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Ideas on big events for 2013 my race schedule

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Ideas on big events for 2013 my race schedule

Old 11-26-12, 05:17 PM
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Ideas on big events for 2013 my race schedule

I'm turning my attention to the 2013 race season, and in order for me to think things through I was curious to hear from people who have race any/multiple/all of these. I'll be racing at the Cat 3/Masters 35+/possibly Cat 2 level, if that is relevant. I raced quite a bit last year (roughly 35 starts, but to put it in context most events involved a minimum of a 4-5h drive each way); I'll probably race a bit less this year in order to use some of that travel time for training/recovery. I'm a stage racer at heart, so I want to keep those and just sprinkle in a few other closer races to stay fresh, rather than travel every single weekend.

I've gotten some good info from friends, but I wanted to get this in front of the eyes of more racers for additional feedback/perspectives. Comparisons of these events against one another are particularly helpful. I need to weigh whether they'll be worth the travel time for me -- and/or time away from the family particularly for those that are not in great non-cycling locations.

Here are premiere events I'm considering. I'd probably pick one of these per month, at most. The only two "definites" are in late July & early September. I'd like to get the bigger ones on my calendar then rough in the smaller events and plan my training.

Thanks for any thoughts!
  • Valley of the Sun (Phoenix, AZ) TT/RR/Crit: Seems fun, good competition, but as it is in February it's a bit early. (I train indoors Nov-April). It's about 16h by car. The winner of the TT seems to take all. I'd want to drive as it would be necessary to take road & TT bike.
  • Tour del Sol (St George, UT): Pretty good little stage race (TT / Crit / RR). It's in late March and is "only" about 8h away. Draws from Vegas and SLC, so probably not as diverse a group as others.
  • San Dimas (CA): Late March...was thinking I could dovetail this into a warm-weather trip for the family but weather may be iffy for this area/this time of year, I hear. Courses sound pretty neat. Uphill TT means traveling with only one bike = a bit easier. Still early for me, but the competition here sounds intense.
  • Battenkill (Upstate NY): I'm signed up for this. The race calls to me, though it means figuring out the air-travel-with-bike thing. Could prove a little cost prohibitive (air + bike box + bike transit + hotel + car rental).
  • Tour of the Gila (Silver City, NY): 3xRR + Crit & TT. This is another race that has intrigued me. I feel I could do pretty well. It is a LONG drive...16, 17h, though I have friends in Moab and could probably split it up. It's also in the middle of nowhere, so not a place to bring my family. That makes the 5-day format (which I like as a racer) a bit of a curse, as it's about a full week to be gone.
  • Mt Hood (Hood River, OR): RR/TT/Crit/RR. Early June. I've done this race twice. Love the area, most memorable roads. Maybe the scariest race for me, but the appeal of riding on those roads inspired me to get deeper into racing my bike. 10h travel isn't too bad.
  • Baker City Classic (was Elkhorn Classic) (Baker City, OR): RR/TT/Crit/RR. Late June. It's probably "only" 7h from me. I've heard good things about the courses. The competition is probably more local than the big ones (Gila, Hood, Cascade). Probably a solo trip. Baker City is pretty much the middle of nowhere.
  • Cascade (Bend, OR): RR/TT/Crit/RR. Late July. Love this event. Love Bend. Family loves Bend. No brainer--this one I am 100% sure about.
  • Masters Nationals (Bend, OR): RR/TT. Early September. Another no-brainer for me. 100% on the calendar.
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Old 11-26-12, 07:13 PM
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Valley of the SUn is pretty basic: no big frills. Except for the sheer # of racers/teams and the fact that alot of national-level teams come out. You're right: TT wins.

As for airfare: Frontier Airlines has a nice package that basically gets you bike transport for $50 plus one suitcase (total of 2). (As long as the bike case is hard shell.) If you can find them to go near New York (I used them to Nashville, once.)
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Old 11-26-12, 07:37 PM
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I just returned to racing this year, after a many year hiatus, and raced all the OR stage races and Tour of Walla Walla in WA as a master A.

I agree with you on Hood and Cascade - love them. Baker City was a fun race with a decent size field. The Harmony Homes guys were there along with some guys from Northern CA. The final day is a 108 mile point to point race with an 8 mile climb to finish on - great stage!

In all of the stage races I did the winner was decided in the TT so I really think two bikes are needed for these.

Of course, Nationals is Nationals. Love the home town race.

Would really like to go to Tour of Gila next year.

