Two days of bicycling opportunities along the Oregon Outback Scenic Bikeway delivered with the hugely successful Tour de Outback Aug. 1-2.
Starting with a social ride Friday evening from Hunter’s Hot Springs to Warner Ski Hill, the main events took place Saturday, Aug. 2 with four different rides available based on skill set, anywhere from 16 miles to 100 miles stretching from the Lake County Fairgrounds to Plush and Adel. Riders attempting the century ride gathered at the Lake County Fairgrounds early Saturday morning to prepare for the grueling day ahead, with almost 20 taking on the 100-mile loop.
In all nearly 40 bike enthusiasts joined in the fun, pushing themselves to new physical limits while enjoying all that the Oregon Outback has to offer. High winds tested many of the bikers, particularly in the stretch from Plush to Adel, bringing the pace to a crawl. Others ran into difficulties, one biker suffering severe leg cramps, another breaking a spoke, and a third ironically suffering a flat tire from a staple left on the road after he had spilled a bucket of staples the night before while setting up signs along the route.
Bicyclists flocked to Lake County to participate in the Tour de Outback from as far away as Bend, Tigard, Portland and Klamath Falls. Volunteers operated multiple aid stations along the path, providing drinks and snacks, while others drove support vehicles known as SAG wagons for any riders needing medical attention or bike repairs. The ride promised “more critters than cars,” and delivered on that promise with as many cows, dogs and other animals encountered along the way as there were passing vehicles.
“I appreciate empty roads and great people,” said Bill Kennedy of Klamath Falls during a stop in Plush at the Hart Mountain Store. An avid rider, Kennedy is participating in the Bridge Pedal in Portland next weekend, and plans to pedal across Maine in September.
With starting locations at the fairgrounds, Camas Snow Park and Adel, the start times were spaced out so that bicyclists could group together along the route. Winds and uphill climbs separated the packs somewhat, but overall the response was overwhelmingly positive from all participants.
Each rider was given vouchers for a meal in Plush, Adel or Subway in Lakeview. A post-race social event was held by organizers back in Lakeview.
Sponsors of the event included Subway, Lake County Chamber of Commerce, Adel Store, Hart Mountain Store, Soroptimist International of Lakeview, Mazama Spring Water, Lakeview Sanitation, Bender’s Promotional Supplies & Apparel and Summer Lake Store.
For video of the Tour de Outback visit the Examiner’s youtube channel or www.lakecountyexam.com.