SPECTACULAR VIEWS, including those on the Historic Columbia River Highway, pictured above, will greet Cycle Oregon participants in Wasco County.
If the two-wheeled vehicles in Wasco County outnumber the four-wheeled variety this coming September, don’t be surprised; the annual Cycle Oregon race is going to be using The Dalles as its “home base” and spending a lot of time throughout the county Sept. 5 to Sept. 13, especially in The Dalles.
The week-long event’s theme is “The Magnificent Seven,” in reference to seven Cascade peaks, at least one of which is present on the horizon every day, the Cycle Oregon website says.
“It’s also an ode to the famous Western movie – and you might feel like you’re riding through a larger-than-life Hollywood set,” the route description reports. “You’ll cross the wind-carved expanse of the Columbia River Gorge, pedal through the lush green canyons of Washington rivers, and camp in the shadow of Mt. Adams. You’ll traverse the endless forest of Mt. Hood’s eastern flanks, roller-coaster over the gently undulating grasslands of north-central Oregon, and ponder the stark beauty of the high desert. You’ll marvel at the scale of Smith Rock and the Crooked River, roll alongside the powerful Deschutes River, and marvel at the bounty of orchards above The Dalles. The other reference in that title? The best seven days of your year.”
Mayor Steve Lawrence represented The Dalles at the route announcement last night at the Portland Art Museum, and made a presentation about the community before the packed audience.
“I think it’s a huge economic opportunity for The Dalles,” Lawrence said this morning. “I think it’s also significant in getting our attention on bike tourism in The Dalles. It’s the kickoff for everything we’ve been talking about. It’s going to give us a fantastic boost for the future.”
“The Dalles is the perfect home base for this year’s exploration on two wheels of north-central Oregon,” said Tara Corbin, community relations for Cycle Oregon. “It’s an iconic and authentic Oregon town with an incredible history and great community spirit, and we know they’ll be a great launch pad for our 2014 ride. We had a very positive experience during our 2005 stay in The Dalles and are looking forward to our return to this great gorge city.”
Cycle Oregon officials will be in The Dalles the second week of March to talk about logistics, Lawrence said.
“My understanding is they will be camping at Sorosis in the beginning then at Riverfront Park when they return,” Lawrence said.
He said the community is responsible for making sure the cyclists feel welcome and have the amenities they need during their stay. He said the event will be a great opportunity for nonprofits and all kinds of people to get involved.
“I told them we’ll have the [Fort Dalles] Floozies greet them,” Lawrence said. “They loved that.”
“We are thrilled beyond belief to be this year’s host for Cycle Oregon and its fantastic participants,” said Lisa Farquharson, president/CEO of The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce. “This is great news to our community and businesses, and we look forward to rolling up our sleeves and making sure all Cycle Oregon riders have a ‘sunsational’ experience.”
The 489-mile ride forms up in The Dalles Sept. 6 before setting out Sept. 7 with a northward route toward Glenwood in the shadow of Mt. Adams. Sept. 8, the cyclists will be camping in Dufur with a long option route that detours through Rowena Crest. On Sept. 9, riders make a mountainous 72-mile trek from Dufur to Tygh Valley, where they will camp at the fairgrounds. Day 4, Sept. 10, includes a visit to Kah-nee-ta and Wapinitia en route to Madras. Riders reach their southernmost point on Day 5 with a trip through the Smith Rocks Loop before returning to camp at Madras. Day 6, Sept. 12, is entitle d”Echoes of the Past,” passing through lush cropland, eons-old agate beds and the twists and turns of the road to Antelope, near the infamous temporary community of Rajneeshpuram, then on to Shaniko and Maupin before returning to Tygh Valley.
The riders get one more day of stellar scenery with a grueling climb along Dufur Gap Road before a downhill roll back to their end destination and celebration in The Dalles.
The Dalles cycling entrepreneur Chad Sperry played a key role in bringing the event back to Wasco County, Lawrence said.
Sperry commented this morning on the announcement: “It is exciting to see Cycle Oregon once again coming to The Dalles. This event has become one of the largest and most respected recreational tours in the country and provides not only a economic boost through tourism dollars but also a tremendous number of funds are given to schools and non-profit groups in the communities along their route. I have had the privilege to participate in this event and the positive atmosphere and tremendous fun not only on the bike but in the communities that host it was amazing.”
Sperry also linked the event to future regional cycling efforts.
“With the Historic Columbia River Highway Trail linking Portland to The Dalles nearing completion in the next couple of years, the timing of this event to draw attention to our area is tremendous. I look forward to the opportunities this brings to our community for years to come.”