Spring is just around the corner, and in central Oregon that could mean only one thing: It's time for the Bend Bike N Sport Cascade Crest race.

This annual all-comers freestyle event, which takes place March 14 at the Mt. Bachelor Nordic Center, is a celebration of spring by local skinny skiers. In fact it's so special that part of the race route uses terrain that is groomed only once a year.

There will be two race distances - 15 kilometers and 25K - and the competitors will start en masse in two waves (one start for each distance) at Emil's Clearing. Two other items of interest: A couple of aid stations will be located along the course and racers aged 15 and under can only compete in the 15K event.

This is a Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation-sponsored event and details and entry forms can be found at their Web site. The Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation is a local nonprofit that encourages academic achievement and promotes the positive values of competition.

The Cascade Crest race is considered a prime tune-up for that great Bend tradition: The U.S. Bank Pole Pedal Paddle, the alpine ski-nordic ski-bike-run-canoe/kayak relay race that takes place May 16.