Over 1,800 racers and muddy conditions kick off Cross Crusade season

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The mud in this tricky off-camber downhill section gave even the elite riders a lot to think about on Sunday.
(Photo: Dylan VanWeelden/Pushing Towards Normal)

The River City Bicycles CylcoCross Crusade kicked off in fine fashion this weekend. With a big double-header at Alpenrose Dairy in southwest Portland, we are now in the thick of Portland ‘cross season. And by thick, I mean thick mud.

Right now hundreds of Portlanders are nursing sore legs and picking bits of mud out of their bikes and bodies thanks to extremely sloppy conditions on Sunday. The course stayed relatively harmless on Saturday as only the early-starting categories dealt with a moist course. But yesterday the rain was, as race announcer Luciano Bailey put it, “relentless.”

You could sense the appreciation for shared misery in the post-race banter, the buzz in the team tents, and on social media this morning.

Alpenrose is challenging enough as a course in dry conditions; add in significant amounts of rain and mud and it becomes epic. Riders struggled all day and in every category to simply stay on their bikes as what started as soupy goop in the morning got progressively stickier (and even tougher to ride) toward the afternoon. But there’s no complaining in ‘cross. In fact, challenging conditions are what the sport is all about. Yes it’s hard; but it’s hard for everyone and there’s a palpable sense of shared experience and the bonds forged through conditions like Sundays are what tie this community together.

Cross Crusade crew member Steven Beardsley said 1,023 turned out to race on Saturday and 875 on Sunday.

Here’s how the action looked both days through the lenses of Daniel Steinle (Yung Pine Photography) and Dylan VanWeelden (Pushing Towards Normal).

Saturday – Cross Crusade Race #1 (Photos by Daniel Steinle)

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Sunday – Cross Crusade Race #2 (Photos by Dylan VanWeelden)

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Next weekend the Crusade series rolls out to the Columbia River Gorge for another doubleheader at Cascade Locks.

BikePortland will be there to watch and race, so stay tuned for more racing coverage.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Scott Mizee
Scott Mizee
6 years ago

YES! Let the games begin!!! Thanks for the coverage, Jonathan!

bradwagon
bradwagon
6 years ago

Was hating being the first race on Saturday… Overjoyed to be the first race come Sunday when you could still ride a majority of the course.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)

I was planning on going on a little Grail Hunt Saturday and then dropping by to watch the racing- but I ended up riding until 6pm! Ah well.

Mark
Mark
6 years ago

Crowds on Saturday afternoon were pretty dismal. I know the organizers tweaked the schedule to get more crowds, but that didn’t seem to be the case on Saturday. Maybe Sunday was a better showing. It’s great to have so much participation, but it would also be great if we had big crowds to cheer on our local pro’s.

bradwagon
bradwagon
6 years ago
Reply to  Mark

I live close by and raced early so I went home, got my bike and self cleaned up then went back to watch Saturday afternoon. Can’t say for Sunday but I will agree there didn’t seem to be many spectators only (not racing at some point in the day or with someone that raced). That being said it still felt lively at the highlighted parts of the course and I enjoyed having the elite races later in day to hang out and watch.

Seeing as the parking space was already full and Alpenrose isn’t the most convenient place to walk or transit to I’m not sure it will ever be a suitable venue for drawing too large of a spectator crowd… which is a bummer because it’s a great course for spectating at.

Mark
Mark
6 years ago
Reply to  bradwagon

My comment was not intended to take away from the number of racers for the day, that was great. I was simply making the observation that spectating in the afternoon, it seemed like a low turnout. It could be that it’s a difficult venue to get to, park, etc., or maybe there is another reason. I was saying that it would be nice to see big crowds for the pro’s in the afternoon.

Adam
6 years ago

I considered going to watch this, but I looked up bus directions and it would have required me to walk a mile on a street with no sidewalks.

SilkySlim
SilkySlim
6 years ago
Reply to  Adam

I am shocked – no, shocked and appalled – that this dairy farm (and all others frankly) aren’t bus accessible.

Adam
6 years ago
Reply to  SilkySlim

Alpenrose is both within the Portland city limits and within the TriMet service area. It’s a reasonable assumption.

Ann
Ann
6 years ago
Reply to  Adam

It also hosts sports and other events most of the year. SW Portland bus service into the neighborhoods isn’t very good, especially outside of commute hours.

Chris I
Chris I
6 years ago
Reply to  Ann

The question we should be asking is why sidewalks weren’t required add part of the development that turned all of the surrounding property into houses. SW is a nightmare for pedestrian access.

Adam
6 years ago
Reply to  Chris I

That is the question, isn’t it? Between the hills and lack of sidewalks, I personally have zero interest in ever going to SW.

mran1984
6 years ago
Reply to  Adam

The riding is great. Go By Bike!

