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Twilight Criterium packs the Park Blocks

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Winner of the pro race, John Murphy.
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(Photos by Jonathan Maus)

The Portland Twilight Criterium wasted no time warming up to its new North Park Blocks location. The race — which has been held around the South Park Blocks for the past five years — thrilled a massive crowd on Friday night.

This event is what bike racing is all about.

A band played as racers whirred by; the infield was full of kids (the playground gave parents a chance to watch the action) and the beer garden was full of appreciative fans who craned their necks and stood on tiptoes for a glimpse at the racers.

Erik Tonkin takes a turn.

There was the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat, and everything in between. And, for one racer, the night was an opportunity to ask for his girlfriend’s hand in marriage. Clad in lycra, he popped the Big Question, and she said, “yes!”. They hugged. It was sweet, in a bike-nerd sort of way.

Local lawyer, veteran racer, and former Alice B. Toeclips award winner Mark Ginsberg rolled to victory in the Category 3 race. He savored the victory, as his smile in this photo can attest.

In the pro race that followed, Doug Ollerenshaw was our best hope for another hometown win.

The race got off to a blistering pace. Kona-sponsored superstar Ryan Trebon and Gentle Lovers’ rider Kevin Hulick kept the pace high. The pros completed laps in what seemed like mere seconds.

In the end, Ollerenshaw came across the line in second and his Healthnet teammate John Murphy took the win, after soloing for the final 12 laps.

Winner John Murphy, with Chad Hartley
(L) and Doug Ollerenshaw (R)

It was a great night of racing and all-around bike revelry.

For full results, click here. For more photos, check out my gallery, or view the slideshow below:

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.