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Blitz to the Barrel draws mountain bike pros to Bend

2010 Blitz to the Barrel line up for the Men's Pro Race

2010 Blitz to the Barrel line up for the Men's Pro Race (Image credit: Blitz to the Barrel)

A rather unorthodox mountain biking event in the United States, the "Blitz to the Barrel" in June will combine the challenges of downhill, cross country and cyclo-cross in a one-of-a-kind celebration of bikes, beer and big air.

Featuring a course that starts high in the Cascade Mountains above Bend, Oregon, the "Blitz to the Barrel" will start as a bonfide downhill course, then transition to a technical cross country trail, and finally drop into a cyclo-cross style route that ends with the riders downing a pint of craft beer to complete the event.

"Bend is a unique place where bikes, world class cyclists and delicious craft beer are big parts of our culture," said Erik Eastland, the event director. "The Blitz to the Barrel celebrates that culture and elevates mountain biking to a new and much more exciting level."

Held on June 15, the Men's Pro Event is the first in a three-event series and will feature several of the biggest names in professional mountain biking and cyclo-cross . Following the men's event, the Women's Pro event will take place on July 13, and finally the Industry Invitational will end the series on August 17.

Riders signed up for the action include Adam Craig, last year's winner Carl Decker, Ryan Trebon, Chris Sheppard, Nathan Riddle, Damian Schmidt, Cody Peterson and Lev Stryker.

"Adam and Carl are bringing a couple more world class guys they say," said Eastlandt.

Racers for the invitational-only event will meet at 10 Barrel Brewery at 5:00 p.m., and the event will start at Wanoga Snow Park at 7:00 p.m. Expected duration is one hour and 10 minutes.

First place will take home $2000. Second and third get $1500 and $500 respectively. Bonuses of $250 each will also go for longest wheelie, biggest air on the Funner Trail concrete drop, longest air into Tetherow patio and fastest rider on Tetherow Road.

The course will start at Wanoga Snow Park and drop into the Funner Downhill section. Then, riders will cross Century Drive and enter the COD trail eastward along a ridge to the Tetherow Golf Course parking lot. The riders will hit a big-air jump on the Tetherow Patio and land on the Tetherow Golf course driving range where they will hit two additional big drops before racing on mile-long circuit on the golf course. Following the golf course section, riders will hit the Tetherow Road to Galvisten where they will turn east and race through the 14th Street roundabout, slammin into 10 Barrel bar where they will down a pint to complete the course.

The first rider should arrive at 10 Barrel Brewery, where a party and awards will take place, at 8:05 pm.

2011 Blitz to the Barrel
June 15: Men's Pro Event
July 13: Women's Pro Event
August 17: Industry Invitational