New Cycle Oregon ride may take root

By Dick Mason, The Observer March 28, 2014 07:47 am

The new Cycle Oregon CO3 ride set to debut in Northeast Oregon in late June could briefly take root in this region.

The CO3 ride may be conducted in Northeast Oregon each summer through 2016, according to Cycle Oregon Executive Director Alison Graves.

“We hope to do it for three consecutive years (in Northeast Oregon),’’  Graves said.

The new 331-mile ride will debut June 19-24, starting in Walla Walla and concluding in North Powder. The ride will be a challenging one. Cyclists will make the steep trek to the Anthony Lakes ski area, negotiate the stretch of highway known as Rattlesnake Grade and make the grueling journey from Enterprise to Halfway.

Graves said the intent of  having the ride in Northeast Oregon for three years in a row is to make an imprint on the cycling world and make people more aware of this region.

“Riders hopefully will come back on their own (to do the ride),’’ she said.

Cyclists will spend their evenings in hotels and motels throughout the ride. In Oregon they will stay in the Ponderosa Motel in Enterprise, the Pine Valley Lodge in Halfway and the Geiser Grand Hotel in Baker City.

The ride costs $3,000 person and is limited to 30 cyclists. A total of $1,000 of the money paid by each cyclist will go into the Cycle Oregon Fund. Groups and organizations in the area the ride will encompass will be able to apply for grants from the portion of the fund created by the CO3 ride.  

Cycle Oregon started in 1988. Its centerpiece is a week-long ride in late summer which annually has more than 1,000 participants. This year’s week-long will be conducted Sept. 6-13 in Central Oregon and is limited to 2,200. A number of these rides have come through Northeast Oregon. 

Cycle Oregon’s new CO3 ride is so named because it is meant to be three times the traditional  Cycle Oregon experience, Graves said. She said it will offer more challenging routes, a better chance to support communities in the region they ride through and provide more amenities, especially in terms of overnight accommodations.