Portland’s preeminent cyclocross race series, the Cross Crusade, has announced some big changes for its 21st season that kicks off on Saturday, October 11th at the Alpenrose Dairy in Portland’s southwest hills.
One of the biggest changes this year is an entirely new race category: Women’s singlespeed. The singlespeed category is typically one of the largest (and most raucous) of the Cross Crusade. Last year’s Alpenrose race had 97 starters. In the past, everyone raced together, but now the women will get their own start time. If this sounds like fun to you, prepare to get up early. The gun goes off at 8:40 am, which organizers say should give you plenty of time to race again in the multi-speed races later in the day.
Another new thing to look out for this year is the Tailgate Party Competition to be held during race #4 (October 26th) at the Washington County Fairgrounds. “Over the past few years,” wrote series director Brad Ross in an email to the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association list, “teams have been getting more and more into their tailgater parties. So we have decided to make it an official contest.”
Technically it’s a tent party competition, a nod to the burgeoning tent villages that pop up during race day (a phenomenon we wrote about last year). Ross says a specially chosen panel of “hungry, thirsty, and somewhat impartial judges” will walk around to each tent and sample their hospitality, food and drink. Winners will get prizes, and more importantly, bragging rights.
Another big change this year is a two-day opening event. The race at Alpenrose Dairy typically sees the largest turnout of racers and spectators of the entire year. In 2010, over 1,700 racers participated. That’s almost more racers than one day of racing can handle. With over 20 categories and a relatively short course, there is only so many people Ross and his crew can safely have on the course at one time. Spreading that crowd out to two days might help reduce crowds and make the even more pleasant for everyone.
Of course many racers will participate on both days and the Crusade will change the course to keep it interesting. There will also be a camping zone if you want to hang out with teammates and friends overnight.
While the Crusade doesn’t start until next month, Portland’s ‘cross season is already well underway. There are two weeknight series to choose from — the Rapha Trophy Cup on Tuesdays and the Blind Date at the Dairy on Wednesdays — and the Grand Prix Ryan Trebon is already onto its fourth of six races. Check the OBRA schedule for more info.