The crowds gather with bells and signs as racers take their marks. All the preparations — the blood, sweat, and tears that go along with race training — have come to this. This special place. Every year, thousands gather in Sunriver, Ore., in the spirit of sport, camaraderie, and the outdoors. And why wouldn’t they? Central Oregon boasts some of the best views in the world for runners, bikers, and swimmers.
Calling all athletes
Now in its 21st year, the Pacific Crest Triathlon and Weekend Sports Festival takes place the last weekend in June, this year set for June 23-25, 2017. Athletes and their families come from all over the country and even the world to take part in the multi-faceted event in this picturesque location. From most any vantage point are water, trees, and mountains.
These racers come here not to simply be in a triathlon but to really experience a triathlon. At 4,200 feet, Sunriver is nestled in the quiet confines of Central Oregon, where outdoor enthusiasts love to roam. Pacific Crest means swimming in the clear Wickiup Reservoir, biking around pine-covered Mt. Bachelor, and running around the outdoors of Sunriver. The views make for a truly memorable experience.
Over just three days there are 20 events, including:
- Half marathon
- 10K, 5K, long course, 25K, and 50K trail runs
- Olympic and ultra-sprint triathlons, duathlons, and AquaBike
- Tour de crest bike rides
- Three kids events
For those who participate in two or more events, you’ll earn a BEAST medal; if you participate in an event every day for three days, you’ll earn the coveted three-headed BEAST medal.
A few things you may want to know: the water will likely be in the 60s, so bring a wetsuit. Buoys, kayakers, and medical staff are there to make sure you safely swim where you need to go. The long-course bike race will take you up and around Mt. Bachelor, an equally beautiful and thrilling feat. The long-course foot race loops around in a fairly flat area with a wide paved trail.
Besides turning Sunriver into a multi-race venue, the Pacific Crest Festival is also an ideal place to rub shoulders with other passionate athletes, many of whom return to the event year after year and cheer each other on. It’s a fun atmosphere. Also as part of the weekend, participants can peruse the festival’s Sports & Fitness Expo, which offers all the gear and clothing that racers need and plenty of food that athletes love to chow after a big race. Try the samples and shop to your heart’s content.
Entertainment & activities for the kids
But the festival doesn’t stop there. The weekend is also packed with regional bands providing ample entertainment. Sunriver Brewing, Deschutes Brewery, Village Bar and Grill, and other local venues offer relaxation for the grown-ups. Bringing kids? As part of the weekend events, there will be bouncy houses, rock climbing, mini golf, bumper cars, and more for them to enjoy. Truly, the Pacific Crest Weekend Sports Festival is not just a race event but a celebration for all.
Stay and play
With an ideal setting and fun events, take advantage of your time here. Stay an extra few days. Rest up well before and after the race in a Cascara Vacation Rental, which has ample room for racers and their equipment, not to mention their personal cheering sections. Cascara has everything from vacation condos to houses, providing privacy, comfort, and a variety of price points.
When you’re not racing or resting from the races, there’s plenty for all to do in Sunriver, like play in the water at SHARC, go golfing, rafting, or kayaking, and much more. So, what are you waiting for? Make this a summer to remember in a place like no other. Register for the race before it fills up, and book your spot in a vacation rental before all the spots are gone.