Welcome, Hood2River: A big day, from snow to sand

There’s a big event this weekend that’s all downhill — in a good way.

Welcome, Hood2River, the newest of Chad Sperry’s Breakaway Promotions events.

Local athletes and visitors from all over will be in the county this weekend for the May 31 Hood2River — it starts at Meadows and heads, as the name says, to the river. Individuals and teams compete on skis, bicycles, and running from the snows to the sands. Athletes start at the Mt. Hood Express run, continue down Highway 35, and finish at the Hood River marina.

(And they will be going north, which, despite geography-defying rumors, can also mean downhill.)

Sperry and company developed the Mt. Hood Classic into a renowned event, which bodes well for Hood2River. The name itself is fun and evocative, and between the relay and the after-party it looks like a grand time befitting the community athletic ethic that helps define Hood River.

As noted in the Hood2River website, “The Hood 2 River Relay is an exciting springtime event that kicks off the summer recreational season on Mount Hood and in the Columbia River Gorge. World-renowned for its unique summer season, Mount Hood is one of only a handful of ski areas that has summer ski operations. The ability to quickly descend from the high slopes of the mountain to the low-lying elevations of the Columbia River Basin near sea level provides a unique opportunity for recreational enthusiast to enjoy a multitude of sports not only in the same season but in the same day.”

The first “wave” of racers start at Meadows at 10 a.m., and the waves continue until 10:55, with individual, pairs, teams, and high school and family teams.

It should be emphasized that no roads will be closed for Hood2River. Motorists are asked to be on the lookout for cyclists and runners, particularly in the lower valley. Expect extra traffic in the form of support vehicles for the teams and the event organizers.

The event gathering locations that are likely to be more congested than usual on Saturday morning and throughout the day are the marina, Pine Grove Elementary, Tea Cup, and Meadows parking lots.

The after-party, starting at noon, should be another wave of fun, and anyone is welcome to come and support the participants and enjoy music, awards, food and beverages, all at Marina Green. Among the vendors will be the Lions Clubs serving barbecue, with proceeds benefitting the groups’ civic activities, and Tofurky serving up vegan options. Local favorite Tony “Loop Ninja” Smiley performs at 2 p.m.

With the help of the community, this first-year event looks poised to evolve into a an event of multi-sport excellence combining the best aspects of the Cycling Classic, Gorge Games, and even Bend’s venerable Pole Pedal Paddle.

Good luck, have fun, and be safe, all those involved in Hood2River.

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