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This past Saturday morning the halls of Chris King headquarters were buzzing with riders on their way to breakfast at the Portland Gourmet Century, a 350-person food-centered metric century through the West Hills of Portland. Greeted with a beautifully crisp July morning, anticipation was high with everything in place for a fantastic event. Riders devoured the morning’s meal offerings and began the day’s adventure.

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This is as much an eating event as it is a bicycle ride and we work hard to create a balance between the two with a pacing that gives participants the ability to savor the meals of our delicious menu while taking in the gorgeous Oregon summer scenery and chatting amongst newfound friends. This year we were honored to have a number of special guests take part in the ride. Congressman and cycling advocateEarl Blumenauer rode with a few members of his staff while rubbing elbows and sharing notes with Antonio Columbo of Cinelli and Columbus Tubing, Bike Portland blogger Jonathan Maus and talented frame builders Curtis Ingils, Jeremy SyCip, Oscar Camarena and Tony Pereira. We were happy that all of our riders enjoyed the experience that a long group ride provides as it helps to spark conversations and build memories that will last a lifetime.

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Riders were treated to a wonderful morning snack followed by a delicious Mexican style field lunch prepared by Verde Cocina. This fueled their legs and kept them pedaling throughout the day while they passed through the country hills of northwest Oregon. The final stop of the day before dinner was at Chris King’s legendary barn to share sliders, coffee, and well-deserved soft drinks with the man himself. As it turns out Chris wound up working one of his manual lathes to the delight of enraptured riders in order to manufacture a quick fix for one participant’s bicycle. With one hill between them and a dinner feast, ravenous riders tackled the tree covered climb of Old Germantown road.

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Upon arriving back at the Chris King factory everyone was greeted with cold beer from Base Camp Brewing, a hand picked selection of Oregon wine from Casa Bruno, and a delicious selection of appetizers. Live music set the proper tone as riders relived the day’s accomplishments while reveling in the meal’s many courses. Throughout the night we toured the facility giving participants a unique behind-the-scenes glimpse at the factory’s inner workings while in the café bottles of wine were opened and the beer flowed with gusto. The chorus of laughter and exclamations from every table were all the validation needed to know that the day had been successful.

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The Chris King Gourmet Century is a group effort that requires a tremendous amount of planning and effort from all involved. We look toward the last weekend of July with a mix of anxiety and excitement, hoping that the many pieces needed to put on our flagship event will seamlessly come together. This year we were fortunate to work with a talented group of chefs, baristas, bartenders, sag drivers, and a variety of volunteers whose efforts helped make the 2013 edition our best event yet. We want to thankPrasad, Harlow, Verde Cocina, Crown Paella, Kitch Cru, Base Camp Brewing, Casa Bruno, The American Barista and Coffee School, Sterling Coffee, Rawdacious Desserts, the Portland Wheelman, and the BTA for all their support in making this a wonderful event.

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