I don't know about you, but I am always looking for new and cool places to race. I love the nearby races, but nothing excites me more than trying out a completely new course in a place I'm not familiar with. The 2016 Take the Hill 5-mile Challenge, coming up on April 16 in Goldendale WA, definitely fits that bill. Goldendale is just across the Columbia River from Biggs Junction (or about 25 minutes east of The Dalles), and while this may seem like "just" a small local event (which are awesome by the way), it definitely has some history behind it. The course itself will run on the quiet Maryhill Loops Road. I didn't know much about them until I started doing some reasearch on this preview. From Wikipedia:
The Maryhill Loops Road was an experimental road in south central Washington built by Good Roads promoter Samuel Hill with the help of engineer and landscape architect Samuel C. Lancaster. [The road climbs] the Columbia Hills from the Columbia River and Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway to his planned Quaker utopian community at Maryhill, Washington. Built in 1911 as the first asphalt road in the state, and bypassed by the present U.S. Route 97 after World War II, the road achieved low grades with horseshoe curves. The design became the model for the Figure-Eight Loops on the Historic Columbia River Highway, designed by Lancaster several years later. The road is now owned by the Maryhill Museum of Art.
The road is closed to public motor vehicle traffic but is open to pedestrians and bicycles. The Maryhill Museum of Art rents use of the road for private events by automobile, motorcycle, bicycling, and longboarding clubs. The yearly International Downhill Federation World Cup Series downhill longboarding and street luge event is held there.
An entire road closed off to traffic?! So awesome!
The course itself is along the road, and may not even need a formal course map since it appears to stay on the Maryhill Road. The race website states that the road rises 850 feet in a series of 25 curves, eight of them hairpin turns, at a grade of 5%. Dang.
There will be three different “classes” for participants:
- Rabbit Class: For serious runners. First start.
- Coyote Class: For those who like to chase the rabbits
- Hound Dog Class: Fun runners and walkers.
Participants will receive a shirt, souvenir wine glass, AND complimentary wine tasting. Scovel Racing will also be on site for chip timing.
All proceeds are donated to the United Way of the Columbia Gorge that supports programs in Hood River, Wasco, Sherman, Klickitat, and Skamania Counties.