BEND, OR – For cycling enthusiasts, early September signals the official kickoff to Cyclocross in Central Oregon. And when it comes to bike racing, the annual MBSEF Thrilla Cyclocross Series is by far the most well attended. For six weeks, 200 plus riders will gather on Thursday evenings at The Bend Athletic Club for some down and dirty competition. This will be the fifth consecutive year that The Athletic Club will be playing host to the races. Presented by Bowen Sports Performance, the series will take place Thursdays, September 6, 13, 20, 17 and October 4.
Cyclocross is a form of bicycle racing. Races typically take place in the autumn and winter (the international or “World Cup” season is October-February), and consist of many laps of a short (2.5-3.5 km or 1.5-2 mi) course featuring pavement, wooded trails, grass, steep hills and obstacles requiring the rider to quickly dismount, carry the bike while navigating the obstruction and remount. The sport is strongest in the traditional road cycling countries such as Belgium, France and the Netherlands. If you have thought about trying out Cyclocross, but have never done it, the Thrilla is perfect, with Cat 5, the beginner category. OBRA (Oregon Bicycle Racing Association) licenses are required which you can purchase day of at the Thrilla.
The Thrilla Cyclocross series is a benefit for the Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation. The Foundation creates opportunities through competitive snow sports programs to support athletes in achieving their individual athletic, academic and personal goals. Molly Cogswell Kelly, Event Director says, “The Cyclocross is all about having fun, with a certain degree of silliness, and a lot of dirt and mud. We’re super spectator friendly!”
Ryan McGlone, a broker with Cascade Sotheby’s International Realty has been a longtime supporter and sponsor of the event. Both he and Cogswell Kelly ride for the Boneyard (Brewing) Cycling Team. A team officer, McGlone states, “For several years now, I’ve been a sponsor of this event, because I want to see it continue. I want to support the community I love and focus on giving back.” Boneyard Cycling started in 2010, encouraging cycling and supporting the local community through sponsor promotion and volunteerism. Their purpose is to enjoy riding bikes, support local businesses and create a positive influence in the community. Boneyard Cycling continues to encourage the local cycling community with racing, riding and volunteering. Their flagship events are the Bend Bike Swap and the RHFT (Ride Hard Finish Thirsty) cyclocross race.
Another cycling-related charity that McGlone is passionate about, is the Bend Bicycle Film Festival, held September 7, at the Tower Theater, Downtown Bend. This fundraiser benefits the Bend Endurance Academy, and anyone can submit bicycle-related videos to the festival. At the conclusion of the screening, attendees vote for their favorite. Throughout the evening, there are various raffles and giveaways, provided by local sponsors. The Bend Bicycle Film Festival (BBFF) launched in 2009 with two purposes in mind: to showcase local short films featuring the unique cycling culture in Central Oregon and to create a social gathering where all can reunite to get excited about riding bikes.
The goals of the Festival are very relatable to the Bend Community, “Our mission is to celebrate artistic expression and stimulate excitement within and around our local cycling community. Cycling, as represented by the films and our festival, represents a diverse array of interests from physical health to environmental stewardship to strengthening community because so many Central Oregon residents ride bikes in their daily lives.” Proceeds from admission and raffle tickets directly support the The Bend Endurance Academy, a local non-profit offering youth, junior and masters development programs for cycling, rock climbing and Nordic skiing. The Academy promotes healthy living through active, outdoor experiences, with an emphasis on teamwork, personal growth and community responsibility.
In-conjunction with the Film Festival, Ryan McGlone’s other passion project, the Bend Bike Swap, takes center stage. According to McGlone, “I am a sponsor and deeply connected to these groups. For the past 4 years I’ve presented checks to the beneficiaries of the Swap during intermission. This year I will be giving away just shy of $9,000 to the non-profit beneficiaries of the Bend Bike Swap. The Swap is an event I started 5 years ago. What is unique about this year’s presentation is that I will be announcing that the event is going to be given to Bend Endurance Academy to run in the future.”
The Bend Bike Swap began as the brainchild of McGlone, who was looking for new ways to give back to the local community. After sharing this idea with other Boneyard Cycling team members, it was clear that Bend was in need of a bike swap. As word spread, local business owner Matt Massingale generously stepped in and offered up Cascade Rack’s retail space as the first venue location. Armed with a shoestring budget and limited planning, the First Annual Bend Bike Swap boasted serious promise. Annual yields in excess of $10,000 annually support local nonprofits that promote various aspects of youth cycling. Driven by his love for the outdoor amenities that make Central Oregon so special, Ryan brings profound local knowledge, seasoned professionalism and an unsurpassed drive for excellence in his craft. Ryan is also a huge advocate for giving back to the local community so that Central Oregon continues to be a special and unique place for everyone.
Buy tickets to the Bend Bicycle Film Festival (BBFF) here.