Update: This event has been suspected due to the wildfire smoke and regional wildfires.
The 5th annual Columbia Century Challenge will roll through parts of Columbia County on Saturday, Sept. 12. The event begins at 6:3 a.m. at Rainier City Park.
The approximately 66 mile course begins and ends in Rainier winding through Clatskanie and Mist.
Columbia Century Challenge Event Organizer Paul Barlow said making sure the bike ride would occur has been especially challenging this year.
"2020 has proven to be a challenge for everyone,” Barlow said. “We moved our ride date from June to September with the glimmer of hope that we could still host something. As our planning group are making the final preparations for September 12, we are all glad that we can provide a ride that will help people mentally and physically.”
Barlow said the whole idea is to promote the beauty, dining shopping and other businesses in Columbia County.
The most challenging stretch of the route this year, according to Barlow, will be the first six miles from the start line as riders climb from 125 foot elevation to 1125 foot elevation and the climb from the Mist rest stop to the top of Clatskanie Hill.
Barlow said even with the challenging course, the ride remains a draw to hundreds of bike riders.
“Columbia County has some of the most beautiful views on the route,” he said. “When you're coming down from Mist you can't help but stop for a moment to take in the scenery. Our county also has a rich logging culture in which much of this route is on. So for riders looking to get away from the day to day busy city streets, all they have to do is come visit Columbia County. “
Barlow said he hopes the riders take away a sense of accomplishment from their experience.
“We are known as a hard ride due to some of the elevations, but once they see that downhill, they know they can let their legs relax and prepare for the next hill,” he said. “We've had riders in the past tell us that the Columbia Century Challenge is a good practice ride for the Seattle to Portland ride.”
A team of local cycling enthusiasts and community members first brought the idea of a century bicycle event to life in 2016.
For more information and to volunteer, visit the Cycle Columbia County Facebook page.