Twin Paths to Glory The 39th Annual Mt. Ashland Hill Climb Bike Race
Few outdoor activities compare to the pleasures of riding a bike. The cool and refreshing wind, the rest of the world flashing by in a continuous, blurring stream, the thrill of competition, these elements can be brought together to bring out the best in us. This is where the 39th Annual Mt. Ashland Hill Climb bike race comes in. For nearly 40 years, the Rogue Valley Race Group, which prides itself on its involvement in numerous local athletic events, has put on this race for cyclists in the valley, and with this year’s contest being the OBRA (Oregon Bicycle Racing Association) 2018 Championship race, it promises to be a thrilling one indeed.
On September 30, the race begins in Lithia Park in downtown Ashland. From here, the racers will battle steep elevation and distance to reach the Mt. Ashland Ski Lodge.
“It’s been going on a long time, as with a lot of the other races that we do, it’s a community effort to keep them going,” says Chad Scott, co-owner of the Rogue Valley Race Group. With such a legacy, racers have an opportunity to take part in the race’s history.
The race itself seems to promise some rather interesting features. “The thing I think that we’re most proud of is that it’s unique. A lot of mountain bike races are downhill or cross-country. This one is to the top of the Mt. Ashland Ski Lodge. Road bike races aren’t mountain bikers and mountain bikers aren’t road bikers, and you’re pitting two different kinds of bikers against each other,” says Scott.
It will all come down to mountain bikers versus road bikers, both of whom take their own separate routes along the course. According to Scott, while the road is 24 miles of pavement, and the mountain trail is only 18 miles, riders taking on the mountain trail will be faced with greater difficulty. A wonderfully dramatic feature of the race is the point at which the last two miles of the two courses come together, allowing all racers, road cyclist and mountain biker alike, to finish the course together. In this writer’s opinion, bringing all competitors together to finish the race sounds like the end of a spectacular sports film! Two trails, one goal: total victory!
This year, the Rogue Valley has been greatly affected by smoke from the various fires along the west coast. Thus, the Rogue Valley Race Group and OBRA have seen fit to move the race date to September 30. “We want to continue, so we didn’t want to cancel.” Says Scott. “We can’t guess when the smoke is going to leave, but we thought that the end of September, based on the containment of the forest fires, the forecast might be clearer.” With the smoke having lingered over the valley for nearly a month recently, this decision may prove to have been for the best, as it gives the air quality a chance to improve, and gives the riders time to recover from the nasty conditions.
Mt. Ashland Hill Climb
Sunday, September 30
Downtown Ashland and Mt. Ashland