2019 Race Calendar
It’s taken a lot of restraint and intention this winter to avoid planning some sort of massive bikepacking trip. The Arizona Trail, the Tour Divide, the Baja Divide, not to mention the countless international bikepacking trips I’d like to start tackling, all tempt me with long miles, expansive wilderness, and the call of the #ferallife. However, I’ve successfully staved off all temptation since Trish and I are in the process of having a camper van built out for us, and the big trip this summer will involve her, me, our dog Bryn, and Vincent Van-Go traveling all around the state of Oregon biking, hiking, and throwing a lot of frisbees to keep Bryn occupied.
Since I knew I wasn’t going to be doing a big bikepacking trip this summer, the hardwiring in my brain was forced to focus its type two fun quota on other, shorter pursuits, and naturally my mind wandered into the realm of racing.
I’ve always enjoyed training and pushing towards a goal, but it was only this weekend as I stepped back and looked at my calendar that I realized I might have a problem. I might be addicted to races.
My 2019 race calendar is probably not even in its final draft, but judging by the number of races I’ve already signed up for, it’s going to be a year of firsts for me. My first highly competitive marathon: the Boston Marathon (the Portland Marathon only had about 8,000 people, I mean… come on), my first potential bikepacking race (the BC Epic 1,000), and my first century (100 miles) mountain bike race (The High Cascades 100).
So what follows is a catalog of my 2019 race calendar. The start of the year is entirely devoted to races that will aid in my training for the Boston Marathon. The rest of the races all relate to gravel and mountain biking. I’ll include links to each race on the off-chance that any of you readers out there are interested in joining me in what I am just now coining the ‘2019 Summer-Suffer-Fest’.
Cascade Half Marathon – January 20th
The Cascade Half Marathon is an awesome opportunity to support Cascade High School’s Track and Field program by running a half-marathon in what is arguably the worst running month in Oregon. But that’s not their fault!
RESULT: I finished the Cascade Half Marathon with a 3rd place finish and time of 1:17:18, averaging 5:51 splits and earning a new Half Marathon PR. The race conditions were horrible, with constant rain and relatively cold conditions, but the event itself was a blast and really well organized. I would definitely do it again!
Champoeg 30k – March 2nd
While I’ve never run a 30k before, the Champoeg 30k lines up perfectly in my training plan for the Boston Marathon. I’ll probably have run one or two 20 milers by that point, but racing for 18 miles will be a good reality check for where I’m at with my mile splits for the Boston.
The Boston Marathon – April 15th
Hopefully the Boston Marathon is the last marathon I run, as running definitely distracts me from biking. However, if I’m being honest, the training so far has been pretty fun. See my previous training plan post if you want to get some of my thoughts on this race, but this one is kind of a big deal for me. I’m really excited to get caught up in the Boston Fever this year.
Pole, Pedal, Paddle – May 18th
Based out of Bend, Oregon, the Pole, Pedal, Paddle is an event I do every year with some friends in the area. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, as you’ll probably notice in the picture-collage, but we do manage to bring home a 1st or 2nd place finish each year in our age group, which includes a commemorative mug as a prize, so we can’t be that bad, right? While I don’t really consider this a ‘race’ for me, it is my first push back into the biking realm, and hopefully by this point, I’ve already fully transitioned from running nonstop to biking nonstop.
Sisters Stampede – May 26th
There are a few smaller ‘maybe’ races I could see myself doing, and the Sisters Stampede is one of them. I did the Stampede two years ago and had a lot of fun, and it will be about a month into my training transition, so it could be a good marker for my later, more serious biking escapades. We’ll see.
Oregon Gran Fondo – June 1st
I think that, for me, it will be an either/or decision between the Sisters Stampede and Oregon Gran Fondo, as back to back races isn’t really necessary from a training and monetary perspective. What I like about the Gran Fondo is it would give me a whole extra week of training, and I’d be putting in a lot more mileage during the race itself, a good benchmark for my last two events of the summer. Worth mentioning: the link I used for this race actually brings you to the ‘Oregon Triple Crown’ site, where there are two other really cool rides I’d be interested in doing if it weren’t for other commitments. Check them out if you’re into the gravel scene!
Skull 120 Gravel Grind Race – June 15th
I’m trying to organize a relatively grueling 2 day bikepacking weekend with my fellow Oregonian BC Epic racers, but so far it has been difficult to connect with them, so I may end up riding the Skull 120 Gravel Grind instead. This looks to be a pretty epic race with some challenging terrain and a big mileage attached to it, so it would be the perfect ‘peak week’ ride to make sure I’m prepared for long days in the saddle come June 29th.
BC Epic 1,000 – June 29th
The BC Epic 1,000 would be the true challenge of the summer for me. 1,000 kilometers of gravel riding, much of which traverses the Trans Canada Trail, this race would be a great way for me to find out whether bigger endurance rides are in my future, like the Tour Divide, for instance. Of course, this race is largely dependent on how well my legs have recovered from the Boston Marathon training and whether I am able to switch gears in two short months from running long-distance to biking long-distance. But I have high hopes that this will be a race I get to participate in this year.
High Cascades 100 – July 20th
Trish and my van-cation begins where my racing calendar ends, in Bend, Oregon with the High Cascades 100, a mountain bike race that has been on my radar for years now. This will be my first ever century on a mountain bike, and I’m really looking forward to adding that little accomplishment to my biking accolades. From what I’ve heard, this is a must-do event in Oregon and draws riders from around the United States (and even around the world). This may well be the highlight of my racing calendar, and will definitely be a wonderful way to start Trish and my two week van-trip around the state.
I’d like to take a minute to thank my sponsors…
Just kidding. I don’t have any sponsors. Being an ambassador for Why Cycles has a few nice perks, but really, if I were going to name a sponsor for my escapades, it would have to be my partner Trish. She’s the one always encouraging me to enter the next race or push my limits (while also reminding me to avoid overreaching and injuries… yeesh), and as I’ve said many times before, this is the kind of symbiotic partnership that dreams are made of. So here’s to 2019 and the year of races and van-life. I can’t wait to see how it all pans out!