Good luck
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Old 11-26-12, 08:22 PM
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Bend is great. Definitely Masters Nationals.

Have you thought about Everest Challenge?
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Old 11-26-12, 08:59 PM
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Watching this.... I'm picking next year's races too and also like stage races. Interested in Tour of the Gila. I've ridden down there a little, very challenging terrain.

Did you consider Dead Dog Classic? Can't remember if we talked about that one last year... I enjoyed it. I would think you know about it since it's in Laramie.
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Old 11-26-12, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by tetonrider

Thanks for any thoughts!

Originally Posted by tetonrider
[*]Tour del Sol (St George, UT): Pretty good little stage race (TT / Crit / RR). It's in late March and is "only" about 8h away. Draws from Vegas and SLC, so probably not as diverse a group as others.
Dunno.

Originally Posted by tetonrider
[*]San Dimas (CA): Late March...was thinking I could dovetail this into a warm-weather trip for the family but weather may be iffy for this area/this time of year, I hear. Courses sound pretty neat. Uphill TT means traveling with only one bike = a bit easier. Still early for me, but the competition here sounds intense.
Weather is iffy if rain is iffy. Best of the best in your age group. Monster Media, et al. Come over for dinner, if you need help with shipping the bikes or logistics I'm your Huckleberry.

Originally Posted by tetonrider
[*]Battenkill (Upstate NY): I'm signed up for this. The race calls to me, though it means figuring out the air-travel-with-bike thing. Could prove a little cost prohibitive (air + bike box + bike transit + hotel + car rental).
See you there. One day thing, haven't done it, but it's one of my "A" races this coming season.

Originally Posted by tetonrider
[*]Tour of the Gila (Silver City, NY): 3xRR + Crit & TT. This is another race that has intrigued me. I feel I could do pretty well. It is a LONG drive...16, 17h, though I have friends in Moab and could probably split it up. It's also in the middle of nowhere, so not a place to bring my family. That makes the 5-day format (which I like as a racer) a bit of a curse, as it's about a full week to be gone.
Incorrect. Silver City is a very cool town with lots of galleries and several really good restaurants. Numerous historical places to visit (it's sort of ground zero for the Anasazi) and a ton of outdoor activities for the family. The race is hell. In a good way. Best/hardest stage race I've done (twice). If you want an inkling of what a GT rider feels like go. The higher up you are on GC the nastier it is and the more you realize why Cadel threatened to beat people up if they stepped on his dog.

If you think you're a stage racer, Gila will let you know. Nothing else like it in the US.

Originally Posted by tetonrider
[*]Baker City Classic (was Elkhorn Classic) (Baker City, OR): RR/TT/Crit/RR. Late June. It's probably "only" 7h from me. I've heard good things about the courses. The competition is probably more local than the big ones (Gila, Hood, Cascade). Probably a solo trip. Baker City is pretty much the middle of nowhere.
Friends have done this and it received mixed reviews. Ran out of water one year. (shrug)

Originally Posted by tetonrider
[*]Cascade (Bend, OR): RR/TT/Crit/RR. Late July. Love this event. Love Bend. Family loves Bend. No brainer--this one I am 100% sure about.
Maybe see you there.

Originally Posted by tetonrider
[*]Masters Nationals (Bend, OR): RR/TT. Early September. Another no-brainer for me. 100% on the calendar.

Definitely see you there.

Originally Posted by mkadam68
Valley of the SUn is pretty basic: no big frills. Except for the sheer # of racers/teams and the fact that alot of national-level teams come out. You're right: TT wins.
Incorrect. I've seen the TT winner shellacked. Actually I was one of the guys with the brush.

Good tune up race, though not really special in any way. Las Vegas is the following weekend though and is a better course from the looks of it.

Some other stuff to consider:

Mar 15-17th Tucson Classic
Apr 18th-20th Sea Otter...not a stage race but great spot for the family and racing on the Laguna Seca GP course is pretty special. Crit, circuit, and RR plus a fondo. I have a love/hate thing with them.

FWIW Sea Otter is as far as I've looked out the road calendar. After that I'm focusing on Track Nats then I'll ramp into road stuff again.

Last edited by Racer Ex; 11-26-12 at 09:54 PM.
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Old 11-26-12, 11:50 PM
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Originally Posted by mkadam68
As for airfare: Frontier Airlines has a nice package that basically gets you bike transport for $50 plus one suitcase (total of 2). (As long as the bike case is hard shell.) If you can find them to go near New York (I used them to Nashville, once.)
Thanks for that. Southwest also sounds like a good option if I'm willing to drive 4-5h to get to SLC. I may need to invest in a good bike case.

