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:
- Chris King (the man and the company) were on hand serving free Stumptown coffee!
- Inside Ride was showing off their latest product.
- Mountan Cycle was giving demo rides of their Stumptown cyclocross frame.
- Sacha White, the man behind Vanilla Bicycles and his dog Charlie were giving support to Team Vanilla and Sacha worked the pits for Elite rider Shannon Skerritt.
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.