On Sunday, April 30, 2006 Wild Rockies hosted the 3rd Annual Oregon Trail Classic in Baker City, Oregon. This event was our first big run of 2006, and the unyielding 10.5 mile course was defiantly a doosey! Wildrockies.com describes the loop as "rolling climbs and descents with lots of twisty singletrack."
We were hoping to get friends to join us on the race, but we just ran out of time to get people interested in running the race. Angela, Blue (the dog) and I packed up Saturday afternoon and drove to Baker City. We checked into the Bridge Street Inn and started walking up and down the main drag of Baker. Good thing we had an umbrella in the car, because there were some good thundershowers in the area. Did some window shopping and talked with some local folk. Surprisingly there were quite a lot of events going on in the small town. However due to the race in the morning we opted to have a quite evening. We filled our bellies with pasta and excellent brew at Barley Browns. If you ever find yourself passing through Baker, do yourself a favor and head down for a beer!
Sunday morning at 6am we got up and preceded to get ready for the run, we decided to give ourselves an hour to make the eight mile drive. Plus that should give us ample time to stretch and warm up. The directions listed from wildrockies.com were vague "Located at the Virtue Flat ORV Area, near the Oregon Trail Visitors Center, about eight miles from Baker City." The night before we chatted with several locals and we asked them if they knew where the race started, however no one knew exactly the ORV area was. The best people could say is that the ORV area was near the Oregon Trail Visitors Center, which is also what wildrockies.com said. Needless to say we had a hard time finding the turn off for the ORV. After several passes we were running low on fuel and time so we drove back to the freeway, gassed up and ask the lady who pumped our gas "where the hell is the ORV area?" She wasn't exactly sure but thought the access road to the ORV area should be across the road from the visitor’s center. Backup the road we drove, sure enough there was a dirt road where she said it would be. As we turned onto the road I glanced over to my left and saw the oncoming traffic's stop sigh. There on the post were four little signs that marked the race turn off, three orange arrows and a handwritten "Wild Rockies." The argument could be made that the signage for the turn off could be a bit hard to see when you’re going past at 55+mph. Here is a picture of the sign:
Overall the race was very fun and the trail was well marked. The terrain of the race varied from: ATV roads, flood water drainage ditches, faint single-track marked with orange tape, and with plenty of hill to huff up and down. A few prizes were given out, but we failed to win any free swag. However what we did win was first place in our respective age categories: 20 - 29. We each got a medial and got to stand on the podium. Unlike Angela who actually had some competition, I was the sole person representing the 20 – 29’s. Default… the two sweetest words in the English language. Thank you for your words of wisdom Homer J. Simpson. The age group 30 - 39 proved to have the stiffest competition in both men's and women’s category. Those speedy old timbers*!
Check out all the pictures of the race here: Oregon Trail Classic
Official Results: 1:43:50
*getting mighty close to 30 - 39...doh!