Echelon Fitness in Northwest.
(Photo: Russell Cree)
Bike racing is a big deal in Portland. This time of year, many of the folks you see biking around town aren’t headed to the store or to work, they’re putting in base miles and doing intervals — all with an eye toward being faster and more fit for the coming race season.
Last year, the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association (OBRA) reported 4909 registered members, a nearly 10 percent increase over 2009. 2010 also saw record amounts of race events and participation levels in all disciplines.
But, you might be wondering, how can Portlanders get those requisite miles in the saddle when it’s so cold and wet outside? Yes, some tough men and women just put on rain gear and head out, but many others are finding that indoor training isn’t such a bad option. They’re lucky because Portland is home to several, high-quality training facilities run by professional coaches that offer a variety of indoor cycling and cycling-specific strength classes.
Nathan Frechen is a fitness guru and bike racer who teaches a class at Therapeutic Associates Portland Athletic Center for Excellence (PACE, 4829 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.). The evening classes are a mix of weights, core work and what he calls, “non-traditional cardio” — which are Rocky Balboa-esque drills like sled pulling, tire flipping and chain dragging. Nathan has taught the class for about a year and says participants have seen “great results.” “Everyone has gotten stronger and leaner. I’m a huge believer in not just riding a bike to get in shape.” Nathan’s bootcamp classes at PACE are $15 per class to drop in or $75 a month.
Edge Performance Fitness (1502 North Ainsworth) is another training facility that offers bike-specific workouts. Located in North Portland right off the MAX line on Interstate Avenue, Edge offers cycling classes focused on agility and core strength. They also have a class that combines a Spin workout with the “TRX Suspension System” that was originally created to train Navy SEALs. Their Cycle Core Combo class (offered in the early morning) combines 15-20 minute biking intervals with agility drills (mini-hurdles, ladders, cones) off the bike. Sounds perfect for cyclocross racers. See the full class schedule for more information.
On the other side of the river at a brand new location in Northwest is Upper Echelon Fitness (1420 Northwest 17th Avenue #388). We brought you their story back in March (before the move) and now, owner Russell Cree has even more room and more offerings for the aspiring bike stud.
Echelon offers group indoor cycling classes at noon Tuesday through Thursday, a cycling/cross-training class, and even yogo for cycling in their upstairs studio. Riders of all levels are welcome. From stationary trainers and rollers to Powercranks and other high-tech cycling simulators, Cree says, “If it’s a cycling training tool, we have it.” You can get 10 classes at Echelon for $125. See their website for more information.
And if you just can deal with rain and cold or riding indoors, Echelon is hosting their annual training camp in Palm Springs this year. All you do is show up with your bike and they take care of everything else.
For more inspiration and information about racing in and around Portland, check out these sites:
— Oregon Cycling Action – Excellent photos, gear reviews, racing tips, and more.
— OBRA.org – The official website of the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association. (Sign onto their email list for the best place in town to buy/sell gear).
— Grit and Glimmer – Home of journalist Heidi Swift and her inspirational musings on bike racing.