PUNXSUTAWNEY PHIL saw his shadow early last month, which means if he hasn’t done so yet, Old Man Winter will soon release his grip on the Inland Northwest. Once winter lets go, bicyclists will be able to trade in their skis, snowshoes and indoor trainers for the real thing, rubber on the road. This means it’s time to prepare for this summer’s rides. For more information on each ride, check the appropriate website.
SPOKANE BICYCLE CLUB sponsors regular rides of varying lengths and intensity. Non-members welcome. http://www.spokanebicycleclub.org.
BADLANDS CYCLING CLUB offers cyclists a chance to test their mettle with either a road race, time trial, circuit race or criterium nearly every Tuesday beginning April 10. One-day USCF licenses available. http://www.badlands.org.
SEATTLE INTERNATIONAL BIKE EXPO. While it may not be a ride, the 17th version of the expo is the third largest consumer bike show in the nation and the kickoff event for cycling in the Pacific Northwest. Billed as “bicycle everything” it features over 150 exhibitors showcasing the latest in cycling products, a vintage bicycle show, mountain bike stunt riders, presentations by the likes of former Postal Service rider Frankie Andreu and Danskin Tri-athlete Sally Edwards, and much more. March 10-11 http://www.cascade.org.
SPRING THAW DUATHLON SERIES. Emde Sports sponsors these early season training races. Competitors begin with a two-mile run on relatively flat, mostly dirt trail, followed by a 10-mile bike ride, again over fairly flat, undulating roads and conclude with a second two-mile run over the same trail as before. April 15 & May 20 http://www.emdesports.com.
NORTHWEST CRANK. Join cyclists from the Seattle International Randonneurs for a friendly week of riding and early season training in the Wenatchee area. Each day features three fully-supported rides over varied terrain. Maps and cue sheets provided for unsupported rides. April 26-30. http://www.seattlerandonneur.org or http://www.northwestcrank.com.
LILAC CENTURY SURPRISE. Three routes: 15-mile family route plus 50 and 100 miles, all fully supported. Famous Potato Feed! at the end. Century takes riders through Spokane’s West Plains and along the Spokane River/Long Lake/Lake Spokane with a fair bit of climbing. April 29. http://www.northdivision.com/lilac.htm
BEACON BLOWOUT WA STATE DOWNHILL CHAMPIONSHIPS. Beacon Hill/Camp Sekani, just off Upriver Drive. Beginner to Pro Categories. Qualify for Nationals or just go have some fun. Practice on Saturday, Race on the Sunday. USA Cycling licenses required and available on-site May 19 and 20. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
STEAMPLANT GRILL MOUNTAIN BIKE RACE SERIES. Six weeks of races for all levels held at Riverside State Park’s Seven Mile Airstrip; good for beginners, training or just to see how much get and go you’ve got in your legs. May 23 and 31, June 7, 14, 21 and 28. USA Cycling licenses required and available on-site. Email: email@example.com
SCENIC TOUR OF THE KOOTENAI RIVER (STOKR). The rider limit has been raised to 400 riders this year, 50 more than previously, but it still sold out in less than a week. For 2008 go to the website in mid-February. The ride-45 or 98 miles on day-one and 37 miles on day-two-benefits the Kootenai Valley Partners Habitat for Humanity. May 12-13. http://www.libbymt.com/events/stokr.htm.
TOUR OF THE SWAN RIVER VALLEY (TOSRV WEST). A two-day tour through some of western Montana’s most spectacular scenery. Riders choose from three routes with two start/finish points: Missoula for a 260-mile round trip or Potomac for a 200-mile round trip. A third option is Saturday’s extra-long century (116 miles) along the route of the original TOSRV-West, starting and stopping in Missoula with a Seeley Lake turnaround. This year’s ride returns to traditional late-May dates: May 19-20. http://www.missoulabike.org.
24-HOUR NORBA NW REGIONAL AND WASHINGTON STATE CHAMPIONSHIP. Ride your mountain bike around and around and around Riverside State Park’s 7-Mile Airstrip route for 24 hours, if you dare, alone or with teammates. May 26-27. http://www.roundandround.com.
WENATCHEE SUNRISE ROTARY APPLE CENTURY. Two routes, 50 or 100 miles, take cyclists along the Columbia River from Wenatchee to Silver Falls campground and back to a festival complete with beer garden. Late starters may end up battling head-winds in each direction. June 9. http://www.applebikeride.com.
