Stage 1: McKenzie Pass Road Race
When: Wednesday, July 19; pro men, 9 a.m. start, 108 miles; pro women, 10 a.m. start, 89 miles.
Breaking down the stage: Wednesday’s stage 1 of the CCC is another updated version of the McKenzie Pass Road Race. The stage will start at Crook County High School in Prineville for the men and at Prineville Reservoir for the women. The pro men will head south along the Crooked River Gorge, then ride west through Alfalfa before looping back north through Powell Butte and Redmond. They will then travel west through Sisters and up the finishing climb atop McKenzie Pass along state Highway 242. The women will follow the same route, but starting at the reservoir makes their race about 19 miles shorter.
Best place to watch: Arrive early at the Dee Wright Observatory at the top of McKenzie Pass to watch the finish.
Stage 2: Skyliners Time Trial
When: Thursday, July 20; pro men, 10 a.m. start, 14.3 miles; pro women, start time TBD after men, 14.3 miles.
Breaking down the stage: The time-trial stage is new this year, but it has been raced many times before in past Cascade Classics. The course is the same for the pro men and women. Cyclists will start at Pacific Crest Middle School in west Bend and race on an out-and-back route along Skyliners Road. The route includes a gradual climb on the way out and descends on the way back to the finish at W.E. Miller Elementary School.
Best place to watch: The most accessible place for spectators is the start/finish area near the schools.
Stage 3: Cascade Lakes Road Race
When: Friday, July 21; pro men, 10 a.m. start, 108 miles; pro women, 11:30 a.m. start, 88 miles.
Breaking down the stage: Both races start at Bend’s Summit High School and finish at Kapka Butte Sno-park near Mount Bachelor. Both fields will head west along Century Drive then south on Forest Road 45 toward Sunriver. The fields will then turn back west toward Crane Prairie Reservoir. The men will circle the reservoir twice before heading back north and then east along Cascade Lakes Highway toward the finish. The women will loop around the reservoir just once before riding toward the finish.
Best place to watch: The finish at Kapka Butte Sno-park should feature an exciting sprint among the cyclists in the lead group.
Stage 4: Downtown Twilight Criterium
When: Saturday, July 22; pro women, 5:10 p.m. start, 50 minutes; pro men, 6:30 p.m. start, 75 minutes.
Breaking down the stage: This stage brings the cycling action into the heart of downtown Bend as large crowds gather to watch the speeding cyclists turn corner after corner. The start/finish line is located on Wall Street, close to the intersection with Franklin Avenue. Each lap includes four 90-degree turns as the fields make their way around and around a clockwise circuit consisting of Wall Street, Idaho Avenue, Bond Street and Oregon Avenue. Expect high speeds on the straightaways and plenty of action along the way as riders fight for sprint points at intermediate stages of the race.
Best place to watch: If you can watch only one stage, make it this one. The nonstop action of cyclists speeding around four corners in downtown Bend makes this a must-see stage. Pretty much anyplace along the route makes for good viewing. The finish line is usually packed with spectators.
Stage 5: Awbrey Butte Circuit Race
When: Sunday, July 23; pro men, 11 a.m. start, five laps, 82 miles; pro women, noon start, three laps, 49 miles.
Breaking down the stage: Both races will start off Northwest College Way in west Bend, near Central Oregon Community College, and finish with a steep climb up Northwest Summit Drive, also near COCC. The hilly, looping final stage of the Cascade Cycling Classic passes by both Shevlin Park and Tumalo State Park and includes a stiff climb up Archie Briggs Road — where the strongest climbers often make their moves — toward the end of each circuit.
Best place to watch: The climb up Archie Briggs Road is THE place to watch some of the best U.S. cyclists earn their livings. The pro men will ride it a lung- and leg-busting five times. The finishing climb could make for a dramatic conclusion on the final stage.