"I never thought I could have come this far
Through miles of mountains valley, streams
This is the right stuff filling my dreams
So come on, get up on your bike
Ah, go on, get up on your bike
Pedal on, pedal on, pedal on for miles."
- Luka Bloom, "Acoustic Motorbike"
There are "roll" models all around this weekend.
Between the spray of sailing regattas in Cascade Locks and the whir of bicycle athletes on mid-Columbia Gorge roads this weekend, there are numerous visitors among us who bring adventure sport good tidings to us all.
The athletes in the ninth annual Mt. Hood Cycling Classic, here all weekend, are a combination of professionals and amateurs (albeit highly skilled ones) and they arrive from all over the U.S. and other countries.
Many stay in local motels but others sojourn here as guests of local families. The enduring friendships that emerge from this annual bit of hospitality is one of the more pleasant outgrowths of the Hood River sporting culture.
We welcome them all to Hood River, and wish them safe and speedy outings Saturday and Sunday.
The most visible of the Classic events is probably the downtown Criterium, which fills Hood River streets Saturday, starting at 4 p.m. The pro riders start at 6:45 p.m. Find a street corner and watch them go. Perhaps the best vantage point is west of Full Sail Brewing, on the steep curve of Wasco Street, and the sharp turn onto Industrial.
The racers to watch, as Ben McCarty explains on page B1, are American Kristen Armstrong and Canadian Clara Hughes, both Olympians.
This is high-level competition. Kudos to Chad Sperry and Breakaway Productions for developing a class event.
Meanwhile, if you want to try your handlebars at a more leisurely bicycle event, check out the fifth-annual Gorge Ride on June 11, hosted by the Friends of the Historic Columbia River Highway.
The event is a chance to explore the beautiful Columbia River Gorge by bicycle and to help the Friends' project of restoring and reconnecting the Historic Columbia River Highway and State Trail through the Columbia River Gorge from The Dalles to Troutdale by its 100th birthday on June 7, 2016.
The route starts at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center in The Dalles, goes to the Mark O. Hatfield west trailhead just east of Hood River, then back; for a total of 38 miles.
The route follows portions the historic highway that are open to motor vehicles and a paved state trail that is open only to hikers and cyclists. If you've never explored this unique feature of the Gorge backyard, this is your opportunity.