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Cross Crusade participation up 25% in 2008

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on December 1st, 2008 at 1:55 pm

Cross Crusade-SSCXWC08-45
A bit of "lunacy" and big crowds
were the norm on the 'cross
circuit this year.
(Photo © J. Maus)

It was a banner year for cyclocross in Portland.

According to official statistics compiled by the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association (OBRA), the Portland-based River City Bicycles Cross Crusade series grew an average of 25% each event compared to last year (from 836 participants per race in 2007, to 1045 in 2008). The numbers solidify the Crusade's place as the largest cyclocross race series of its kind in the world (based on participation).

One of the series' founders, architect Rick Potestio, says one of the many bright spots this year were the crowds of teams and families that hung out and enjoyed the atmosphere at the race venues. Potestio says they'd always dreamed of a "festival"-like vibe to the races and that this year, they achieved it.

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Cross_Crusade_#1-2007-1.jpg
This is one of the reasons
why Rick Potestio's face
hurts more than his legs
on Mondays.

"I can say most Mondays," recalled Potestio, "my face hurts more than my legs as I'm in constant laughter at all the lunacy that transpired."

The explosion of participation could be seen in nearly every category -- even in the Kiddie Kross field. Regularly numbering over 100 kids, Potestio says next year they'll have to create separate categories for the kids.

OBRA executive director Kenji Sugahara says 2008 was a "watershed year for Cyclocross in Portland and in Oregon in general." He added that he's most pleased with the increase in women racers; "A large number of women is a sign of a healthy racing community." Sugahara hopes the hundreds of new riders that cyclocross brought into the sport "try their hand at the many other types of racing" (like mountain bike, track, and road racing).

Candi Murray, who was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame earlier this year, is OBRA's former leader (and beloved volunteer). She said going into this season she was "worried" they wouldn't keep up the pace of last year's growth. Murray was also not looking forward to trying to tally and keep track of over 1,000 riders.

But by the end of the season, she says it became "no big deal," and adds that, "It was so much fun, I am really sad to see it end."

To celebrate the season, Cross Crusade organizers are throwing a party. The annual awards ceremony, celebration and "Prom" will happen on Sunday, December 7th. Full details at CrossCrusade.com.

Also, the final cyclocross race of the season goes down this weekend out at Portland International Raceway. The Portland Cup is the final stop on the national Gran Prix of Cyclocross circuit. Some of the sport's biggest names will duel for the national crown.

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Comments
  • Heidi Swift December 1, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    Wow! 25% is almost unbelievable. If I hadn't been there myself to see it, I'd say it was an exaggeration.

    Big props especially to the women who came out this year and represented in mind-boggling numbers.

    Beginner womens fields with 75+ racers? Killer.

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  • Tori December 1, 2008 at 11:18 pm

    Congrats to the Cross Crusades. You did a bang-up job (literally) and I can't wait for Prom!

    I'm not quite ready to say the season's over so for those of you who still want more... the Psychocross Series in Eugene has another race after USGP. I was down there this past weekend and the course and promoters were fantastic. Not to mention that it was really nice to be in a field of 15 instead of 350. If you have the means, get down there on Dec. 14th. You won't be disappointed. Come on baby, one more time!

    Details at
    http://www.obra.org/flyers/2008/psycho_cross.html

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  • k. December 2, 2008 at 8:45 am

    This is great news for the organizers of this event I'm sure. But to those of us who remember the good old days of the Cross Crusade that featured beautiful courses, field sizes small enough to actually allow racing, decent parking and good camaraderie, it's almost a death knell. A victim of their own success so to speak.

    I'm glad a lot of people are having fun but for many, this series peaked in quality several years ago. Thank goodness there are new promoters popping up with new cross races featuring fun new venues

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  • Joe December 2, 2008 at 9:11 am

    LOLOL!

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  • Paolo December 2, 2008 at 9:34 am

    To k.
    Granted I was not there so I can only take your words but I still see: beautiful courses, racing, decent parking and camaraderie at every Crusade.
    Are you sure you are not just being nostalgic of the old times?
    If I look at old pictures and videos I don't see some of the things I witnessed this year: large crowds cheering, the festival atmosphere, families, costumes, bubbles.....

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  • Vertigo Cycles December 2, 2008 at 9:44 am

    HUGE props to everyone involved to put on these races. This was my first season racing cross and my first season racing at all in nearly ten years. I had so much fun at the races that I was already looking forward to the following weekend before I got back home. The camaraderie, friendly rivalries and support I experienced this fall is unlike anything I've ever experienced while racing bicycles. Thanks to everyone!

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  • red hippie December 4, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    I think a key to the sucess of the Cross Crusade is how inclusive they are. By carving out niches for different groups of people (clysdales, kids, women, masters, juniors), this brings out a lot of people for the races that would not normally come. They then stay for the more competitive races later in the day.

    Bravo on building up the sport.

    Cheers

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