Olympic hopefuls will compete in Portland next week

Posted by on May 9th, 2008 at 1:07 pm

Racing at Mt. Tabor

After a downtown time-trial on Tuesday,
racers will tackle Mt. Tabor.
(Photos © J. Maus)

The sixth annual Mt. Hood Cycling Classic will kick-off in Portland early next week. The event be the most prestigious professional cycling race ever held in the city.

Race director Chad Sperry says the race will be a qualifier for the Beijing Olympics and, with its prime place on the National Racing Calendar (NRC), it has been given the highest possible ranking (in terms of importance) on the U.S. racing circuit.

That ranking, says Sperry “Insures that every pro team in the U.S. will be here hunting down points for the national series.”

“It gives Americans a chance to see first hand who will represent the United States next this summer in Beijing.”
— Race director Chad Sperry

The event is especially important for pro women, because it is only one of three races in the nation where they can grab all-important UCI points — which could lead to Olympic glory.

“Being an international women’s race” says Sperry, “brings a whole new element to the event because it will be one of the final Olympic Qualifiers for the U.S. women…as a result we expect to racers from across North America and Europe to compete.”

Among the elite women expected to race are 11 time World champion, 20 time French champion, and Olympic gold medalist Jeannie Longo.

Local pro racer Doug Ollerenshaw, who rides for Rock Racing says unlike previous years, the Mt. Hood Classic doesn’t conflict with any other major races. That means all the top professional teams — like Health Net, Toyota, Jittery Joe’s, and Rock Racing — will send their best riders. “It will be a full-on NRC event and it will definitely be a quality field.”

Twilight Criterium 2007-2

Local pro Doug Ollerenshaw (R),
shown here with Ryan Trebon
at a race in downtown Portland
last summer.

The action begins on Tuesday with the first stage Prologue beginning at 4:00pm at Tom McCall Park. The race will consist of a 1.7 mile loop on Naito Parkway where racers will compete in an individual time-trial to determine their position on the overall general classification (the six-stage race is won by the person with the lowest overall time).

Then on Wednesday, the action moves to Mt. Tabor where a field of 130 racers will tackle a hilly, 1.3 mile circuit.

Ollerenshaw says the narrow, fast, and curvy course at Mt. Tabor gives him a bit of pause. “Tabor makes me quite nervous. That’s a big field size for such a narrow and fast course.” But he adds that locals will have an advantage, “We know how important it is to start near the front. There will be an accordian effect…and if you’re out in front you won’t get caught in the inevitable split [in the field]”.

Racing at Mt. Tabor

Racing at Tabor, with the reservoir in the background.

With such a challenging course, Doug O says he hopes a lot of Portlanders show up watch the action. “If people come out, it will make it worthwhile.”

After Tabor, the racers move out to Hood River to complete the remaining four stages of the six stage event. $55,000 in cash prizes are up for grabs, and with 35,000 total feet of climbing, whoever is left at the end deserves every penny.

Details:

    Mt. Hood Cycling Classic – Stage One
    Portland Prologue
    5/13, Tom McCall Park (1020 SW Naito Pkwy)
    First rider off at 3:00pm

    Mt. Hood Cycling Classic – Stage Two
    Mt. Tabor Criterium
    5/14, Mt. Tabor Park (6000 SE Salmon St)
    Pro Women 3:00 PM – Pro Men 5:00 PM

For more details, visit MtHoodCyclingClassic.com.

*Volunteers are needed. If you can help, please email Tre Hendricks at mhcclassic [at] gmail [dot] com and read this press release for more information.

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jeff
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jeff

Awesome!

yum, bikes...
Guest
yum, bikes...

This story was posted just in time for me to request to leave work early next week (twice!!). I\’m excited!

G.A.R.
Guest
G.A.R.

This is such a great thing to have right here in our area. As a Mount Tabor neighborhood resident, I am concerned about securing the course. It is a large course, and dogs run free in the park. (Illegally, I guess, but they don\’t know that.) How can I help?

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
Guest

\”How can I help?\”

They need volunteers!

email Tre Hendricks – mhcclassic [at] gmail [dot] com

Also see this press release for more info.

bahueh
Guest
bahueh

Hope they\’re going to move all the construction equipment near the base of the reservoir…130 pros through there at 40+mph….not safe if that stuff is still there.
course needs a cleaning too…seems like an odd place to have that caliber of a stage.

KG
Guest
KG

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWWEEEESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!

revphil
Guest

is that posture in the 1st picture typical in downhill racing?

Clif
Guest
Clif

Maybe I\’m living under a rock, but doesn\’t Chad Sperry know that the Olympics are this year in Beijing?

Andrew
Guest
Andrew

I like the top picture of Matt doing his crouching tiger black widow or whatever it is called.

Thom
Guest
Thom

I\’m so bailing out of work early on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Ed
Guest
Ed

Tabor can\’t be any worse than that double snake descent S curve in Hood River. I saw EMS haul off many folks watching from the Full Sail Patio.

It will be a good race to watch, I hope all the dogs are on a leash and the downhill skate boarders decide to ride somewhere else that day.

slammy
Guest
slammy

\”is that posture in the 1st picture typical in downhill racing?\”

Linus Gerdemann used this posture on a downhill breakaway to win a tour stage last year.

Walt
Guest
Walt

The start times listed above under details do not match the start times listed for stages 1 and 2 on the race\’s website.
The race website says the first rider Tuesday will start at 4pm and on Wednesday the women\’s race is at 3:30 and the men\’s is at 5:30pm.

Brad Ross
Guest

Clif, #8

Olympic Team selection will take place in July. There are several perameters that these selections go by. One is results in Olympic qualfying events, of which Mt. Hood is one of three. Another is coaches discretion. This is for riders who spend all of their time racing on Euro teams who don\’t have the opportunity to do the U.S. events. The last is bribery. Just kidding, I\’m sure that never happens.

Brad Ross
Technical Director
Mt. Hood Cycling Classic

Pete
Guest
Pete

The crit Sunday in downtown Hood River is always exciting! I worked the downhill S a few years ago and am hosting some guys from BMC (cool frames!) this year – housing is always in need for this growing event. Volunteers are always welcome for crowd control, as there\’s rarely a shortage of drunk or surly idiots wandering onto the course.

One change is Saturday\’s road race is now a 75-mile point-to-point (due to snow), so racers will need shuttling (also on Friday from Hood River to The Dalles for the TT, which should be a fast one with the predicted high pressure system cutting down westerly headwinds).

This is an important US event, so come on out and cheer these guys and girls on!!