking for a long time."
More Grit Clinics are slated for 2012. Meanwhile, Brandt and other women coaches are leading Dirt Divas rides from Pine Mountain Sports. Go to their website for more info, www.pinemountainsports.com.
MBSEF is also getting in on the girl's-only trend, hosting the Groovy Girls Mountain Bike Clinic next Tuesday. The clinic is geared toward younger riders (ages 8-18) and led by pro biker Lizzy English. The clinic runs 4:30-7p.m. and includes prizes for participants. Cost is $20. Registration required. 541-388-0002.