RIDE AROUND THE PIONEERS IN ONE DAY (RATPOD). Starting and stopping in Dillon, Montana, this one-day, 157-mile ride with 7,000 feet of climbing benefits Camp Make-A-Dream. Ride through southwest Montana’s scenic Big Hole Valley, birthplace of heralded Discovery Channel Team rider Levi Leipheimer. Riders are encouraged to raise donations with prizes for top fundraisers. Limited to 450 riders. June 23. http://www.ratpod.com.
TOUR DE BLAST. The Longview Rotary Club offers a choice of 33, 67, or 82 mile rides through the heart of the Mount St. Helens blast zone and its incomparable scenery. Long route has over 6,000 feet of climbing and descending. June 23. http://www.tourdeblast.com.
TOUR OF THE COEUR D’ALENES. RoundandRound Events sponsors this one-day tour through the heart of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe’s ancestral territory. Start and stop in Wallace, Idaho. Cycle where the Coeur d’Alene tribe traditionally hunted, fished and lived. Distances range from 28 to 130 miles roundtrip. Family friendly ride. July 8. http://www.roundandround.com.
VALLEY KIDS TRIATHLON. Youngsters will race in several age groups with swims between 100 and 200 meters, bike rides either five or ten kilometers and runs of one or two-kilometers. July 14. http://www.emdesports.com.
VALLEY GIRL TRIATHLON. If you haven’t already registered, then you’ve missed out on this year’s women only sprint-distance triathlon. 2008 registration opens October 1. Those who have registered will swim one-third mile, bike 11.5 miles and finish with a three-mile run. July 15. http://www.emdesports.com.
SEATTLE TO PORTLAND (STP). Join nearly 9,000 of your cycling buddies from nearly every state in the union (44 in 2006) and more than a few foreign countries. Two-hundred miles in one and two-day options with baggage transport and limited overnight accommodations. July 14 – 15. http://www.cascade.org
RIDE AROUND MT. RAINIER IN ONE DAY (RAMROD). Perhaps the Northwest’s premiere one-day cycling event, Redmond Cycling Club’s RAMROD combines the beauty of Mount Rainier National Park with 10,000 feet of climbing over 154 miles. The Park Service limits participation to 800 cyclists selected via lottery on April 1. Course may change this year due to storm damage in the park. Special ride-ticket auction to help fund park repairs. Register by March 31. Ride on July 27. http://www.redmondcyclingclub.org/RAMROD.
EIGHT LAKES LEG ACHES. Riders choose from 30, 50 and 80 mile routes that take them to and around some or all of the following lakes in the Cheney/Spokane area: Willow, Granite, Silver, Medical, Clear, Chapel, Kepple and Fish Lakes. August 4. http://www.lcsnw.org/events.
RIDE AROUND WASHINGTON (RAW). This year’s Cascade Cycling Club ride-“Oysters to Onions”-leads up to 200 riders from Ocean Shores through the Columbia River Gorge, on both sides of the river, to Walla Walla. Ride 450 miles, roughly 70 miles a day, or more if you like, over seven days. Supported camping along the way. August 4 – 10. http://www.cascade.org.
GROUP HEALTH CYCLING THE BRIDGES. Cycle a figure-eight loop starting from High Bridge Park, north across Sandifur Bridge, through Riverfront Park and as far east as Mission Park before returning, covering 10 miles and crossing 10 bridges over the Spokane River. Ride is primarily on Centennial Trail, through a number of parks and largely car free. This is one of the more family friendly rides available. August 26. http://www.spokanecentennialtrail.org.
TOUR DE LACS. RoundandRound and Group Health sponsor this two-day journey from Spokane to Coeur d’Alene and back with routes ranging from 40 to 122 miles with plenty of climbing. Some routes include a boat ride from Harrison to Coeur d’Alene. Baggage transport provided. September 15-16. http://www.roundandround.com.
LIVESTRONG RIDE PORTLAND. Along with a registration fee, this ride requires a $500 fundraising minimum. Ride as an individual or part of a team. Course options include 10, 40, 70 and 100-mile routes. Raise $5000 and be invited to a pre-ride pasta dinner (no word if Lance will be there). Raise $15,000 and receive an invitation to the Ride for the Roses in Austin, Texas. September 29-30. http://www.livestrongride.com.