Beverly Lucas wanted to create an event that was part elite racing, part trade show and part outdoors festival.
The end product is Outdoor City USA, a multisport extravaganza set for Sept. 13-15 at Mt. Bachelor’s West Village Lodge area.
The event offers cycling, running, rock climbing and hiking activities for all ages and skill levels, including races, clinics and product demos.
Lucas, a longtime Bend resident and mother who has worked in the cycling industry for many years, says she got the idea after attending the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California, which is billed as the world’s premier cycling festival.
“I had the idea of doing something like Sea Otter to serve the Pacific Northwest,” Lucas says. “It was my feeling to create more of a festival. Take all the best parts of a trade show, a race and a music festival and cram them into one place, so that there’s something to see and something to do the entire time.”
Scheduled events and races that require registration include group road rides, downhill and cross-country mountain bike races, cyclocross races, gravel grinder bike races, kids balance bike races, speed and open wall climbing, 5-kilometer and 10K mountain trail runs, and a family run/walk.
The festival centerpiece is the Elite Twilight Cross Cascades cyclocross race on Sept. 14, which will be staged in conjunction with a party offering locally brewed beer, food, and live music.
Admission to the Outdoor City USA festival and expo venue is free, and event registration is free for youth ages 16 and under. (Event registration for ages 17 and older ranges from $15 to $85.)
“The biggest takeaway is it’s a family event and it’s not exclusive,” Lucas says. “As a parent, it’s so expensive to get to these things and take kids, and I just wanted to make it all-inclusive and make everybody feel welcome, and not be a drain on their wallets. Hopefully that will encourage more kids to get on bikes, and to run.”
Lucas has worked for Felt Bicycles and founded Knight Composites wheels in Bend in 2013. She has worked in product management, engineering and sales, and she has experience working at bike races from the Cascade Cycling Classic to the Tour de France, as well as downhill mountain bike World Cups.
This past April, Lucas attended Sea Otter not as a business person but as a mom, with her 13-year-old stepson. She says she was struck by how race-oriented Sea Otter is and how it did not necessarily appeal to spectators or youngsters.
“I just saw much more at Bachelor than the (Sea Otter) venue at Laguna Seca, where it’s more difficult to see things,” Lucas says. “The road race and downhill mountain biking are too far away. The gravel ride and cross-country mountain bike race are somewhere else. Having a venue where all the races and events are going on in one place is absolutely spectacular. Mt. Bachelor totally filled that gap.”
Outdoor City USA will also serve as an opportunity for consumers to test products.
“I’ve always been a big believer in consumer engagement,” Lucas says.
Interbike trade show in Nevada — relocated from Las Vegas to Reno in 2018 — was North America’s largest bicycle trade event for 37 years until it was canceled for this year. It was typically held in September, so Lucas hopes that Outdoor City USA can partially fill that void.
Cross Vegas was a high-profile cyclocross race held in conjunction with Interbike.
“The only reason a lot of people went to Interbike was for Cross Vegas,” Lucas says. “It was such a spectacle.”
Lucas called on Bend’s Brad Ross, a longtime cyclocross and bike race organizer, to design the course for the Elite Twilight Cross Cascades at Bachelor and for the age-group cyclocross races on Sept. 15.
“It’s sort of an outdoor version of Interbike,” Ross says of Outdoor City USA. “The (cyclocross) race is right there in the middle of it. We designed the course in such a way that it’s integrated right into the trade show. But then it’s also a place where you can do demo stuff. It’s all right there. You’re not in a great big convention hall, you’re at Mount Bachelor.”
Lucas says she is planning Outdoor City USA as an annual September event at Bachelor. She adds that a version of the event will also be staged at an East Coast location in October 2020, and she is looking at expanding to Britain and Germany as well.
“It will be back in Bend in September 2020,” she says. “The whole event resonates with so many people as a future for trade and industry.”