Originally Posted by Andy STi
In all of the stage races I did the winner was decided in the TT so I really think two bikes are needed for these.
Thanks for the comments. I really love riding my TT bike, so any reason to race it is a great opportunity for me. (On a related note, no stage race I did last year was won by the person with the best TT...)

I know Baker City is not to the level of Hood & Cascade, but that may not be a bad thing.

Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
Have you thought about Everest Challenge?
Yes--I've done it before. I don't put it on the same list as -- and it is just my opinion -- it is more like a fitness test than a race (in the way that the other ones I listed are races, at least). I mean, there are elements of racing in it, but the sheer amount of climbing generally means w/kg wins out and tactics don't play as big a role. (I absolutely love riding in the Bishop area and plan to return for this, I just don't want to put it as a goal event on my calendar--and part of that is because it is so late in September that I am pretty burnt after racing/training hard. Also, I'm thinking I might make a run for the Pyrenees or something in late September, after my racing pressure is off. )

Originally Posted by valygrl
Watching this.... I'm picking next year's races too and also like stage races. Interested in Tour of the Gila. I've ridden down there a little, very challenging terrain.

Did you consider Dead Dog Classic? Can't remember if we talked about that one last year... I enjoyed it. I would think you know about it since it's in Laramie.
Ah....thanks for the reminder about Dead Dog. It's in my home state..."only" 6+ hours away. I've actually never ridden it. I think in the past it has conflicted with another event on my calendar.

By the way...your username sounds familiar, maybe from supertopo days?

I hear the wind at the Gila is the real killer.
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Old 11-27-12, 12:01 AM
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Thanks, Ex. Glad you chimed in as you are one of a few who has experience in many of these.

Originally Posted by Racer Ex
[battenkill]
See you there. One day thing, haven't done it, but it's one of my "A" races this coming season.
I have to weigh the idea of possible family trip + battenkill + gila all within 3 weeks. I'd love to do it all.

Originally Posted by Racer Ex
Incorrect. Silver City is a very cool town ...
Good to know! My family -- ideally -- wants to go somewhere warm, somewhere with water (ocean preferred) during our mud season (early April). Silver City doesn't fit that bill, but maybe it's worth a bit more consideration.

I absolutely DO want to test myself as a stage racer. I'm used to 4 races in 3 days...5 races in 5 days is VERY appealing to me, esp with the intensity of those stages.

Originally Posted by Racer Ex
[baker city]
Friends have done this and it received mixed reviews. Ran out of water one year. (shrug)
Yeah, again I don't expect it to be at the same level as the big ones, but there's a bunch less travel. might be good as a small carrot just to stay race-ready for my bigger goals. I think last year was the first year under a new race director.

Originally Posted by Racer Ex
[valley of the sun]
Incorrect. I've seen the TT winner shellacked. Actually I was one of the guys with the brush.
interesting. seems like generally the TT winner is going to win the GC or be right up there because the terrain in the RR is not particularly hard enough to cause a selection...or so i've been told. Of course, a selection can be made on any terrain, as you've continually proven.

Originally Posted by Racer Ex
[Still VoS]
Good tune up race, though not really special in any way. Las Vegas is the following weekend though and is a better course from the looks of it.
What's in Vegas? The new Valley of Fire one, or something else? I probably need to decide upon VoS sooner rather than later as it's the earliest one on my calendar. Sounds like it may not be worth the drive time (and loss of training). It's ~30h in the car.



Originally Posted by Racer Ex
Mar 15-17th Tucson Classic
Apr 18th-20th Sea Otter...not a stage race but great spot for the family and racing on the Laguna Seca GP course is pretty special. Crit, circuit, and RR plus a fondo. I have a love/hate thing with them.
Thanks for the ideas. Sea Otter may be something to work with a family trip, though it would rule out Battenkill.

I appreciate ALL the thoughts (from you & the other responders).
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Old 11-27-12, 01:40 AM
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Vegas is the Valley of the Fire. It's a bit of a redux from an older Vegas SR. The terrain would be a bit more challenging, the drive maybe a bit less. 30 hours to VOS would be a tough sell for me, just not that epic and you'd be in with a bunch of SoCals who trained through the winter in horrible 58 degree weather. Of course that would be the same with Vegas.

