Blasted wildfires.

What a disappointment Monday afternoon to learn that the Cascade Cycling Classic's "mountain leg" had to be canceled on what would have been its first year as part of the event.

Chamber Director Joe Krenowicz said that race officials were just as upset as us locals over having to cancel this north leg. But with fires burning in much of the race area, officials had little choice. The most hopeful element of this year's cancellation, though, is that CCC organizers assure Krenowicz that they'll be here next summer, that they're excited about the north Central Oregon leg.

The leg of the race was to start in South Wasco County, at the Cow Canyon rest area. It would move north, then down and up through the Maupin canyon, then move west to cut through the reservation via Simnasho and the Kah-Nee-Ta road to Warm Springs. From there, the home stretch would take riders past the Pelton Dam, aside Lake Simtustus, before heading up the canyon and onto Madras via Belmont Lane. Certainly a brutal "mountain leg" of the race, especially in 95-degree heat or so. Tires me out just to type it.

Let's hope the next big bicycle event this summer — the 2014 Cycle Oregon — will have no similar hiccups and make it to Madras as scheduled come September. The CCC would have been an exciting, unique event, but it was expected to have 275 racers. The September Cycle Oregon stay in Madras — more than 2,000 cyclists expected in town over three days — carries a substantially larger economic stick.


Have an idea on what you'd like to see in a new Jefferson County Courthouse? Then come to the public meeting tonight (see page 3) and voice it. Maybe some closet Frank Lloyd Wright will step into the annex building this evening with a transformative idea. I couldn't tell you how best to design a shed, but I'll give a shot at speaking for the vast majority: Make it look great, but don't put a bunch of frilly stuff in it. Don't be cheap, but be frugal. I'll leave more detailed suggestions to those who may have a clue.

I would make one suggestion: How about a water feature, somewhere, in our fine city. It would have been a fitting honor for the Madras centennial in 2010, but it didn't happen. The county centennial is this year, and the centennial of Madras becoming the county seat is 2016. The new courthouse is to open in 2015. How about Centennial Fountain between the still-new Madras City Hall and the new Jefferson County Courthouse?

Water -- from the irrigation which transformed our region, to the beautiful Billy Chinook and Simtustus lakes, to the rivers that form those lakes and join as the mighty Lower Deschutes -- is a vital component to what makes Jefferson County the magnificent high desert country that it is.

An impressive fountain would be a fitting homage to our history and heritage, would look amazing, and could be a spectacular showcase piece to the emerging Madras town square.

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