Mt. Hood set for 10th anniversary run
HOOD RIVER – The 10th Mt. Hood Cycling Classic opens Friday with the first of four stages over three days in the Columbia River Gorge.
The 10th anniversary race is back with a classic set of courses, starting with the return of the Columbia Hills Road Race southeast of The Dalles. Look for the sprinters to line up for the win during Friday morning’s opening stage and its downhill run to the finish. After a one-year hiatus, the Scenic Gorge Time Trial is back on Saturday morning to test the riders in a race against the clock. The infamous downhill corkscrew turn of the downtown Hood River Criterium is back for Saturday evening’s third stage, while the daunting Three Summits Road Race wraps things up Sunday in the Mt. Hood National Forest.
Kristin Armstrong, the 2008 Olympic gold medalist and 2011 Mt. Hood women’s overall winner, was scheduled to race this year as part of her London Olympic preparations but had to withdraw after breaking her collarbone May 24 at the Exergy Tour in Boise. Armstrong’s Exergy-Twenty12 teammates Alison Tetrick Starnes and Canadian Olympic long team member Rhae Shaw remain on the women’s start list to take on a host of local and regional talent including Portland cyclocross pro and 2009 stage winner Sue Butler.
Kenda/5-Hour Energy’s Nate English, the 2011 men’s winner, is scheduled to be on hand for his title defense. While English was the only Kenda rider signed up for the race just one day before registration closed, the California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized team has a full compliment of eight riders scheduled to take the start, including young guns Evan Huffman, 22, winner of the time trial stages at the Merco Classic and Tour of the Gila earlier this year; Nate Wilson, 21, recent winner of the Iron Horse Classic omnium; and Robin Eckmann, 20, a German native from Boulder, Colo., who won the Iron Horse Classic time trial and was second in the Superior Morgul Bismark Road Race.
National Race Calendar and Pacific Northwest regulars Hagens Berman of Seattle will join Cal Giant with an eight-rider squad, and so will the Canadian RideOkanagan team from British Columbia. Team Oregon/Laurelwood Brewing and California’s Full Circle Cycle, featuring former Chipotle Development Team rider Kirk Carlson, also have eight-rider rosters signed up. Other notable names on the preliminary start list include Juwi Solar Power’s Julian Kyer and cyclocross star Zach McDonald (Rapha-Focus). Local heroes Ryan Trebon (Cannondale/Clement) and Barry Wicks (Kona) will also be on hand to tune their form for the quickly approaching cyclocross season.
2012 Mt. Hood Cycling Classic:
Friday, June 8
- Stage 1 Columbia Hills Road Race: 9 a.m. start at Calvary Baptist Church in The Dalles. Men race five laps for 86 miles/143 km. Women race three laps for 54 miles/90 km.
Saturday, June 9
- Stage 2 Scenic Gorge Time Trial: An individual race against the clock. Riders start at one-minute intervals. The 18.7 mile/31 km course begins at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center in The Dalles and follows the historic highway to the finish at the Mark Hatfield State Park in Hood River. Morning start times TBA.
- Stage 3 Downtown Hood River Criterium: The pro women will race for 45 minutes over the 1km course through downtown Hood River starting at 6:45 p.m. The men will race for 75 minutes starting at 7:40.
Sunday, June 10
- Stage 4 Three Summits Road Race: Men start at 10 a.m. and race 91 miles/152 km. The women race 70 miles/116 km starting at 12:10 p.m. The climbers’ course starts at the Cooper Spur Resort and finishes at the Cooper Spur Ski Area.