Most of the early races outside of AZ could be great weather or nasty. Late March/early April is pretty hit or miss and I've been drizzled on in AZ at VOS.

One race I left off is the Ft. Davis Hammerfest in TX. It's definitely a "middle of nowhere" event in many ways, but it's a cool area and a really great/challenging race, much better than some of the ones listed. The hillclimb TT finishes with a couple of KM at 15%. Big Bend Nat'l park is just down the road.

There's also Madera, Chico and Topsport in Norcal; all are "interesting" in that they have sections of road that are either dirt or post gulf war bombed out pavement. Very strong fields. Madera and Topsport are in the gold rush foothills so there's some neat towns and history nearby, and Yosemite or Tahoe is a reasonable drive.

Chico is on the way to Shasta and Lassen parks.
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Old 11-27-12, 08:27 AM
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Oh yeah -- Steamboat. Probably doesn't work for your schedule, it's on Labor Day. I was going to do it last year but crashed & got hurt 3 weeks before instead, so I have no first had knowledge. It came highly recommended by some friends. Not sure if it's the level of competition you are looking for.
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Old 11-27-12, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by tetonrider


My family -- ideally -- wants to go somewhere warm, somewhere with water (ocean preferred) during our mud season (early April).
Sea Otter? It's not a stage race but there's road race, hilly circuit (on Laguna Seca race track) and crit. And lots of MTB racing. It's near the ocean. It can be anywhere from warm to not warm (by coastal California standards, which means 60 degrees and fog).
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Old 11-28-12, 12:35 AM
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Thanks for the additional comments/suggestions.

Originally Posted by Racer Ex
Vegas is the Valley of the Fire. It's a bit of a redux from an older Vegas SR. The terrain would be a bit more challenging, the drive maybe a bit less. 30 hours to VOS would be a tough sell for me, just not that epic and you'd be in with a bunch of SoCals who trained through the winter in horrible 58 degree weather. Of course that would be the same with Vegas.
Yeah...this is a big variable. Phoenix would be about 14-15h drive time, I think. Valley of Fire would be about 10, so that is substantially less. VoS, though, is guaranteed to have a big field. VoF is new (at least in the hands of a new promoter). The races look a bit on the short side.

VoS will have racers from AZ, CA, NV, UT and more. VoF I would think would have a bit less of a reach. Seems like it would be more along the lines of the SLC-area stage races.

Originally Posted by Racer Ex
One race I left off is the Ft. Davis Hammerfest in TX. It's definitely a "middle of nowhere" event in many ways, but it's a cool area and a really great/challenging race, much better than some of the ones listed. The hillclimb TT finishes with a couple of KM at 15%. Big Bend Nat'l park is just down the road.

There's also Madera, Chico and Topsport in Norcal; all are "interesting" in that they have sections of road that are either dirt or post gulf war bombed out pavement. Very strong fields. Madera and Topsport are in the gold rush foothills so there's some neat towns and history nearby, and Yosemite or Tahoe is a reasonable drive.

Chico is on the way to Shasta and Lassen parks.
I'll look into these. I've climbed/skied Shasta and Lassen, so I'm generally familiar with the area. Getting to the west side of the Sierras (eg Madera) is tricky when Tioga & Sonora Passes are closed.

Originally Posted by valygrl
Oh yeah -- Steamboat. Probably doesn't work for your schedule, it's on Labor Day. I was going to do it last year but crashed & got hurt 3 weeks before instead, so I have no first had knowledge. It came highly recommended by some friends. Not sure if it's the level of competition you are looking for.
I heard that this is a fun event, but between Cascade & Nationals (early Sept) I'll probably be tucked away in my bunker.


Originally Posted by ericm979
Sea Otter? It's not a stage race but there's road race, hilly circuit (on Laguna Seca race track) and crit. And lots of MTB racing. It's near the ocean. It can be anywhere from warm to not warm (by coastal California standards, which means 60 degrees and fog).
Thanks! I'll investigate.
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Old 11-28-12, 08:21 AM
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It sounds like the Everest Challenge is moved forward for 2013, to August 24/25.
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Old 11-28-12, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by ericm979
It sounds like the Everest Challenge is moved forward for 2013, to August 24/25.
That could make it a choice between altitude sickness or heat stroke. August can be really hot on the valley floor.
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Old 11-28-12, 10:24 AM
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i'm planning to request travel vouchers from my higher HQ for gila + nationals, no battenkill or cascade. we'll see whether they're approved ... 2 team mates are all in for gila with one other all in for nationals, we'd each fit into the 40+ demographic grouping.
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Old 11-28-12, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Racer Ex
That could make it a choice between altitude sickness or heat stroke. August can be really hot on the valley floor.
Now you get both! The bottom of the last climb each day, starting out on the valley floor at noon or 1pm, is going to be rough.
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Old 11-28-12, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by MDcatV
i'm planning to request travel vouchers from my higher HQ for gila + nationals, no battenkill or cascade. we'll see whether they're approved ... 2 team mates are all in for gila with one other all in for nationals, we'd each fit into the 40+ demographic grouping.
great! maybe i'll see you @ the gila, then. if you're serious about performance at nationals for the RR, it may be worth your time to ride cascade. aside from that, cascade is just a fantastic race and bend is a great town to hang in.

