Bulletin Staff Report

More than 1,500 cyclists will converge on Central Oregon on Monday and Tuesday as part of the seven-day Cycle Oregon Classic, which starts in Oakridge, southeast of Eugene, on Sunday.

Along nearly 500 miles and more than 25,000 feet of climbing, road cyclists will ride over mountain passes, through lava fields and past scenic rivers.

This year, Cycle Oregon will take riders through the communities of Rainbow, Tumalo, La Pine, Diamond Lake and more, according to a news release. Cyclists will also ride around Crater Lake National Park.

On Monday, riders will depart Rainbow and cycle via Highway 126 and the Old McKenzie Highway to Sisters.

From there they go on to Tumalo State Park north of Bend, where they will set up camp for the night. The total mileage for the day is 67.3 miles, with nearly 5,000 feet of elevation gain.

On Tuesday, riders will depart Tumalo State Park and head through Bend to the Cascade Lakes Highway, where they will climb for 10 miles before riding south toward Sunriver and ultimately La Pine for another night of tent camping. Total mileage for Tuesday is 55.3, with an elevation gain of more than 3,000 feet.

According to the release, Cycle Oregon, which started in 1988, is a fully supported tour that includes directions, rest stops, roving bike mechanics, camping gear, meals and live music. Cyclists are able to ride at their own pace.

“Cycle Oregon offers a unique perspective of the state, all the while managing every last detail,” Steve Schulz, Cycle Oregon executive director, was quoted in the release. “For many who come from around the United States and the world, completing Cycle Oregon’s weeklong Classic is a bucket list experience. For others, the ride is an annual pilgrimage to new places and an opportunity to reconnect with friends.”

Riders in this year’s Cycle Oregon Classic paid a $1,050 entry fee. Proceeds from the Classic and Cycle Oregon’s other rides go to the Cycle ­Oregon Fund, which, according to the release, helps preserve and protect the special places of Oregon and supports community development projects. Over the last 20 years, Cycle Oregon has awarded more than 300 grants totaling $2.2 million.

Schulz said Cycle Oregon is becoming “part of the fabric of Oregon’s rural communities.

“That means hiring local organizations to assist with event logistics, buying food from local farmers, featuring local beer and wine, and supporting local nonprofit through the Cycle Oregon Fund,” Schulz said.

For more information, visit www.cycleoregon.com.

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