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Newest Cycling Capital: Bend

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Bachelor_medium[Photo via Flickr: surfkayak]

Not fer nuthin, USA Cycling has determined that Bend, OR will host the USA Cycling Elite Road Race Championships, as well as the juniors and U-23 races, and the Cyclocross championships, for the next two years. Indulge me for a moment here... this is a really good idea. Bend is a small, cute enough little city located at the doorstep of some of the country's most beautiful terrain, from high desert to Cascadia and with some serious, in your face vulcanism in between.

Brokentop_mediumBetter still, the Cascade Lakes Highway provides a virtually ideal setting for a bike race: nice pavement, manageable traffic, very few intersections, serious climbing, middlin but not killer altitude, and un-fricking-believably beautiful scenery. Here's my personal favorite:

Broken Top is a shattered volcano, with about 90 degrees or so of the cone's circumference completely busted out. You can hike rather simply right into the meadow below that opening and look up at the banded interior of a more-or-less active volcano. The view from the road is the opposite side. Anyway, for cycling purposes, the Cascade Lakes Highway is virtually ideal in every respect. Other than maybe the elk crossings.

If this sounds familiar, the area is host to the Cascade Classic, as well as one Christopher Horner. Best of all, it's within driving distance, and I have at least one sofa to crash on...