Opportunity Knocks for Those in Search of Mountain Biking Adventures in the Northwest in the Months Ahead

March 18, 2013

From Press Release –

Cog Wild Bicycle Tours offers a full range of tours starting with half-day and one-day trips to Bike & Brewery Weekends and multi-day adventures. Learn about the natural history of the area and make new friends on a tour customized for each guest. Cog Wild’s guides have many years of experience riding in Central Oregon, prepare scrumptious, nutritious meals and are known for entertaining tales.

Cog Wild is also a supporting sponsor of Central Oregon’s Pacific Crest Weekend Sports Festival. In addition to offering transport of participant’s bikes to the swim/transition venue at Wickiup Reservoir on race weekend (for a fee), they also have ongoing bike tours and shuttle service available for those venturing to east of the Cascades for Pacific Crest, or any other time during the coming months.

The trails surrounding Bend, Sunriver and Sisters are perfect for riders of all levels from beginner and family up to expert level. Each tour is paired with riders of similar level riding experience to ensure a great trip. Bike rentals and pick up in Sunriver is available. Interested guests are encouraged to call Cog Wild or look at Cog Wild’s website for details.

Cog Wild Bicycle Tours is owned by Melanie Fisher and Lev Stryker, two experienced mountain bikers pooling their talents to create fun, once-in-a-lifetime adventures perfect for riders of all levels. “I have mountain biked in many places across the globe, and Central Oregon has some of the most amazing trails I have ever seen. There are few places you can choose from a 10 mile, 30 mile or even 100 mile route and still never cross your tracks once” shares Melanie Fisher. Central Oregon is home to a huge network of cross country trails crossing through forests and meadows complete with breathtaking views of the Cascade Mountains. “One of my favorite rides takes you through Happy Valley where I am still waiting for Smurfs to appear from behind rocks as you cross little streams and fields of flowers, all the time surrounded by huge mountains.. it is a surreal experience,” continues Melanie.

Cog Wild is a supporter of COTA, the local Trail Alliance that ensures a wonderful riding experience by keeping the hundreds of miles of trails in perfect riding order every year. Many guests coming to Central Oregon are overwhelmed by their choices in where to ride, and this is where Cog Wild comes in. Guests can share with Melanie and Lev what type of terrain and riding experience they are looking for, and the owners of Cog Wild can help them choose a tour to fit their needs. “Guests always leave us tired and with a big smile, the usual feedback is that their time riding with us was the highlight of their visit to Central Oregon” explains Lev.

To contact Cog Wild please call 541-385-7002 or 866-610-4822 or find them at www.cogwild.com.

First Thursday Urban Adventure Runs Presented By Fit Right – Begins March 7

February 25, 2013

From Press Release –

Join Portland’s most popular FREE group run happening the First Thursday of each month (March – September 2013).  With an average of more than 600 runners in attendance, this unique and groundbreaking event allows you to go for a test run in various brand shoes and listen to awesome music by DJ Raj!  FREE BEER!  Yup, after you’ve visited all of your checkpoints to collect raffle tickets, you can enjoy a beer in their beer garden, mingle with sponsors and get ready to win one of over $3,000 in prizes given away each night.

For more information about the Fit Right First Thursday Urban Adventure Run, visitwww.fit-right-nw.com/1st-thursday.html

Additional First Thursday Images – Facebook Photo Gallery

First Thursday Videos:

FitRightFirstThursday4 FitRightFirstThursday2 FitRightFirstThursday3 FitRightFirstThursday1 FitRightFirstThursday5


Hesch and Bak Take 2012 Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon Titles

September 2, 2012

From Press Release –

Christian Hesch, of Hollywood, CA and Natalie Bak of Bend, OR enjoyed perfect running conditions in the Willamette Valley on their way to their first Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon victories today.  Hesch ran a 1:06:37, to beat out Aissa Oghoughi of Vancouver, WA (1:07:05) and defending champion Mario Mendoza of Bend (1:08:53).  Bak, who finished 2nd last year, completed the scenic 13.1-mile course in 1:19:23, defeating Lauren Johnson of Portland, OR (1:19:31) and Korina Pongracz-Bartha of Portland, OR 1:21:53.  Bak and Hesch received $500 in cash, a Riedel Decanter trophy and Double Magnum of wine from Ken Wright Cellars.

