Mt Hood raises the bar - and the hills

The 2006 edition of the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic, presented by Full Sail Brewing (Oregon, USA, May...

The 2006 edition of the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic, presented by Full Sail Brewing (Oregon, USA, May 31 - June 4, 2006) will once again feature on the US National Racing calendar and this year will be extended by a stage, organisers have announced.

For 2006 the race will expand to include six stages in five days, covering 300 miles and climbing 25,000 feet of elevation for the men's Pro 1-2 field. The women's Pro 1-3 category can expect six stages, 250 miles of racing and 20,000 feet of climbing.

"Last year the event attracted 475 riders, including some of North America's best racers - Scott Moninger, Eric Wohlberg, Svein Tuft, and Ryan Trebon," said event director Chad Sperry. "This year we will take it to a whole new level. Being in the NRC series has dramatically boosted the level of competition. Now we are ready to step up and offer courses and venues that will truly challenge these elite riders."

Already known for its dramatic landscape and scenic beauty, the new MHCC stages will take riders through an even greater variety of terrain and topography. Courses wind through rich green farmlands of the Hood River Valley, along the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Highway, and over mountain passes to finish at the Cooper Spur Ski Area on Mt. Hood's northern flanks. The addition of a new stage will make that variety even more apparent taking competitors on a trek to arid desert terrain rolling through sage brush and dry land wheat fields.

"Weather also plays a factor," said Sperry. "We had everything from the high 80's and sun to snow all within a four-day time span. When you are riding up in the Cascade Mountains you never know what to expect. Some locations on the race route receive 70+ inches or rain a year others receive less than 10. I always tell the riders come prepared for anything".

A substantial increase in the prize list for 2006 and with more NRC points on the line due to the increased ranking of the event, this year's Mt. Hood Cycling Classic is sure to be an epic race. For more info or to register see www.mthoodcyclingclassic.com.

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