Majestic snow-topped mountains outline the high-desert skyline to create an outdoor playground in the American Northwest. Bend, Oregon is a warm and inviting mountain getaway where cycling is a way of life. With almost 30 miles of single track, gravel routes and smooth road biking through watercolor landscapes, it’s a cyclist’s dream-come-true. The possibilities are endless for all riders, no matter what style or ability level. Bend hosts many races throughout the year to give cyclists a chance to test themselves while exploring gravel back roads, logging trails, scenic bikeways, and epic downhill flows. The trails – and local breweries and positive vibes – are legendary in Central Oregon.
Breakaway Promotions is leading the charge to offer more races for gravel lovers. In April, they hosted the Cascade Gravel Grinder, one of the most scenic and challenging races in the country. The omnium format allows riders the option of doing one, two or all three stages of the event. Friday’s ride was a time trial and really showcased who put in their hours on the trainer during the winter. The first day’s ride was worth half the points, whereas Saturday and Sunday were full point value. The rider with the most points on the last day was crowned champion.
Frosty fingers and crisp air ignited the senses on day one as we rode over low dust and compacted soil roads. Day two was a fast, rolling gravel course through the junipers with breath-taking views of the Cascade Mountain Range. The third day was the most challenging with nearly 6000 feet of climbing, but stocked stations made the grind a little sweeter. The event was well-organized with awesome support and a fun celebration at the end featuring a rocking band, tasty lunch and beer garden.
This June Breakaway Promotions launches the five-day Oregon Trail Gravel Grinder. The route journeys deep in to the wild country of the Cascades mountain range, with parts of the race following the Santiam Wagon Road used in the late 1800s. Riders will feel like they are part of the Wild West as they make their way through the high desert and then through dense foliage, along creeks and rivers, and over peaks that offer 360-degree views.
What to See & Do in Bend, Oregon
Riders visiting Bend have just as much fun off the bike as on. The town offers a tremendous outdoor experience beyond the trails, from coffee shops that roast on site, to locally sourced meals and breweries with award-winning craft brews. Whether you come to Bend to ride your road, mountain or gravel bike, there are enough trails to quench your cycling thirst. Sign up for a race, or just kick back with a cappuccino or a local craft brew and take in the rugged skyline and fresh mountain air. You’ll feel deeply satisfied and refreshed after your time in Bend.
Wheels, Meals & More
- Sunny Sport Cycles
- Sagebrush Cycles
- 900 Wall
- Backporch Roasters
- Jackson’s Corner
- Old Mill District
- Humm Kombucha
- Immersion Brewing Company
Hiking & Running Trails
Jill Cederholm is a member of KÜHL’s Cycling team. She’s a former collegiate swimmer and professional triathlete, and she recently finished atop the women’s podium at the 2019 TransPortugal race. She resides in Mendota Heights, Minnesota with her husband.