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Coast Hills Classic draws big and pays big to the winners. Supporters: “This event will continue to grow!”

Annnnnnd...they're OFF!! Coast Hills Classic Mountain Bike Race at Wilder Forest area, South Beach

Annnnnnd…they’re OFF!!
Coast Hills Classic Mountain Bike Race at Wilder Forest area, South Beach

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The Coast Hills Classic Mountain Bike Race kicked up a lot of something that isn’t seen too often around Newport – lots of dust from bullet-fast mountain bike riders who came from all over Oregon to compete in this year’s event for some nice prize money. The event re-debuted last year, picking up where the founders left off some years back. And they say the Coast Hills Classic looks to grow in the number of entrants and in stature among Oregon Mountain Bike events, statewide. Riders came from Bend, Hood River, Portland, Coos Bay and beyond.

Sponsored by Bike Newport, Newport Parks and Recreation, the Newport News-Times and a number of other well known benefactors and local businesses, the race is held on Wilder Forest Preserve lands just south of Oregon Coast Community College. It’s a ten mile course of just about every condition mountain bikers are likely to find on any competition pathway anywhere in Oregon: steep up and down hills, single and double tracks, heavy vegetation, loose gravel and dirt, shade and hot sun (especially this past weekend!) and mud.

The course is very challenging and sometimes it gets crowded out there. One injury this weekend – a young male who was reported breaking his wrist on a bad spill. Other grown up competitors showed their own badges of honor with abrasions, contusions and bruises, all well earned on the course.

Well over 100 entrants competed for $1,500 in prize money. Many pricey bicycle accessories were raffled off. Rogue Brewery provided their tasty brews, and Savory Cafe Nye Beach provided a mountain of their famous pizzas to benefit the Coast Hills Classic which is all about raising money to create scholarships for low income children who want to compete in youth sports and other recreational programs at Newport Parks and Recreation.

The big winners in this past weekend’s Coast Hills Classic were, among Category 1 Men (19-34), #1 Kolben Preble, 19, of Forest Grove (red pants), #2 Adam Demarzo, 26, Coos Bay (black pants) and #3 Matt Cline (levis). Preble finished a double course run in just under an hour and 18 minutes. Demarzo finished at one hour, 19 and a half minutes.

The top winners among the Category 1 women were Alice Pennington, 32, of Portland (pictured with grey t-shirt) with a finish time of one hour 28 minutes 28 seconds. Sue Butler (not pictured) 41, of Portland at one hour 30 minutes and 6 seconds. And third place (not pictured) was Beth Ann Orton, 31, of Portland at 1:31:30.

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Coast Hills Classic officials say this weekend’s event was very well attended. They say they’re very optimistic that the Coast Hills Classic will soon be considered one of the premier mountain bike competitions events in all of Oregon. Supporters say the event has already been roundly praised in a national mountain bike competition magazine as a “must do” course for those who want an excellent racing experience while while enjoying a deep forest environment with the Pacific Ocean occasionally visible at points in the course.

Race supporters say they want to thank everyone who helped put on this year’s event, taking it to the next level. They say “it’s for the kids,” who would not otherwise be able to afford to participate and grow, in character and confidence, as a part of the rainbow of Newport Recreation programs for young Newport area kids.

On to next year’s Coast Hills Classic, 2014!

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