Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on May 14th, 2008 at 9:23 am
Waterfront Park is in the background.
View the Stage 1 Photo Gallery
(Photos © J. Maus)
The Mt. Hood Cycling Classic got off to a fast start in downtown Portland last night.
It was a surreal sight. All the northbound lanes of Naito Parkway were closed and lycra-clad pro bike racers sped down the road while rush-hour traffic sat in a gridlock all around the course.
227 of America’s fastest cyclists (143 men and 84 women) went through the start ramp — which was located right in front of Salmon Street Fountain. They tested their bodies and machines against the clock in front of hundreds of appreciative fans.
The fastest time of the day came from Benjamin Jacques-Maynes who rides with the Bissell Pro Cycling Team. Jacques-Maynes completed the 1.7 mile course in just 2 minutes and 45 seconds — an average speed of over 37 mph (!) only four seconds ahead of his brother Andy. Local pro Doug Ollerenshaw finished in 17th place, a mere six seconds behind the winner. Only six seconds separated the top 20 finishers.
With full-body “skin-suits” and teardrop helmets, some of the riders looked like alien life-forms, dropped onto Earth just to compete. The craziest outfit of the day went to 3-time US Pro Cycling Champion “Fast” Freddie Rodriguez. Check him out:
3-time US Pro Champion and your nickname is “Fast Freddie”.
On the women’s side, the fastest time was turned in by New Zealander Joanne Kiesanowski who completed the course in 3 minutes and 8 seconds. [Note: I did not arrive in time to photograph the women’s race.]
The racing action continues in Portland today with a criterium/circuit race around a hilly course in Mt. Tabor Park. The Pro Women’s field starts at 3:00 and the Pro Men start at 5:00. From there, the race heads inland for the final four stages.
More info at MtHoodCyclingClassic.com.