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Changes coming for Baker City's bicycle race
By LISA BRITTON
For the Baker City Herald
This year's June bicycle race has a new name, new director and new weekend.
But a lot is staying the same, too.
The event, called the Elkhorn Classic Bicycle Stage Race for the last 10 years, is now called the Baker City Cycling Classic (BCCC), organized by Baker Loves Bikes.
It will happen two weeks later than usual, June 29 to July 1.
Race director Brian Vegter said there are two reasons for the date changes.
First, the weather should be more temperate. Over the years, racers have experienced all of Eastern Oregon's extremes — sunshine, wind, rain, snow, hail and thunderstorms.
The second reason is to put more time between the BCCC and the Mount Hood Cycling Classic race, which changed its date to a week later, June 8-10.
"So we're a week further away from them," Vegter said. "Both of our events are to the level we couldn't run them the same weekend."
One aspect won't change. The stages — four during the three days — will feature the same routes.
"So the post office will be inaccessible on that Saturday morning," Vegter said.
For that stage, the time trial, the racers ride out Old Highway 30 and come back into town via Elm and Estes streets to end on Main Street.
One participant change this year is that women's field will be expanded so the professionals are separated from the amateurs. In the past, all the women entrants raced together.
The benefit to Baker City
As before, student athletes from Baker High School will be involved during the weekend as a fundraiser for their sports programs. Also, students in the high school metal shop are creating the race trophies.
"We're looking to put four to five thousand dollars into the school's budget," Vegter said.
Even younger students will be involved — Vegter will work with fifth-grade students to create vintage-inspired cycling posters to advertise the race.
"We'll use those as posters for the event," he said. "The kids in the fifth grade will have their artwork showcased."
One more addition this year will be a festival Saturday afternoon during the Gold Rush Criterium, organized by Baker High's FBLA students. Vegter is recruiting a variety of vendors.
"I'm working on getting Specialized to come out so people can test bikes on the race route," he said.
The youth bicycle race will still happen Saturday morning, organized by the Baker YMCA.
Volunteers will again be needed for the Friday stage, although Vegter said they will wait until May to start actively recruiting help.
To learn more about the race, visit the website, www.bakercitycycling.org, or find it on Facebook for the latest updates.
Conversation at Crossroads
A chance to learn more about the race and how it benefits Baker City is coming on March 8, when the topic will be featured for a "Conversation at Crossroads."
That discussion begins at 6 p.m. at Crossroads Carnegie Art Center, 2020 Auburn Ave.
The panel will include Vegter, Beverly Calder, Pat Thomas, Kina Allen, Jerry Peacock, Jared Johnson and Noel Salazar.