Hood River gearing up for Cycling Classic

Early summer bicycle racing series will cruise into Hood River May 29 through June 1

The Mt. Hood Cycling Classic will be rolling through the Hood River Valley May 29-June 1, featuring five stages and a cash purse of more than $11,000.

The field of 200-plus riders will climb roughly 18,000 vertical feet in four days as they enjoy unparalleled vistas of the Columbia River Gorge and Mt. Hood.

“The 2003 Mt. Hood Cycling Classic will be one of the most physically exhausting bicycle races on the West Coast this year,” said race organizer Chad Sperry.

“Racers will travel from sea level in Hood River to the heights of Cooper Spur Ski Area on Mt. Hood. The breathtaking views of the mountain, the river and the lush valley in between will rival the grueling climbs that the courses present,” he said.

Presented by Full Sail Brewing and hosted by Cooper Spur Mountain Resort, the five-stage event is sanctioned by the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association (OBRA), and competitors will earn points toward the FIAC national championship.

There will be four divisions: Pro/semi-pro men, expert men, women’s open, and masters men (40 years or older). There is also a “kiddie stage” for 5-7 year-olds and 8-10 year-olds.

The event will get underway on Thursday, May 29, with the Panorama Point Prologue — a 2.5-mile time trial in which racers start individually at intervals and sprint the course.

On Friday, racers will head to the scenic Upper Valley, where they will compete on an 18.8-mile scenic loop, called the Cooper Spur Circuit Race.

Saturday morning is the 13-mile Scenic Gorge Time Trial that will showcase the Columbia River. Then, one of the most thrilling spectator-oriented events, the Downtown Hood River Criterium, will take place Saturday afternoon around Full Sail Brewing.

The Cycling Classic will conclude June 1, with the Three-Summit Road Race — a classic mountain race that will separate the climbers from the coasters with three separate climbs to Lost Lake, Vista Ridge, and ultimately, Cooper Spur Ski Area.

An awards ceremony and barbecue will follow at Cooper Spur. For more information, visit www.mthoodcyclingclassic.com.

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