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Report: Cross Crusade rages at Alpenrose

Posted by on October 9th, 2005 at 1:38 am

(This content is sponsored by Cyclepath Bike Shop, authorized Mountain Cycle dealer).

Cross Crusade #2 - Alpenrose Dairy, Portland OR
Cross Crusade #2 - Alpenrose Dairy Portland, OR

Whew! It was a tremendous day of racing out at Alpenrose Dairy. 760 racers braved the day making this the largest cyclocross race ever on U.S. soil. Unlike last year, the rain didn’t start ’till right at the end so the course wasn’t too muddy…but it was still very tough judging from the numerous crashes. All the big guns showed up for this one. Lynne Bessette, Geoff Kabush, Trebon, Wicks, McCormack, Mazza…you name it. All of America’s best and brightest crossers were on hand.

I rode out to the event with a few guys from the PSU Cycling Team and I’m more tired from running around the race course than pedaling my bike over the SW hills. The great thing about cyclocross is there’s a ton of places to watch the action. Some of my favorites were the run-up, the dismount area in the infield, the fast turns up on the pavement, and of course, the start line.

Some random observations:

  • Dogs are great. But the whole venue smelled like poo (or was just me?!). I think people couldn’t differentiate between mud and poo so it just got all mixed up…yum.
  • The only food available was bite-size pieces of Clif Bars. Why didn’t they line up a real food vendor? They would have made a killing.
  • In the men’s Elite Masters race a Kona team rider (Dale Knapp) was in second place when the guy ahead of him crashed pretty hard. When they announced the crash, a Kona team crew member clapped in excitement at his competitors misfortune. No class.
  • The crowd was great…but everyone cleared out after the top 5 or so Elite men came in. That’s lame.
  • Big-time-mountain-biking-superstar-champion-guy Geoff Kabush had some really bad luck. He rolled his clincher and had to run back to the pits. He ended up outside the top 20 and was almost in a sprint finish with local Molly Cameron…but she took an untimely spill right before the finishing straight (and I had my camera at the ready!).
  • Beer was all over the place.
  • Local racer Erik Tonkin seems like a really nice guy.
  • The pit is a dog-eat-dog place. It was small and crowded and everyone was jockeying for position and yelling at their riders. I liked it.
  • I had some really cool shots of Rhonda Mazza but they got erased somehow. Bummer.

Local companies where out in force in the expo area:

I saw all sorts of folks:

  • I ran into reporter Abby Haight and photographer Torsten Kjellstrand from the Oregonian, so expect a feature from them tomorrow. (Update: Here it is!). Abby did the great piece on racing at PIR a few months back.
  • Kevin from PSU Cycling Team was happily sporting his newly bald head even though he taco-ed his wheel during a botched dismount just moments before I snapped this photo.
  • Friends from Shift rode over from the Commons.
  • A dude racing the singlespeed class in a speedo…they called him “Singlespeedo.”
  • Tad, a local bike messenger and Chunkathlete raced on an old clunker fixed gear!

After the last race of the day, the rain was coming down steadily and I hopped aboard my bike and rode home.

You can see all 81 of my photos in my Cross Crusade #2 photoset…and for a more detailed report of the racing and results, check out the coverage over at VeloNews.

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  • Cheryl October 9, 2005 at 8:29 am

    The Dairy doesn’t smell like poo….it smells like manure. They have some really nice horses that spend time hanging out and “pooing” on the course. While there are dogs that roam those fields when there isn’t racing and dogs came to the race, dogs are small contributors to the varied smells of Alpenrose.

    Erik Tonkin _is_ a really nice guy.

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  • Ian October 9, 2005 at 10:26 am

    Although I always try to hang out for as many of the finishers/podium time/random racer meetings that I can, I think I’m not alone in choosing to take off right at the end of the men’s elites due to the sudden torrential rain. Yeah, I know it’s ‘cross, but after a long day of it holding off, it gave everyone a quick excuse to try to beat the traffic. A fun time all around, as usual: All Hail the Crusaders!

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  • Chris October 9, 2005 at 12:54 pm

    I started the singlespeed race with a big splotch of doggie “joy” on my front tire. I was very popular in the group at the start line as it was a particularly ripe one.

    Speaking of dogs, did you all see that big brown dog? I’ve never seen a dog that big, if you can call it a dog. I’d probably call it a Bear.

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  • Cate October 9, 2005 at 1:04 pm

    I might be weird but I like the poo smell at Alpenrose. It reminds me of a real farm and life away from the city. And it reminds me that it wasn’t all that long ago that much of southwest was the land of working dairies and cow pastures.

    And yes, I saw the bear (dog) too. I told the owner, “That is a HUGE dog”. She laughed.

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  • Kevin October 9, 2005 at 2:09 pm

    I think the poo smell comes from that nasty pond up above the ‘drome. It’s especially nice smelling first thing in the morning. It makes everyone take corners 3 and 4 a little faster … Allez! Allez!

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  • nick October 9, 2005 at 4:22 pm

    Great post, Jonathon. For the record, dude in the speedo was a geared racer. Some time ago, there was a speedo contest for the single speeders. This guy apparently just likes wearing a speedo.

    On another note, my brother in-law rode into a tree and broke his collar bone. Bad luck, that.

    I was able to get my previously stolen bike together two days before the race and, though my performance was certainly not spectacular, at least I finished….

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  • Guy with Bottles in Pocket October 9, 2005 at 9:00 pm

    Um, er, I was just recycling some rootbeer bottles to get bus fare for the ride home…

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  • Jonathan Maus October 9, 2005 at 11:24 pm

    Sorry to hear about your brother. I hope he’s quick to heal. Too bad I didn’t run into you. I would have liked to see the resurrection of your bike. Congrats on finishing!

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  • Caroline October 10, 2005 at 6:50 pm

    Thanks for the great photos!

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  • Jessica Roberts October 11, 2005 at 9:53 am

    Not only is Erik Tonkin a nice guy and a great bike mechanic (I won’t let anybody else touch my Vanilla), he’s married to Rhonda Mazza….what a fantastic racing couple!

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  • […] Last year, Portland’s cyclocross scene was one of the biggest in the country. At one Cross Crusade event (Alpenrose) there were 760 competitors, making it the largest event of its kind in the history of U.S. cross racing. […]

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