Tour de Lab September 1st

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 productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. 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

35 Comments
  • Avatar
    Scott Mizee October 10, 2016 at 2:48 pm

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

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    bradwagon October 10, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    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.

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    Ted Timmons (Contributor) October 10, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    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.

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    Mark October 10, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    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.

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) October 10, 2016 at 5:16 pm

      Hi Mark,

      According to Crusade crew member Steven Beardsley 1,023 racers turned out to on Saturday and 875 on Sunday.

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      bradwagon October 11, 2016 at 9:02 am

      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.

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        Mark October 11, 2016 at 3:34 pm

        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.

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  • Adam H.
    Adam H. October 10, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    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.

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      SilkySlim October 10, 2016 at 6:39 pm

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

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. October 10, 2016 at 8:48 pm

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

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          Ann October 10, 2016 at 8:58 pm

          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.

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            Chris I October 10, 2016 at 9:51 pm

            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.

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            • Adam H.
              Adam H. October 10, 2016 at 10:53 pm

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

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                mran1984 October 11, 2016 at 12:06 am

                The riding is great. Go By Bike!

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                Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) October 11, 2016 at 8:05 am

                Adam I would highly recommend doing some route explorations into southwest. It’s a nice place to ride if you know the roads. I found a great route from north Portland to Alpenrose Dairy. I go through downtown on Broadway then get onto Terwilliger. Go right onto SW Cheltenham just before Capital Hwy. Then take Cheltenham to Hillsdale town center and ride on Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy to Shattuck and go left. It’s really not bad at all… especially on a weekend.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. October 11, 2016 at 9:16 am

                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.

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                bradwagon October 11, 2016 at 9:18 am

                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.

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                Robert Burchett October 11, 2016 at 11:35 am

                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?

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. October 11, 2016 at 11:46 am

                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.

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                Ted Timmons (Contributor) October 11, 2016 at 9:02 am

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

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      Zimmerman October 11, 2016 at 9:04 am

      Oh my gosh, a whole mile?

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. October 11, 2016 at 9:41 am

        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.

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          Eric Leifsdad October 12, 2016 at 11:18 pm

          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?

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        Erik October 11, 2016 at 11:25 am

        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.

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          SE Rider October 11, 2016 at 12:54 pm

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

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            Chris I October 12, 2016 at 11:46 am

            “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.

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              SE Rider October 12, 2016 at 1:07 pm

              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.

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      I wear many hats October 11, 2016 at 3:42 pm

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

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. October 11, 2016 at 3:43 pm

        Steep hills and busy roads, mostly.

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      Josh October 11, 2016 at 7:21 pm

      Bikes?

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      Fred Berggeist October 13, 2016 at 1:00 pm

      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!

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    Kate October 11, 2016 at 10:51 am

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

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    Zimmerman October 11, 2016 at 11:29 am

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

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      Chris I October 12, 2016 at 9:03 pm

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

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