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Cross-Washington mountain bike race starts Sunday

The Cross-Washington mountain bike race runs 700 miles from La Push to Tekoa. (Courtesy)
The Cross-Washington mountain bike race runs 700 miles from La Push to Tekoa. (Courtesy)

CYCLING -- A new low-key, self-supported cycling contest on the Cross-Washington Mountain Bike Route is ready to begin on May 14, organizers say.

Competitors will start in La Push and pedal 700 miles on mountain trails, dirt roads, gravel paths and the John Wayne Trail to the town of Tekoa near the Washington-Idaho border. 

Riders must find and carry their own food, water and tools as well as sleeping gear.

"There are no entry fees and there are no prizes," says route designer Troy Hopwood. "Most importantly, there is no support. This means no support vehicle, no check points or food stops and it also means there is nobody to call for help."

Racers are given only a route via GPS file and a suggested start time, he said. "Each racer must be 100 percent self sufficient. At times, the route will go over 100 miles between towns making resupply a critical part of their overall strategy. "

The top competitors will cover the 700 mile course in four days while other riders will take up to two weeks, he said.

Here's the rest of the release:

The route traverses some of the most scenic parts of the state including coastal communities, rain forests, mountain passes, scab lands and deserts. The course is designed to optimize beauty and getting off the beaten path. Competitors will battle snow, rain, and heat as they navigate the course. The course includes four mountain passes and over 40,000 feet of climbing.

One goal of the race is to promote all the amazing cycling opportunities Washington State has to offer.

“I wanted to share my playground with the world,” Hopwood said.

Among the many amazing trails, the route makes extensive use of the John Wayne Pioneer Trail. This is a rail trail conversion across much of the state connecting many communities across Eastern Washington. This part of the route is facing an uncertain future as communities across Eastern Washington struggle to find the funding needed to preserve one of the longest rail trails in the country.

This event has a unique opportunity to raise awareness of the trails value to both recreationalists and the rural communities along the trail. Racers are encouraged to be good citizens of the trail as they represent all trail users and show how communities can benefit from this trail.

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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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