Nearly 1,500 runners traveled from 40 different states and seven foreign countries to the heart of Oregon’s Wine Country in the Willamette Valley.  The race started at Stoller Vineyards, as the sun was rising over Mt. Hood to the east and the moon setting to the west, providing spectacular views for the runners.

Hesch built a strong early lead but had to “kick it into gear” after Oghoughi mounted a strong challenge at mile 11.  “It was an incredible day and an incredible course,” Hesch said.  “It rivals any wine country scenery I’ve ever run through.”

It was beautiful out there, I loved the run and Destination Races does a great job,” said women’s winner Natalie Bak.  “I’ll definitely be back next year.”

The Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon is the fourth of five events in the Wine Country Half Marathon series.  Produced by Destination Races of Sonoma, California, the Wine Country Half Marathon series also includes events in Santa Barbara Wine Country, Napa-to-Sonoma, Healdsburg and Loudoun County, Virginia.  For more information visit www.destinationraces.com or www.run4oregonwine.com.

Results (full results can be viewed HERE)

1.  Christian Hesch, Hollywood, CA — 1:06:37
2.  Aissa Oghoughi, Vancouver, WA — 1:07:05
3.  Mario Mendoza, Bend, OR — 1:08:53

1.  Natalie Bak, Bend, OR — 1:19:23
2.  Lauren Johnson, Portland, OR — 1:19:31
3.  Korina Pongracz-Bartha, Portland, OR — 1:21:53

Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon Gears Up for Year Three

August 29, 2012

From Press Release –

Thousands of runners, wine enthusiasts, sponsors and spectators will converge at the finish line of the Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon, presented by Subaru, in the “great little town” of Carlton on Sunday, September 2nd. Now in its third year, the race is one of the most scenic half marathons in the country, and features four days events beginning on Thursday at Sports Authority in Beaverton.

Two-time defending women’s champion Carre Heineck is returning to attempt to win her third-in-a-row.  The 30-year-old Portland resident set the women’s course record last year at 1:18:44 and looks to better that mark in 2012. “The Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon is a big, competitive race, but it doesn’t seem like it, because people are so friendly and supportive,” comments Heineck in a brief moment between being a full-time middle school teacher and the mother of a two-year-old. “It has a great community feel to it. At most big races, you never really talk to the other competitors, but at this race, everyone hangs out. Last year, I met Eva Vail, who finished 3rd and now we’re friends and we train together.”

The 13.1-mile race starts at Stoller Vineyards and winds through scenic Yamhill County in the heart of the Willamette Valley wine region before finishing on North Pine Street in Carlton. A Wine & Music Festival, awards ceremony and other activities follow the race in Carlton. New for 2012 will be the Winery Team Challenge, in which local wineries field teams of runners and compete for the winery trophy.

According to Matt Dockstader, the Event Director, two course changes and new elements such as the Winery Team Challenge have been added to enhance the event experience. “Oregon has such a strong running community which is even evident within the wineries. Many of them pull together teams to compete in the race, which gave us the idea to incorporate this challenge into all our races. It gives it a fun, local flavor, although we draw from all over the country.”

Each race participant receives a specially designed technical running shirt, colorful finishers medal with a wine-stopper and corkscrew, plus a Riedel Oregon Pinot Noir wine glass and entry into the post-race Wine & Music Festival, where 24 wineries and one brewery from the region will be pouring.  Additional glasses and tickets for the festival can be purchased for friends and family.

With so many people visiting the Willamette Valley before, during and after the event, local businesses thrive. “On that weekend, we are extremely busy, especially on race day,” bristles Retta Carl, co-owner of Cielo Blu Restaurant in Carlton. “We get not only the race participants, but also the event staff, the volunteers, and the friends and families that come to watch the runners cross the finish line.”

