Downtown Criterium on brink of action

May 28

In exactly one week, the streets of downtown Hood River will be one of the most challenging and action packed road-bike courses in the country. Spectators will have front row seats Saturday evening as Mt. Hood Cycling Classic competitors dodge and weave their way around the sharp, steep corners of the Downtown Hood River Criterium Stage of the four—day competition.

"The downtown stage is going to be absolutely crazy," event director Chad Sperry said. "Of all five stages of the Classic, it is by far the most action— packed and spectator— friendly. It's the most technical criterium course in the North West … maybe in the country. Spectators can get within inches of guys whizzing by at 40 plus miles an hour jammed elbow to elbow and wheel to wheel. It's going to be crazy."

The course will start in front of Full Sail Brewing Company and proceed clockwise uphill on Columbia until it meets Wasco St. Riders will turn right down Wasco, gaining speed for the hairpin right hand corner onto Industrial. They will then ride a long flat stretch to pick up speed before entering into a four-corner square block that will drop the riders back onto the finishing stretch about 200 meters from the finish line.

Each division of racers will take on the course separately, with riders completing as many laps as possible in the time allotted. Masters: Start first at 5 p.m. with 35 minutes. Men 3: Second at 5:45 p.m. with 35 minutes. Women: Third at 6:30 p.m. with 40 minutes. Pro: 7:20 p.m. with 50 minutes.

The best two places to watch the race are the S-curves on the far west end of the course and the finish line. "The sound of scraping metal and shouting can be heard all evening long as riders lean their bikes so far over their pedals drag on the asphalt. The S-Curves allow you to get within inches of the riders as they careen around the corners at 40— plus miles per hour," said Sperry. "And the finish line is where the primes and sprint finishes will be."

Spectator parking will be available at the Sprint Complex, as all streets involved in the race will be closed to traffic.

Along with the racing action, music, food, drinks, concessions, and booths will surround the finish line area.

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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 to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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