I love the rough-and-tumble outer shell of the otherwise cuddly sport of cyclocross. With it’s usually grueling weather, tough courses, and party-like atmosphere, the sport’s promoters revel in its rowdiness.
The first ‘cross race of the season was named Pain on the Peak and this weekend, racers will head south on Saturday to the Rickreall Rampage and then out to Gresham for the Battle at Barlow on Sunday.
The Rickreall is sponsored by Veloshop and it’s being held on a working farm in the Willamette Valley, just west of Salem. In addition to a perfect warm-up for the opening of the Cross Crusade in Portland next weekend, organizers promise “a bonfire and shenanigans, so be prepared to grin excessively”.
If you’re headed out to Sam Barlow High in Gresham for the “Battle”, you’re in for a classic “Euro-style” course that organizers say will be challenging but “fast with plenty room to pass.”
If you’re new to ‘cross this year (and all signs point to lots of newcomers this season), don’t be worried about this scary exterior. Cyclocross is like a pit bull with a tender heart — it looks tough, but it’s really sweet.
More info on both races can be found at OBRA.org.