Hood River is start, finish for Race Across Oregon

Riders endure distance, time on 550-mile course

The Race Across Oregon is a 550-mile bicycle time trial contested by solo riders and two- and four-person relay teams. Earlier editions of the race, which has been held for 15 years, traversed the state, but the past five years have been a loop starting and finishing in Hood River.

The route travels through Mosier and over 7 Mile Hill to The Dalles, continuing south and east through Dufur, Grass Valley, Condon, Heppner and Ukiah. The return is through Long Creek, Fossil, and Maupin, then from Dufur over Forest Service Road 44 to Highway 35. Riders accumulate 45,000 feet of climbing over the length of the course.

Solo riders departed the Best Western Hood River Inn at 5 a.m. Saturday, July 20, with the teams leaving two hours later. Support crews kept their riders fed and hydrated, also providing navigation and mechanical assistance. The vehicles transported team members while not riding and their lights augmented those attached to the bicycles at night.

The first riders to finish were those of the High Performance Cycling team from Seattle, with a time of 28:33 and an average speed over 19 mph. The four cyclists started and finished together but rode individually for most of the race, exchanging approximately every 30 minutes, but with shorter intervals on the extended climbs. The team reported some difficulty with descending sharply winding canyon roads at night and smoke due to wildfires between Clarno and Maupin.

The first coed and second finishing four-person team, Only One Egret, included Carly Heron of Dee and her brother Chris from Corvallis. One of their two support vehicles had a flat tire and then lost the riders. After one rider exchange the front wheel of a bike was not secured to the rack and it was dragged behind the vehicle; fortunately only grinding down one handlebar end. The team rolled in with a time of 31:18.

The first two-person team, Over The Top, finished close behind at 31:35. Rather than exchanging at equal time intervals, the two racers from Vancouver and Sacramento divided the course into segments that suited their strengths.

The first solo rider, 60-year-old Gregg Geser, of Sisters, came in with a time of 36:46. Geser, like other riders, stopped for a dip in the John Day or Deschutes rivers to beat the scorching 100-degree temperatures in Central Oregon.

Slightly less ambitious racers had a 188-mile option finishing in Heppner, still a very challenging route. Race organizer George Thomas says everyone enjoyed the course and he looks forward to hosting the event from Hood River again next year.

The Race Across Oregon also has the distinction of being the 2013 and 2014 Ultra-Marathon Cycling Association North American 500 mile Time Trial Championships and winners in each category will receive stars and stripes jerseys.

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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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