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Six events in 6,000 feet: Hood 2 River Relay Race is May 31

In a well-timed kickoff to the summer recreation and event season, a six-discipline relay race starting at the top of Mt. Hood Meadows and finishing at the Hood River Marina is set for May 31. Introduced by Gorge-based Breakaway Promotions, the Hood 2 River Relay Race — similar to the popular and long-running Pole Pedal Paddle event in Bend — incorporates alpine skiing, Nordic skiing, mountain biking, road biking, running and paddling in a one-day contest that showcases the wealth of scenic and world-class recreation Hood River County has become famous for.

Sounds like fun:

Stage 1: 1.2-mile alpine course at Mt. Hood Meadows.

Stage 2: 2-mile nordic course around MHM base area

Stage 3: 7-mile mountain bike course ending at Teacup Snow Park

Stage 4: 27-mile road bike course ending in Pine Grove

Stage 5: 6.7-mile run ending at Hood River Waterfront

Stage 6: 1.5-mile paddle on Columbia River, ending at Marina

Boasted as six ways to enjoy six thousand feet of downhill fun, the event is designed to be competitive for hardcore athletes while remaining friendly for the masses and more mainstream sports enthusiasts. Categories will include individual, two-person team, six-person team, high school team, family team and business team, with estimated finish times in the range of 3.5-6 hours.

The 46-mile course will start at the top of Mt. Hood Meadows’ Mt. Hood Express lift, where competitors will race down the slopes to the resort’s main lodge and transition to a 2-mile Nordic loop around the base area. The third leg of the race is a 7-mile mountain bike course on gravel roads and double-track trail that finishes at Teacup SnoPark. From there competitors will transition to a 27-mile road biking leg along Highway 35, ending in Pine Grove. Runners continue the journey with a 6.7-mile leg along Eastside Road and down to the Hood River Waterfront, where the final stage, a 1.5-mile paddle on Columbia River will channel competitors into the finish area and event and party headquarters setup at the Port of Hood River’s Marina Green.

“This event will showcase the many amazing recreational opportunities we have in a small, compressed area,” said Chad Sperry of Breakaway Promotions. “The timing provides another opportunity to draw people to the area and showcase how awesome the mountain and the valley is that time of year.”

Registration, open now at hood2riverrelay.com, is cheapest when done by April 1. Fees before then are $100 for an individual, $120 for a team of two, $240 for a team of six, $180 for a high school team and $200 for a family team. An after party will follow the event on the Marina Green, with music, food, drinks and awards.

Sperry said Breakaway Promotions has been planning this event for several years, but annual summer construction on Highway 35 after flooding in 2006 has prevented its launch until this year.

Breakaway Promotions runs a variety of sporting events in and outside the Gorge each year, including the widely popular Mt. Hood Cycling Classic, which ended with an 11th and final event last summer, citing a lack of corporate sponsorship as a primary reason for shutting down.

Local sponsors have made Hood 2 River Relay Race possible and include Bob Stone Subaru, Full Sail Brewing, Mt. Hood Meadows, Tofurky, Best Western Hood River Inn, Shortt Supply, Best Western Columbia River Inn, Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital, Charburger Cascade Locks, Sports Authority, Gerber Gear, Windermere Real Estate Columbia River Gorge, Hood River Vacation Rentals, Clif Bar, 2nd Wind Sports, Ryan’s Juice, and Hood River Chamber and Visitors Council.

n As with many of its events, Breakaway Promotions utilizes a win-win volunteer grant program that helps run events while helping schools and community groups raise money for their organizations.

“We use these events to contribute to fundraisers for schools and other nonprofit organizations,” Sperry said. “Breakaway Promotions has given contributions of nearly $20,000 during the Mt Hood Cycling Classic history and the Columbia Gorge Marathon $19,000 to date.”

For volunteer inquires, contact Moria Reynolds at moria@breakawaypromotions.com.

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