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The best of Bend’s crazy, costumed ‘cross racing

Posted by on October 31st, 2011 at 2:21 pm

What a weekend!
(Photos © J. Maus)

Bend Cyclocross weekend 2-9

Lots of smiles out there.

This past weekend in Bend was sort of magical. Nearly perfect fall weather mixed with the largest cyclocross race series in the world (in terms of participation) and a lot of Halloween spirit to produce a very memorable Day of the Dead Cyclocross Festival.

The Oregon Bicycle Racing Association says there 1,940 riders over two days — their best Halloween totals ever.

Out on the race course there were two big stories: dust and costumes.

Bend Cyclocross weekend-8

This shot reminded me of a
soldier returning from battle
(with dust in this case).

I had heard about Bend’s dusty trails, but after racing in it for two days I can now speak from experience: The stuff is nasty. Saturday’s course took huge packs of racers — 110 or so in my field — right into the thickest dust right at the start. It was so bad I could feel the particles entering my throat when I breathed in and I could barely make out the racers in front of me. Sunday’s course was a bit less dusty, because we started on the grassy side.

All in all, the course was a ton of fun, with swooping corners, the aforementioned dust (which was actually kind of fun if you found the right lines), and of the largest and loudest crowds I’ve seen all year. The Old Mill District venue is also one of the best anywhere. It seems like it was tailor-made to host cyclocross.

Sunday was also costume day! In what has become a very proud Cross Crusade tradition, a vast majority of racers line up dressed up. Some categories had nearly everyone in costume. Each year people show up with more creative, elaborate, and coordinated outfits.

I especially liked the team costumes. There were a bunch of chickens with real feathers that were flying all over the course by days, there was a team of tootsie rolls, an amazing group of mariachi band musicians in Dia de los Muertos makeup, Pac-Man followed menacingly by ghosts, and there was even a full team of Sprockettes (which made me feel less silly for being dressed up like one myself)!

Check out more of the costume craziness in the photos below…

Think you’re a hardcore Ducks fan? Try pedaling this thing for a few laps!

Warriors, come out to play-yay!

The Sorella Forte Women’s Cycling Team showed up as The Sprockettes!

The dust drove many racers completely bananas…

Keeping with the fruit theme… Grapes anyone?

A frog chasing a fly: This woman deserves very high marks for both creativity and execution…

Love this one… Look how her cape is flying and she’s determined to catch the bad guys (or gals in this case)!


A very intricate and detailed Dia de los Muertos outfit…

A little traffic jam near the beer garden…

Extra points for the matching bike…

No comment needed…

This guy really earned the “Best Costume” prize because it was about 60 degrees out and this is a very hot costume…

Tin Man, nicely done…

It’s not easy being green… Or racing cyclocross in a frog costume (nice one Rick!)…

And if you thought the costumes meant people didn’t race hard. Think again…

O.K., O.K., it wasn’t all serious out there. Check out these women racers reaching for a dollar bill someone hung over the course…

And even the race sponsors got into the spirit. Check out Chris King (yes, that Chris King) in a pink “Dunking Gonuts” apron making free, fresh, rainbow-sprinkled donut pancakes.

Big thanks to the Cross Crusade, OBRA, the City of Bend, and everyone that made this a spectacular weekend.

More coverage:

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  • Spiffy October 31, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    the women dressed as Sprockettes and the people dressed as cars are my favorite…

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  • NW Biker October 31, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    See, I want to do that! Must train, must train, must train….

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  • Amos October 31, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    What an amazing weekend! The show was great, the races were awesome, and that party Saturday night blew my mind.

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  • davemess October 31, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    I don’t know that you really need to train that much. Esp. for the Halloween race!

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  • Paul Johnson October 31, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    Call me back when the guy dressed as a bike lane tries out a 75 pound, photorealistic black bear costume in an Oklahoma summer. Then we’ll talk about hot.

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  • Dan Kaufman October 31, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    Here is the video we made.
    Hope your knee is doing better, Jonathan!

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  • Scott November 1, 2011 at 8:29 am

    Wonderful shots! Thanks for sharing

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  • Jeff November 1, 2011 at 11:21 am

    Awesome coverage Jonathan.

    Just a quick note to Brad Ross and the Crusade:
    We want our Halloween races back. Word is you promised Bend one and now they’ve had it. They can have all the national championships and top professional athletes they want, and bask in all their outdoor recreational glory all year round, but we want our Halloween races back! They’ve had Nationals and the USGP. We want our Halloween races back! Let their top athletes keep humping it over the cascade’s to come to Portland’s Cross Crusade races. They’re our races! We want our Halloween races back!
    Or maybe you could just take the Halloween races on the road each year, Southern Oregon Outlaw series next year, Seattle the following year, Eugene after that… We want our Halloween races back!

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  • Brad Ross November 1, 2011 at 11:47 am


    Sorry to break it to you but we had way too much fun in Bend last weekend. We’ll be going back there for quite a while.

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    • Jeff November 1, 2011 at 3:31 pm

      Insert frowny face here.

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  • Thomas Le Ngo November 1, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    I love these photos. Great work, Jonathan!

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  • jocko November 1, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    Jeff I assume you are from Astoria, I love that course! Lets hope Brad and Co. nix the lame-o hilboro course and come back to the coast for 2012. I do have to agree with Brad that the Halloween gig in Bend is and unbeatable team of a sweet course and an awesome supportive town.

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    • Jeff November 1, 2011 at 3:28 pm

      No I’m from Portland, but Astoria is a hell of a lot closer than Bend and is another wonderful venue that will be missed (a big Halloween RIP to so many past venues we no longer visit). Bend is just too far for me. In the past you could get to any of the Halloween venues on Sunday morning and enjoy the whole day while still getting home at a reasonable time. Now, if you can’t make it Saturday, a one day trip to Bend and back with a race thrown in leaves little time for spectating and fun. I know the real party is Saturday night but the whole weekend isn’t always realistic for me. We’ll see how the Portland turnout is when there isn’t a handmade bicycle show and it’s 18 degrees instead of 60.

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  • Lester November 2, 2011 at 12:46 am

    There was CX racing on Saturday in Vancouver. No dust whatsoever. I was hoping to race but worked to late to make it for my category’s start time, so I just watched the last two races.

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  • Rich November 2, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    My intent was never to ride that bad boy stingray in the race but I had it parked in the pit for safe keeping and pinch flatted right before the pit and before the last lap, sooooooooo. Talk about suffering!!!

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