Big-time racing with small-town appeal

June 1, 2005

The quiet and relaxing picturesque roads of Hood River Valley will soon become the grueling and demanding five-stage, 18,000 vertical-feet road bike course called the 2005 Mt. Hood Cycling Classic.

This year the National Racing Calendar (NRC) boosted the Classic's status to one of only 15 sanctioned NRC events of the 2005 season.

The adoption of the event by the NRC has had immense and immediate effects on the turnout and prestige of the race because, aside from the $20,000 cash purse, teams and individuals can earn points towards the national championship and distinguish themselves for future Olympic consideration.

"Registration is already well ahead of previous years," race director Chad Sperry commented. "But the impact isn't just in quantity. The strength of the field has also been raised. It's going to be exciting to see national champions and Olympians competing on our local roads and venues." Currently, more than 460 riders have pre-registered for the race — a figure that has almost doubled since the first Mt. Hood Cycling Classic in 2003.

Hood River is by far the smallest host city on the 2005 National Racing Calendar. According to Sperry, the impact of a NRC race is huge, even in larger cities that have superior infrastructure and financial resources to support a large race.

"The residents and business people of Hood River have been incredibly supportive of the whole event. This allows us to offer something unique to the racing circuit because we have big-time racing with small-town charm and appeal."

The first stage starts Thursday evening at Pine Grove School. Four stages and hundreds of miles later, competitors will cross the final finish line Sunday morning at Cooper Spur Ski Area.

The time between — for racers and race fans at least — will be passionate, intense, and full of high-speed action.

Below is a stage-by-stage spectator's guide to the 2005 Mt. Hood Cycling Classic.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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