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Short track race a good sign for Cascade Locks

First event held on city’s new Easy CLIMB trail

In its first summer since being constructed, Cascade Locks’ Easy CLIMB trail was host Sunday to the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association Short Track State Championships. The event saw 150 riders registered — mainly from the greater Portland area — to compete in a fast-paced race around the scenic 1.2-mile trail on vacant property owned by the Port of Cascade Locks.

With state championship titles on the line, riders battled dusty conditions and the heat of the afternoon, racing in circles around the course as fast as possible in 30-minute increments. A swim beach along the course served as a popular reward for many riders after their races; to cool down, clean up and ease the burning of the inevitable scuffed knee and elbow.

“In terms of numbers, we were hoping for a bit more; but considering the weather and that it was a weekend in the middle of August, it was pretty good,” said Kris Schamp, race promoter. “More of a success factor was that we were able to have the event in Cascade Locks. People have done a lot of work on the trail, and was ideal for a short track race. The event was a way to recognize that work and to help put the trail and Cascade Locks on the map as a biking destination. The area has a lot of potential to be a great biking destination and we want to help in that effort.”

Schamp is the race promoter for the Portland Short Track series, which has been running for eight years and typically draws about 400 riders per event during it summer season, which is held on the infield of Portland International Raceway.

A second event is planned for the area in mid-September, when the annual Hood River Doublecross cyclecross race moves from its former home at Hood River Valley High School to Cascade Locks.

“From the community’s perspective, the best part of the event was that many cars with bikes on top were parked around town supporting our businesses after the event,” said Holly Howell, special projects manager for the Port of Cascade Locks. “Event organizers heard several people say, ‘Wow, I never even knew this place existed.’ People said they intended to return to bike and swim and explore Cascade Locks in the future.”

The Easy CLIMB trailhead is located at the northeast end of Industrial Park Way. The first stage of the trail was completed this spring with the help of volunteers, the City and Port of Cascade Locks and the Northwest Trail Alliance. For more on trail activities through NWTA visit facebook.com/dimwits.withbritelights.

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