One last ride for Mt. Hood Cycling Classic

June 21-23 race will be the last

Organizers started the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic 11 years ago with humble roots and grand aspirations.

The open roads, breathtaking scenery and fun-loving communities of the Gorge had been enjoyed by cyclists for years, but were just barely being “discovered” by Northwest, national and international audiences as an epic cycling destination.

Within a few years, the MHCC garnered national attention and picked up an endorsement from USA Cycling’s National Racing Calendar. A few more years down the road and the event was known throughout the professional cycling world as one of the most beautiful, and challenging, races on the NRC. Since then it has brought thousands of racers — including 16 national champions and eight Olympic gold medalists — from 21 countries to Hood River for the three-day, multi-stage contest.

“It is with mixed emotions that this will be the last year of the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic,” race director Chad Sperry of Breakaway promotions said of the June 21-21 race. “I feel excited and content that we lasted as long as we did; mosty events like this have a life span of about five to seven years. But it’s also a bit of a bummer because of what the race means to the community and to Breakaway Promotions. The MHCC was the whole foundation of Breakaway Promotions — it’s the reason we got started — and we are now running a number of large cycling events across the country.”

Sperry said the MHCC hasn’t made money in about five years, due mainly to a nationwide trend of dwindling industry and corporate sponsorships. The decision, he said, is a positive financial move for BP since it will free up thousands of hours of staff time to work on more financially viable events.

Although larger sponsorship has imploded in recent years, local sponsors have remained loyal to the event throughout its history. Sperry said a number of sponsors have been with the event for all 11 years, including Full Sail, Hood River Inn, Cooper Spur, Discover Bicycles, Bicoastal Media and New York City Subs.

“Since this is the last year we want to make sure the community takes advantage of everything the event has to offer,” Sperry said. “We would love to have everyone come out and enjoy the fun one last time.”

For more information about the MHCC, schedules, stage maps, rider hosting, volunteering and more, visit

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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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