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

Posted by on October 10th, 2016 at 2:40 pm

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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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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Scott Mizee
Guest

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

bradwagon
Guest
bradwagon

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)
Editor

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
Guest
Mark

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.

Adam
Subscriber

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.

Kate
Guest
Kate

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

Zimmerman
Guest
Zimmerman

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