Wheels on the Bike Go Round and Round: Eagle Point Cycling Challenge is A Ride for Everybody
Cyclists all around the Rogue Valley are gearing up for the sixth annual Eagle Point Cycling Challenge. The bike ride, which will take place on Saturday, June 11, is actually made up of four separate courses starting and finishing at Harnish Wayside Park in Eagle Point.
The 10k is ideal for families and beginners as it takes riders on a short, 5 mile pedal around the perimeter of the city. Want more challenge? Then there are the 30k (15 mi) and 50k (31 mi) routes winding along valley floor for those looking to step it up a little. The 100k ride is in a class of its own. The rigorous, demanding route—which is actually closer to 67 miles than the traditional 62—climbs 3,700 vertical feet to the base of Mt. McLoughlin, and “that’s where the ‘challenge’ word comes in,” according to event organizer Alan Curriston.
Curriston, who was in charge of organizing the past five Cycling Challenges, got some help from Siskiyou Velo this year. The bicycling club—the largest and most active in Southern Oregon—was crucial in helping organize the event and many of its volunteers will be there for the challenge, whether they are participating in the ride or giving out water.
Siskiyou Velo has over 200 members and a board of directors that meets regularly. The club sponsors rides, helps with rider education and is involved with advocacy work in the area. According to club president Donald Coker, one of the primary goals of the club is “to improve the safety of cyclists in the state and in Jackson County.” This means working in conjunction with the Department of Transportation, law enforcement and city officials to create bike lanes, erect signs and raise awareness so that cyclists can feel safer on the road.
Viki Brown, who serves on the board of directors for Siskiyou Velo, took the reins from Curriston this year as chief organizer for this year’s ride. “Actually, it’s a group effort;” she says, “a co-sponsorship between Siskiyou Velo bicycle club and the city of Eagle Point.”
According to Curriston, the bike ride had its roots in the Eagle Point Centennial Celebration back in 2011, when city officials saw it as a way of drawing attention to the city. The city decided to host multiple rides of varying degrees of difficulty in order to appeal to a broad range of riders.
The Cycling Challenge has been managed as a “break even” event in years past, only bringing in enough money to pay for itself. This year, however, thanks to the partnership with Siskiyou Velo, there should be some revenue generated by the event. Profits will be split evenly between the city and the cycling club, and help them forward their missions.
The routes for the 100k and 30k have been modified since 2015, but they still feature some pretty spectacular scenery. With the exception of the urban 10k, all of the rides take cyclists east from Eagle Point on quiet country roads toward the shadow of the Southern Cascades.
Riders are required to wear helmets. The three longer rides are supported, meaning there will be at least one food and water station on the route along with a follower vehicle at the tail end of each group. There will also be a post-ride celebration at the finish line with a catered lunch for all riders.
Registration fees vary depending on the length of the route. Cyclists can register the day of the event, but a late charge will be added after June 1. Registration information and other details can be found on Siskiyou Velo’s website: siskiyouvelo.org/eagle-point-cycling-challenge-2016