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Riding with friends for a cause.....Ride the Rapids Deschutes River year 3

This upcoming weekend is the 3rd Annual Ride the Rapids Deschutes River. We are expecting about 100 cyclists descending into Wasco County to ride 20, 40 or 62.5 miles along pristine and smooth roads with amazing views of the Cascades, Waterfalls and Rapids of the Deschutes River.

The origin of this event started when I called a few of my buddies to show them this project I was working on in Maupin and basically wanted to show them the amazing roads and scenery that was less than. 2 hours from Portland.
June 6, 2021 the Preview of Ride the Rapids Deschutes River

The vision for the Maupin Deschutes River Athletic Complex started during the late summer of 2019. We "Imagined" what a Track and Field Complex could look like overlooking the Deschutes River Canyon just as we were about to enter a worldwide pandemic.

The Maupin Track in August of 2019

The DRAC Team worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic creating the website, drawings, partners, project plan, funding strategies, in kind work and even some virtual events to keep the project moving.

The foundation of the track was in place thanks to the Oregon National Guard. Some of the funding was in place thanks to some generous donors as well as grants that were secured by the team. However, we still needed to bring more people in to see this project and the potential it had for the community.

The Maupin Track in October of 2021

We needed a shot of confidence to keep the project moving as we entered the summer months and knew that our window of construction timing was short as we were all coming out of the Pandemic and work was beginning to ramp up.

I no longer run due to my bad knees from those years of pounding the pavement, however I love to ride my bike as well as ski.

I was looking for ways to bring people out to Maupin and create a fundraiser to help support the efforts in finishing the track. I reached out to my friend, Dan Floyd and asked him what it would take to create a cycling event that could bring people out in the off season and raise both awareness and funds for the Maupin Deschutes River Athletic Complex. He said lets give it a try.

I reached out to my friends who either worked at Nike or were just as passionate about the sport of running and also rode bikes. The group came out on June 6th, 2021 and did a preview ride that was 40 miles and ended up having lunch at the Imperial River Company on the banks of the Deschutes River.

This exposure to the project, the possiblity of creating a formal partnership with Hood to Coast and bringing awareness and confidence to break ground on the track with the goal of showcasing the progress from the summer to the cyclists in the Fall was too good to pass up. and funding to support the Maupin DRAC.

We rode on June 6th, 2021 and the team broke ground the next week bringing in an army of dumptrucks, rock, pavement and leveraging the great weather over the summer to get to a stage in October of 2021 for the first official Ride the Rapids Event.

The Maupin Track in August of 2021

Our first event we had 2 ride options. 40 and 62.5 ( 100k). The weather was spectacular in October with cool morning temperatures and partly sunny skies on both routes. The route was well marked and we had cyclists from pros to beginners. Our goal following year one was to make this ride more accessible to beginning cyclists including those that opted to get out on E-Bikes just to enjoy the scenery.

Ride the Rapids 100k ride with Mt Hood in the background near Pine Hollow Reservoir

At the time of the ride in October of 2021 the foundation of the track was in place. The next steps was to get a stretch of weather and funding in spring to complete the surfacing of the track and put on the first track meet in Maupin in over 60 years.

Lisa on her bike midway through a 40 mile ride in October of 2021 along the Deschutes River

We brought together another small group in May of 2022 to test the option of hosting the ride in May vs October. The weather was spectacular and it was just before the busys season in Maupin. We decided to move the event annually to May.

Michael and Stan at White River Falls in May of 2023

In May of 2023 60 people signed up for the ride which now included a 20 mile option for those just testing their cycling wheels. The 20 mile ride passes by White River Falls and parallels the Deschutes River from the Tribal Fishing Platforms along the Deschutes into Maupin. The 20 mile participants are able to enjoy lunch and drinks on the lawn of the Imperial River Company and get a ride back up to the start at the Tygh Valley Fairgrounds.

Harry Marra putting on a World Class Track Clinic at the Maupin Deschutes River Athletic Complex for Small School Coaches.

The Track and Field in Maupin are in full use with Football games, Track Meets, Clinics, PE Classes, Pickleball and the locals walking on the Track overlooking the Deschutes River Canyon. Field lights have been funded and added to the facility and we continue to support the athletic programs at South Wasco County High ( and Middle) School.

Ride the Rapids Deschutes River is Official!

We have added another charitable recipient this year to cast the net wider and bring awareness to another great organization, The Brain Injury Alliance of Oregon.

I am excited to get on the bike this weekend and showcase the amazing route, town and facilities that we dreamed and built as a community. What started as a way to get people out to see what we were working on has now turned into an annual event we hope continues to grow and support all that is going on with the Maupin Deschutes River Athletic Complex and our new partner the Brain Injury Alliance of Oregon.

I always go back to the IncubatorU 5-Step Methodology which this project is one of the case studies in the book, Innovation from the Ground Up.

The 5 Steps are:

Imagine-Bring people out and create an event that helps support this community and the project.
Identify-Call my friends and tap into my network to see what's possible.
Initiate-Host a Friendly Preview Ride, Host an Official Ride and Keep building
Implement-Grow the event with more options, experiences and beneficiaries
Integrate-Expand, Grow, Scale and Operationalize.

There is still time to sign up and join us for the ride this weekend. Weather is forecasted to be cool and clear and dry! Sign up and support us at this link:


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