This was an event that conveniently fit into my travel plans so I thought I would give it a try.  The Cascade Lakes 200 route begins in Bend Oregon and does a large loop around the small towns and lakes on the east slope of the Cascades.  This area has absolutely spectacular scenery and excellent roads to ride on.  There seems to be a large and active local contingent of cyclists and it appears to be a very bike friendly area.

We departed from Strictly Organic coffee shop in downtown Bend at 7 am.  I think that about 12 riders signed up but only 6 actually showed to do the ride.  The weather forecast was for excellent conditions so I can’t say what the reason was for the no shows.  The route started with a gentle climb up towards Mt. Bachelor Ski resort where we encountred our RBA at the designated control.

Control #2, in the morning.

Right after we departed the control we turned downhill towards Sun River.  This was a fun and fast section and judging by the number of cyclists out we were on a very popular local route.  30 miles flew by quickly as we cruised through Sun River on our way to La Pine.  Temperatures were perfect in the 80’s and the wind was light.  The town of La Pine wasn’t much to speak of but it was the control.  I found a Quickie Mart to re-supply at and continued on my way.

The next leg meandered through the forest for a while before beginning the climb up the Cascade Lakes Highway.  It is kind of a long climb but it was never steep and with the great weather conditions we had wonderful views of the mountains.  As we climbed higher we began to see some of the many lakes that dot this region.  These were cool and clear and had a beautiful deep blue/green color.  The Cascades Lakes Highway is well named for the many beautiful lakes along the way!

We took a brief detour off of the CLH to get to Control #4 at Cultus Lake Resort.  I don’t know much about the place but it was a spectacular setting on a lake with cabins and a marina. It also had a nice little restaurant which served me well with a hot dog and drink.

Back to the route, the climbing continued up the Cascades Lake Loop.  We were getting closer again to Mt Hood as well as the Three Sisters and the scenery was great!  Nearer the top of the climb the grade increased and there began to be some snow alongisde the road.  One final push and we crested the climb at the next control at Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort.

From here all that was really required was to sit on the bike and coast back to Bend. It was a 15 mile downhill run back to town and the finish.  I pulled in a few minutes behind Jeff and Vincent and enjoyed a smoothie at the coffee house.  I had been out for 9 hrs and 5 min.  The RBA said he thought that the total climbing on this route was about 8500 feet but it seemed like less to me. I think it was probably closer to 7000, which is still plenty!

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