Salsa is proud to be a sponsor of the 2018 Ochoco Gravel Roubaix, a Gran Fondo style gravel race through the Ochoco National Forest. We asked James and Natalie Good, owners of GoodBikeCo, and the promoters of the event, to share a bit more info into what makes the Ochoco Gravel Roubaix such a special event. -Kid
Salsa – Can you share a bit of the history of the Ochoco Gravel Roubaix and how the event came to be?
GoodBikeCo – James and I moved to Central Oregon in the Summer of 2014 when I started my job at the hospital in Prineville and James started Good Bike Co. LLC. I had previously served as the medical director for several cycling and running events in Utah, so I knew the ins and outs of large event planning. We wanted to showcase Crook County’s amazing gravel roads (old logging roads throughout the National Forest), promote cycling, and raise money for our community, so together we created this event. James scouted the routes and I coordinated the logistics and permits…with lots of help and support from local businesses and community leaders.
So far we have been able to donate almost $15,000 to local charities, and this year 100% of the proceeds will go toward our Crook County Cycling programs.
Salsa - If you had to call out three defining characteristics of the route, what would they be? And why?
GoodBikeCo – The National Forest is #1 – at least 50% of the route is in the Ochoco National Forest. It is quiet, amazing, and beautiful!
Ponderosa Pines would be #2 – the western part of the forest (where the riders will be) is filled with old growth ponderosas and they have the sweet smell of fresh butterfly milk!
And #3 is that the race/ride loop starts and ends at the Crook County Fairgrounds where we have onsite camping (only $5/person/night), showers and more. On the day of the event we will have live music, free food, beer from Deschutes brewery, Kombucha from Humm, and much more!
How sweet is it to be able to roll out of your tent, ride your bike through an amazing, awe-inspiring landscape, and then end up back at your tent?!
Salsa – Any time there are two riders present there’s a chance of a race breaking out, but how would you describe the overall atmosphere at the Ochoco Gravel Roubaix?
GoodBikeCo – It is a Gran Fondo, so the overall feel is a little more relaxed. We do not have judges or lead cars on the course and all aid stations are neutral.
There will be motorcycle medics and search and rescue teams circulating the course and those guys are out there for safety, but also to have a good time, so the overall energy is really great.
But, it is a race and this year we are giving the first overall male and first overall female riders on our 80-mile and 45-mile loops their WEIGHT IN BEER from Deschutes Brewery, so I am sure there will be some pretty good racing going on!
Salsa – Let’s talk bikes. Weapon of choice for this event? Anything special setup-wise you’d suggest people keep in mind going into it?
GoodBikeCo – We feel the best weapon of choice is the bicycle that is in your garage.
First off, we urge riders to run tubeless as this will allow you to run lower pressure to help smooth out those rough sections, and hopefully reduce the chances of flatting overall.
Most folks will be running 35mm to 40mm tires. Those looking to leave it all out on the course may opt for 28mm slicks. This decision may be an advantage on the road, but it may cost you big on the varying degrees of gravel you will encounter on the route.
We are creating a more adventurous course this year and are expecting riders to carry a bit more water and food than previous years, so we also expect to see folks riding with a variety of frame bags.
Salsa – For folks unfamiliar with Prineville, this part of Oregon, or the Ochoco National Forest, what would you say to encourage them to make a trip to the area?
GoodBikeCo – If you are looking for a geological marvel with everything from columnar basalt cliffs to canyons to painted hills, this place is like nothing you have ever seen. The Crooked River boasts some of the best fly fishing in the state. The old forest logging roads and singletrack trails are quiet with great climbs, views, and descents! The reservoirs are great for standup paddleboarding or boating. We’ve got backcountry skiing, rock climbing, hiking, horseback riding, snowmobiling, mushroom hunting, rock hounding, and much more!
Salsa – I’m guessing that it’s quite a lot of fun having a bunch of enthusiastic cyclists show up in Prineville. How does the rest of the community get on with the event?
GoodBikeCo – This event seems to grow every year and we are excited to see what 2018 has to offer. Oregon loves biking and that is why we are one of the friendliest biking states in the Nation and we are proud to wave that flag here in Prineville. The course and aesthetics of Central Oregon brings riders from around the Pacific Northwest, Canada, and the Midwest. The finish line alone brings the community together, where you can hang out, watch some great cycling, enjoy some local craft beer and food, and listen to a live band.
We have great relationship with the US Forest Service, ODOT, Crook County, and the City of Prineville to name a few of our partners. We even have a police escort out of town at the beginning of each race. What’s not to love about the smallest little cycling town that no one has ever heard of?
Salsa – Do you see a lot of cycle tourism throughout the year?
GoodBikeCo – Our bike shop sits at the crosshairs of the Oregon Outback and the Trans Am Bicycle Trail so we see a lot of self-supported cyclists from around the world all year round, and especially through the summer. We have a large beer garden with 5 beers on tap at the shop, so it is a great meet up spot before, during, or after a big ride.
And Prineville now boasts Oregon’s newest scenic bikeway – the Crooked River Canyon. Road cyclists come from all around to enjoy this amazing ride!
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I love being outside. I prefer to ride on dirt. Or snow. If I was born a hundred years earlier I might have been a polar explorer. There's a great natural world out there to see, smell, taste, listen to, and experience. Life slows down out there and the distractions we've created will disappear if you let them. Give me a backpack and let me go.