The athletes competing in the Bend Memorial Clinic Cascade Cycling Classic range from world-renowned riders to Bend business owners who juggle work, family and training.
"Team Oregon" is a group of local riders who prove that with enough dedication, they can hold their own against the top cyclists in the world.
Bend cyclist Scott Gray, 34, rode in place on his trainer, warming up for Stage 1 of the CCC.
"For a lot of us, especially the Oregon guys, this is kind of the peak of our year, because it's the hometown race," said Gray. "I's one of the biggest stage races in America. And there's a lot of fast guys here, so it's important to come here and perform."
Gray rides with four other teammates, one from Bend and the others from Portland. While many of the competitors have been racing for most of their lives, he's been competing seriously for about six years.
Even though Gray rides between 15 and 20 hours a week, he said his main focus is his Sunriver business, Village Bike and Ski, and his wife and 1-year-old son.
"For us that train and race bikes, this is kind of our off time," Gray said. "When we're not with our family, or we're not working, we're spending time on our bikes."
Although they might not dominate a race as big as the CCC, Team Oregon members said they're competing against themselves and gaining experience.
"It's pretty cool, looking at the results and seeing that one of the guys raced the Tour de France several times," said Bend cyclist Austin Arguello. "So it's just cool racing with this high caliber of a field, and it gives me something to aspire to as I get older."
For many of the men and women on the road, it's the feeling cycling gives them that keeps them coming back for more.
"Things get very simple and very clear," said Portland cyclist Carl Hoefer. "You have very few moments of clarity in life, because you have family and you have other things going on. So in a race, you're very focused. And at some point, it becomes a moment of both exhilaration and pain."
As the races continue with the Downtown Crit and Awbrey Butte Circuit Race, Gray said he hopes to finish in the top 10 or 15 in the Elite Category. And he hopes all the training pays off as he pushes toward the finish line.
"There's just that big adrenaline rush, and any endurance athlete will tell you that you get this big rush," Gray said. "And once you're used to that, it's really hard to go back to not exercising and working hard. Guys that try and retire wind up coming back and doing something like this."
Gray finished 11th in Wednesday's Mackenzie Pass race. He was the only non-pro in the top 30.