Adam
6 years ago

Thanks for the advice. I took one look at those winding country roads and they looked terrifying to me. That and I try to avoid hills whenever possible. 🙂

I’ve ridden in SW a few times and did not enjoy all the narrow roads and high car volumes.

bradwagon
bradwagon
6 years ago

From what I have seen regarding Adam’s route preferences I don’t think he has much interest in riding almost any of those roads you mentioned. His best bet would be to use the #1 Bus Line into Vermont and ride the neighborhood streets over for weekday evening race. Weekends the 44 Bus would help avoid the climb out of BHH and he could cruise the bike lane on Vermont then the neighborhood streets again.

But I agree, SW is an awesome area to ride. Only a few streets that have combined high speeds and no bike lane.

Robert Burchett
Robert Burchett
6 years ago

The half mile or so up the hill on SW Shattuck isn’t the steepest hill I’ve seen, or the most dangerous road I’ve been on, but it’s no fun. It’s narrow and there’s a fair amount of traffic. (When there’s a big event lots of cars have bikes on them). Is it possible that promoters could set up a shuttle from a park & ride or some other place with transit access and/or surplus weekend car parking?

Adam
6 years ago

Shuttle buses would be a fantastic idea. I wish the city would use them more frequently for special events. They also would have come in handy on Mothers Day at the Rhododendron Garden where PBOT allowed parking in the bike lane on SE 28th to accommodate all the additional visitors. The garden would have been a short bus ride from the MAX.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Reply to  Adam

There are some great places to ride in SW. Especially because of the hills. But I don’t ride on sidewalks anyhow.

Zimmerman
Zimmerman
6 years ago
Reply to  Adam

Oh my gosh, a whole mile?

Adam
6 years ago
Reply to  Zimmerman

Yeah, I’d prefer not to walk on a street like this, sharing the road with drivers who think they are in a car commercial. There’s not even a shoulder to walk on.

Eric Leifsdad
Eric Leifsdad
6 years ago
Reply to  Adam

If you took the stairs up to 45th and walked (or rode your kick-scooter) down Illinois, it’s only 1.3miles and only a bit more climbing.

Oleson to Dover seems like a nice way to go (and shorter, with less hill from BHH) if you can get in through the back fence. That stretch of BHH isn’t a bad ride either. When are those rubber curbs and wands going in?

Erik
Erik
6 years ago
Reply to  Zimmerman

I think Adam’s bigger point is that if a venue is not spectator accessible or if it requires that the spectator be in good physical condition just to get to the venue, you shouldn’t expect lots of non participants to come. Furthermore that walk up Shattuck is hard for most people. It’s steep and narrow without a lot of space.

But your macho attitude is pretty cool.

SE Rider
SE Rider
6 years ago
Reply to  Erik

This venue is spectator accessible, just better by car (which is how a vast majority of folks get to cross races).

Chris I
Chris I
6 years ago
Reply to  SE Rider

“Better by car” implies that the alternative is a reasonable option. The roads leading to Alpenrose and the surrounding neighborhoods are narrow and winding. No sidewalks, and no shoulders. I grew up in SW and spent years playing ball at Alpenrose. Not once in my life have I seen a pedestrian walking on that road.

Alpenrose is accessible by people driving cars, or “strong and fearless” type cyclists. It is completely inaccessible to pedestrians and transit riders.

SE Rider
SE Rider
6 years ago
Reply to  Chris I

Sure, and my point was who would the audience for a cyclocross race mostly be made up of? People driving there (many racing themselves) and “fearless” cyclists riding there. I don’t think there is a great expectation that lots of random folks are going to be coming to spectate these races.

It’s one weekend of races, there are a few other venues that are more “friendly” for peds and transit in town check out PIR), but the majority of cross races are out of Portland and require a car to get to anyway.

I wear many hats
I wear many hats
6 years ago
Reply to  Adam

why not ride Adam H? Its super close to multiple bus stops, and its only a few miles from downtown.

Adam
6 years ago

Steep hills and busy roads, mostly.

Josh
Josh
6 years ago
Reply to  Adam

Bikes?

Fred Berggeist
6 years ago
Reply to  Adam

I was considering not responding to this comment, but it was so classic Adam H, I couldn’t resist. Fact: no one cares about the bus schedule. If you liked cyclocross, you’d go to this, if you don’t race cyclocross, most likely you did something productive with your day.

Keep ’em coming!

Kate
Kate
6 years ago

So fun, I regret that I skipped Sunday’s race. Thanks for the coverage Jonathan. Hope to see you in Cascade Locks!

Zimmerman
Zimmerman
6 years ago

Yes, my attitude is macho. Being able to walk an entire mile, even uphill, is definitely the epitome of masculinity.

Chris I
Chris I
6 years ago
Reply to  Zimmerman

On a road with no shoulders, blind corners, and auto traffic. Have your actually walked from BHH to Alpenrose?