i'll be racing 40-44 at nationals this year.

ericm: thanks for the everest update. that is surprising considering what some of our mutual friends were saying a few months ago. well, guess it is officially off the calendar for me.
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Old 12-05-12, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by tetonrider
I'm turning my attention to the 2013 race season, and in order for me to think things through I was curious to hear from people who have race any/multiple/all of these. I'll be racing at the Cat 3/Masters 35+/possibly Cat 2 level, if that is relevant. I raced quite a bit last year (roughly 35 starts, but to put it in context most events involved a minimum of a 4-5h drive each way); I'll probably race a bit less this year in order to use some of that travel time for training/recovery. I'm a stage racer at heart, so I want to keep those and just sprinkle in a few other closer races to stay fresh, rather than travel every single weekend.

I've gotten some good info from friends, but I wanted to get this in front of the eyes of more racers for additional feedback/perspectives. Comparisons of these events against one another are particularly helpful. I need to weigh whether they'll be worth the travel time for me -- and/or time away from the family particularly for those that are not in great non-cycling locations.

Here are premiere events I'm considering. I'd probably pick one of these per month, at most. The only two "definites" are in late July & early September. I'd like to get the bigger ones on my calendar then rough in the smaller events and plan my training.

Thanks for any thoughts!
  • Valley of the Sun (Phoenix, AZ) TT/RR/Crit: Seems fun, good competition, but as it is in February it's a bit early. (I train indoors Nov-April). It's about 16h by car. The winner of the TT seems to take all. I'd want to drive as it would be necessary to take road & TT bike.
  • Tour del Sol (St George, UT): Pretty good little stage race (TT / Crit / RR). It's in late March and is "only" about 8h away. Draws from Vegas and SLC, so probably not as diverse a group as others.
  • San Dimas (CA): Late March...was thinking I could dovetail this into a warm-weather trip for the family but weather may be iffy for this area/this time of year, I hear. Courses sound pretty neat. Uphill TT means traveling with only one bike = a bit easier. Still early for me, but the competition here sounds intense.
  • Battenkill (Upstate NY): I'm signed up for this. The race calls to me, though it means figuring out the air-travel-with-bike thing. Could prove a little cost prohibitive (air + bike box + bike transit + hotel + car rental).
  • Tour of the Gila (Silver City, NY): 3xRR + Crit & TT. This is another race that has intrigued me. I feel I could do pretty well. It is a LONG drive...16, 17h, though I have friends in Moab and could probably split it up. It's also in the middle of nowhere, so not a place to bring my family. That makes the 5-day format (which I like as a racer) a bit of a curse, as it's about a full week to be gone.
  • Mt Hood (Hood River, OR): RR/TT/Crit/RR. Early June. I've done this race twice. Love the area, most memorable roads. Maybe the scariest race for me, but the appeal of riding on those roads inspired me to get deeper into racing my bike. 10h travel isn't too bad.
  • Baker City Classic (was Elkhorn Classic) (Baker City, OR): RR/TT/Crit/RR. Late June. It's probably "only" 7h from me. I've heard good things about the courses. The competition is probably more local than the big ones (Gila, Hood, Cascade). Probably a solo trip. Baker City is pretty much the middle of nowhere.
  • Cascade (Bend, OR): RR/TT/Crit/RR. Late July. Love this event. Love Bend. Family loves Bend. No brainer--this one I am 100% sure about.
  • Masters Nationals (Bend, OR): RR/TT. Early September. Another no-brainer for me. 100% on the calendar.
Dead Dog Classic in Laramie is a great SR.

Tour de Bozeman is in Bozeman MT and will be in it's 3rd or 4th year. Great area for the family.
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