Serene alpine lakes to open water train. Scenic bikeways that make pounding the pedals for hours a pleasure. And more than 60 miles of paved and un-paved running trails in the city of Bend alone (never mind the 300+ miles of Central Oregon mountain biking trails that are also open to runners.)
Central Oregon offers everything you need to train for a triathlon. But you don’t ever have to do one.
The Perfect Training Ground
The swimming, biking and running opportunities in Central Oregon are endless and offer scenery that the locals will tell you makes exercising worth getting up for in the morning.
We’re an active community because we’re an active community. Newcomers find that if they didn’t swim, bike or run (or ski, snowboard, fish, golf, kayak, climb, etc.) before they got here, they’re just a couple of beers and barbecue away from being coaxed into trying (getting hooked) on one (or all.) Visitors flock here to do all of the above.
The people here make it easy to get into something new.
Local bike shops like Hutch’s and The Hub Cyclery offer mid-week “no drop” group road and mountain bike rides that allow novice cyclists to draft and shred with professionals. An active masters swimming community welcomes all comers to their events including the Cascade Lakes Swim Series at beautiful Elk Lake. And if someone’s not in church on Sunday they’re most likely signed up for one of the more than 40 fundraising (and just plan fun) runs held here throughout the year.
(Bend’s “I Like Pie Run” draws thousands for a Thanksgiving morning run that’s followed by, of course, pie and generates tons (literally) of canned goods for the local food bank.)
Professional race organizers have taken notice.
Bend’s home to the nation’s longest running road cycling race, the Cascade Cycling Classic. We host national championship road races and in 2015, Mt. Bachelor will welcome the mountain bike national championships.
But the biggest event of all happens each June in Sunriver.
The Pacific Crest Sports Weekend Sports Festival and Triathlon, will bring some 6,000 athletes to the area to participate in a slew of events including Olympic and long-course triathlons, duathlons, marathons, 10ks and more in a family-friendly event with something for everyone.
What the Pros Say
Those who have been here for it say it’s much more than a competition.
“Pacific Crest Triathlon is a very special race to me. The event is spectacular in many ways. The nature and beauty of the race course is unbeatable. It
truly brings me back to why I choose to compete in triathlons competitively. Whenever I envision the “perfect race”, I always think about competing at Pacific Crest. It’s local, super organized and laid back. It’s truly a unique destination race and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I wish all of my other race experiences could match up to the atmosphere at Pacific Crest Triathlon.”
– Mackenzie Madison, professional triathlete and coach
“The Pacific Crest Triathlon is more than just a scenic, well put together race, it holds a dear place in my heart. Five years ago I finished my first Olympic Duathlon there. It was my first race as a left arm amputee. After learning how to swim, I returned in 2013 and successfully raced the Olympic Tri course. The hilly, tree lined bike portion is my favorite. It is well paved, scenic and serene. I enjoyed going through all of my gears as I made my way from the lake to Sunriver. The run is on the paved path that meanders through the vacation homes. It is where you will find spectators cheering you on and fueling you with their energy….The event forms an instant community there. It is an easy place to entertain your friends and family at, while creating experiences to last a lifetime.
— Tisa Cawthon 2013 USA Para-triathlon National Champion, TRI-4
That’s what the professionals say. But what about you? Is this the year you cross that marathon off your bucket list? Did you write down “do a triathlon” in your journal on January 1st? Are you ready to take yourself to a new sporting level?
Either way, Central Oregon’s waiting for you with an encouraging nudge to give it a go.
(Who knows, there might be pie at the end.)