The Health and Fitness Expo is held on Saturday September 1st from 10:00am to 6:00pm at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum, and is free and open to the public. Under the wings of the Spruce Goose, the expo features exhibitor booths, seminars, wine tasting and packet pickup for registered runners, plus discounts on other Evergreen attractions. Other ancillary events include early packet pickup at Sports Authority in Beaverton on August 30th, a welcome reception on August 31st at Grand Cru Estates, a pre-race dinner and a post-race wine tasting tour.

Adam Goucher and Tim Catalano will be guest speakers at the Expo. Adam was a 2000 US Olympian in the 10,000 meters and co-authored “Running the Edge” with Catalano. He is also the husband of Kara Goucher, who will compete for the US in the marathon in London.  KGW news anchor Laural Porter is registered to run the race with her daughter and will speak at the pre-race dinner.

The primary beneficiary of the Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon is Carlton Together Cares, a non-profit organization that operates the Carlton Community Center and develops programs for youth and families in the Carlton-Yamhill area. They are largely focused on providing youth with useful roles in the community, and safe and healthy activities.

Registration for the Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon is still open and can be accessed through the event website, www.run4oregonwine.com. A team competition with six or more runners is offered, in addition to a 2-person relay.  The race is part of a series produced by Destination Races, who also produces Wine Country Half Marathons in Napa-Sonoma, Healdsburg, Santa Barbara and Virginia. For more information on the series, visit www.destinationraces.com.

Beaverton-based AA Sports Ltd. Brings New Talent to the Portland Running Scene with New Hire Stephanie Lowe

May 1, 2012

AA Sports Ltd. congratulates their newest staff member, Stephanie Lowe, on her win at the 35th annual Seaport River Run last weekend in Lewiston, Idaho. Lowe was the overall female winner of the 2.9-mile race. Combined with a 10K, the event had a total of 1,216 participants.

Stephanie Lowe with coach (and boyfriend) Dave Ross.

“I ran about a minute faster than I expected. I think it helped that I paid more attention to my competitors than my watch,” Lowe said. “There were a lot of fast, high-school age girls in front of me at the start, but my years of racing experience told me to be patient. I passed many of them on a big hill to the bridge that crossed the river. One of the girls was still in the lead, but when I realized she was the only one, I thought to myself ‘I can win this.’ I kept her within striking distance for most of the race, then made my move after the 2-mile mark when I saw her start to struggle.”

A native of Burleson, Texas, Lowe started running in high school and competed in cross country and track at Texas Tech University. After injuries cut her college running career short, she focused on combining her passion for the sport with her career goals. Lowe covered professional and collegiate track and field, marathons and road racing for various publications. Lowe also worked as an intern for USA Track & Field before she graduated in 2008 with a degree in advertising. She said the knowledge she gained from successful athletes and coaches helped her slowly overcome her injury issues and start running again.

Lowe moved to the Northwest in 2009. She lived in Mountain Home, Idaho, before she moved to Portland last week for her new job as office manager and marketing assistant at AA Sports. Lowe said she is happy to have found a job that she enjoys in a city she loves.

“I have always wanted to live in Portland. It’s a great place for running and I have a lot of friends here,” Lowe said. “I miss my family and friends in Texas, but I was tired of too many midnight runs when the temperature was still in the 90s.”

Aside from the better weather, Lowe attributes much of her recent running accomplishments to her boyfriend, Dave Ross. Ross is also an avid runner and successful coach. He is a six-time winner of the Seaport River Run and was third in this year’s race. Since he started coaching Lowe, she has improved in every distance. Lowe qualified for Boston this January at the Houston Marathon.

“We have been together almost three years, but I only let him start coaching me last year because I previously thought I knew enough about running to train on my own,” Lowe said. “I saw the success he was having with his other athletes, so I decided to try to have him coach me for the Houston Marathon. It worked out well and I realized the importance of having a coach. He is great with figuring out the right workouts I need. He is supportive and sets higher goals than I would set for myself. It helps to have someone believe in you.”

Lowe returns to Boise for her next race on May 19, the Famous Idaho Potato Half-Marathon. She plans to run another full marathon before Boston next spring and will use shorter-distance races as part of her training.

“I race every distance from 5K to marathon, but think I am best at the longer races.” She said. “I don’t have a lot of natural speed, but I am strong, mentally tough and willing to work hard.”

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