The Oregon Triple Crown is unlike any other bike event series in the state: It’s sort of like a race, but it’s also just as much about participation; much of the terrain is in the mountains, but it’s not a mountain bike event; it’s organized and sanctioned, but it’s still got plenty of adventure and self-reliance is a necessary trait.
The Triple Crown is now in its sixth year and organizer Mike Ripley (Mudslinger Events) just announced this year’s dates and details. The series will consist of: the Oregon Coast Gravel Epic on May 5th, the Sasquatch Duro on May 19th, and the Oregon Gran Fondo on June 2nd. These three events offer a mix of terrain and challenges that should raise the eyebrows of any adventure-seeker.
Here’s a bit more on each event:
Oregon Coast Gravel Epic – May 5th in Waldport
The series sets its tone right from start. The Epic offers two routes: the Abomination with 60 miles and 6,677 feet of climbing or the Son of Abomination with 37 miles and 3,740 feet of climbing.
The routes consist almost entirely of logging roads, half of which are unpaved. Riders will come face-to-face with the deepest, darkest secrets of the Siuslaw National Forest southeast of the coastal town of Waldport. There will be aid stations along the course and registration also includes free socks and a post-ride Mexican feast and drinks worthy of Cinco De Mayo. 250 riders showed up for this one last year. For a recap of how it went, check out Mielle Blomberg’s comments via Ride With GPS. This one has been on my list since the start and this might be the year I finally check it off.
Sasquatch Duro – May 19th in Oakridge
This is the first time the OTC will be in Oakridge, which many of you already know as a mountain-biking mecca. Being a mountain biker himself (his Mudslinger cross-country event is a classic that’s been offered since 1991), Ripley knows all about Oakridge’s world-class trails; but he refer to the former logging town southeast of Eugene “the Kingdom of Gravel.” The Sasquatch Duro (“duro” as in hard) offers a 25, 30 or 45-mile route that rolls north for eight miles along the Willamette River on the amazing Aufderheide Scenic Byway before cutting into the dirt. Drop-bar bikes are still recommended, but Ripley says will want to run a minimum of 38mm tires because the “downhills may be a bit insane.” Everyone who enters will get a pair of custom wool socks and support on the course.
Oregon Grand Fondo – June 2nd in Cottage Grove
What the final event lacks in dirt and adventure, it makes up for in mileage and socializing. The Oregon Gran Fondo is a fondo in the truest sense of the term: A chance for riders of all abilities to experience the joys of road riding. Four routes will be offered — a 40, 71, 117, and a 137-mile route (that includes 10% gravel roads for good measure) — and the terrain will feature all of Oregon’s splendor in the hills and backroads west of Cottage Grove.
Taken alone, each one of these events is worth checking out. But as its name suggests, doing all three is a special accomplishment that comes with special perks like swag (including an Oregon Triple Crown jersey if you finish all three!), great meals and support, and time tracking for cumulative rankings and points (based on age groups). Ripley says demand is up so far this year and that over 60 people have already signed up to do all three. Get more details on the series pass here.
Asked why he puts on the series, Ripley told me, “Well, it’s a big world and I have been trying to bust people out of there comfort zones for 25 years. It’s all about adventure… if you don’t like fun time on the bike, don’t come!”
The series is made possible through sponsorships from Eugene-based Co-Motion Cycles and Rolf Prima Wheels. Learn more at OregonTripleCrown.com.
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