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‘Cross Up’ a fun mix of riding, crowds

An amped up cheers a racer during the ‘Cross Up’ event held at a former bowling alley on SE 82nd Ave on Saturday.
(Photo Gallery/Slideshow)

Racers vie for the lead into the first corner.

Saturday night’s “Cross Up” event was a very big night for Portland’s bike scene. Amanda Sundvor and her Backyard Blam crew brought indoor cyclocross racing to The Lumberyard on NE 82nd, and they also gave a shot in the arm to local bike culture.

Beyond the screaming crowd of several hundred people and the amazing displays of bike riding skill, it was the first event to be held at The Lumberyard, which if all goes according to plan, will be open for business by this summer. The Lumberyard will be one of the premiere indoor bike parks in the country and we got a sneak peek at its potential Saturday not just as a place to ride, but as a place to bring people together who share a common love of bicycles.

Men, women, kids, adults, beginners, and experts all seemed to get a thrill out of riding the jumps, whoops, and berms on the course. And the crowd cheering them on was just as diverse. The event brought together many strains of the local bike scene, from freak bike makers to cyclocross racers, mountain bikers, young BMX fans, families with kids of all ages, and just bike-curious folks who were looking for a good time.

If Cross Up is any indication of what’s to come at The Lumberyard, our city is in for a big treat.

As for the racing itself. Wow! Backyard Blam really outdid themselves. Before the main event even got started, we were treated to a display by some local mini-shredders and some BMX jump masters…

Once the racing started, the heats were competitive and exciting all night long (they were still racing when I had to leave at 10:30 or so!) Two riders started, shoulder-to-shoulder on a ramp…

When the flag dropped, they flew down the ramp en route to a banked, 90-degree berm…

… then they swung around slippery hairpin turns, up and over a tabletop jump, then full-speed into a series of cyclocross-style barriers followed by a stair run-up section and then onto a rolling rhythm section which let to a quarter-pipe turn and more rollers…

The finishing stretch was a fitting finale, long and fast and right in front of appreciative fans…

The venue is a former bowling alley and the racing took place in the sunken area where the lanes used to be, which made for a natural viewing platform up above. There was a DJ, lots of eating and drinking and lot of smiling, happy people — especially when they were grabbing for free prizes and hoping to win raffle items…

Event organizer Amanda Sundvor (left) and Jenny Powell.

From my perspective, the event was a huge success in many ways. Were you there? I’d love to hear your thoughts…

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