Riders thrill to weather, county's beauty in Columbia Century Challenge
The weather was perfect, the landscapes were incredible and the company was hard to beat, too, as the third annual Columbia Century Challenge rolled through Columbia County on June 16.
The third annual Columbia Century Challenge bicycle ride — already named the No. 2 best ride in Oregon in its inaugural year in the ORbike poll — made its third time around the county a keeper, with riders cruising through lush, unspoiled forests, next to free-running streams and experiencing some of the county's breath-taking vistas.
Participants rode through one of two course options, the Century Plus (112-122 miles) ride or the Metric Century Plus (82-92 miles) ride. The Century Plus route (which included an optional 10-mile loop of Honeyman Road in Scappoose) took riders through Mist, Clatskanie, Rainier, Columbia City, St. Helens and Scappoose, with a total elevation gain of 7,200 feet.
In the Metric Century Plus route (which also included the optional 10-mile loop of Honeyman Road), riders got to see Columbia City, St. Helens and Scappoose up close and personal, with a total elevation gain of 5,000 feet.
The event, sponsored by Cycle Columbia County and NW Natural, began at Heritage Park in Scappoose next to Scappoose City Hall and also ended in Scappoose.
Columbia Century Challenge Event Organizer Paul Barlow shard his enthusiasm for the event earlier this year.
"Thank you, Columbia County, for your support of the past two rides. We continue to grow the number of participants and the caliber of the event to help everyone discover what a gem we have here in our neck of the woods," he said.
Columbia County features many bicycle-friendly backroads, from rolling roads through old timberlands to farm roads through open fields and pastures along the Columbia River, which make the ride fun and challenging even for the toughest of cyclists.
The weekend also included several community events, including the Scappoose Farmer's Market and the first "Music in the Park" Summer concert (supported by the City of Scappoose and the Scappoose Community Club).
Ride profits from the CCC are scheduled to be invested in local cycling improvements, such as recent installations of bike stations in Scappoose and Vernonia.