Cyclocross roundup: Epic flooding at Crossword, photos from Heron Lakes, and more

That smile, that strawberry helmet, those sweatpants: This kid is pure Portland cyclocross spirit.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

We’re right in the thick of this year’s cyclcross season. And from what I’ve seen and heard it’s been a good one.

First things first though. Have you seen the River City Bicycles recap video of the Cyclocross Crusade race at Alpenrose a few weekends ago? It’s hilarious and it’s not what you’re expecting (scroll down to watch).

I got out to my first event of the season yesterday: the Cyclocross Crusade race at Heron Lakes (adjacent to Portland International Raceway, see more of my photos below). Given the rainstorm we had on Saturday I expected soaking and muddy conditions; but it turned out to be quite a pleasant day for racing. The course was mostly rideable and the number of victims (bike and human) was relatively small.

The same can’t be said for Saturday’s Canby Crossword Cross Challenge event. After seeing a few images on social media of people racing through huge lakes of water I wondered what the heck happened. Organizer Patrick Croasdaile reports that a few hours into raceday — as rain continued to fall — the course rose about one inch per lap at the two main water crossings. Croasdaile says the water was at “hub level”.

Then it got worse:

“[By the start of the] Master 3 and the good ‘ole boy fields, water is rising about a foot a lap while the rain persists. We make the call to run the juniors on a shorter course. Mother Nature intervenes, water is now hip deep on the bikes, and we run everyone on a modified, shorter course.”

Yikes! The conditions didn’t stop the competition though. Check this Twitter update from Team Planet X…

Speaking of competition, Portlanders like to start their little ones early. I got the chance to see the Islabikes Kids Race and it restored my faith in humanity. So many kids — even really tiny ones on scoot bikes! And their faces. Smiles of unadulterated joy that remind us why we never stop loving to ride.

There was one moment when a little guy fell and ended up straddling the barrier with his tummy. He was in the middle of two riders. One stopped to make sure he was OK. The other casually glanced over, then scooted away! Then the guy who fell looked up, as if to say, “I’ll remember that! I’ll be coming for you next weekend!”


As for the official racing at Heron Lakes, there were 886 total racers on the day. That’s keeping about steady with last year, according to OBRA stats. (If you’re curious, the two races at opening weekend of Alpenrose this year had 1,863 racers which is about 35 fewer than 2016).

I was there early to support the 19-year-old son of a friend who was staying with our family during his visit from the U.K. He wanted to race but he didn’t have a bike. In a true testament to our awesome racing community, I got over a half-dozen offers for a loaner with just one email to the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association email list. So, to everyone that offered to help, here’s Josh Reid (son of author and journalist Carlton Reid) in action sporting a very rare jersey! (And special thanks to Devin Bailly for the rad bike.)

And here are a few more images from the action at Heron Lakes…

And finally, here’s that funny, Sportscenter-esque River City Bicycles video I mentioned…

River City’s Alex Criss said it’s their attempt to do something different. Other ‘cross videos they’ve done “All just start to look the same” and are, “not that fun or interesting,” he shared via email recently. “This time we just decided to just roll with it and have fun….it’s more our style anyway.” The spoof of ESPN-style coverage, Criss added, is a response to how mainstream cyclocross has become. What used to be a fringe sport (remember that 2006 story in the New York Times?) now gets almost as much attention from the industry as road racing.

So what better time to poke some fun at the sport and focus on the colorful characters that make Portland’s scene especially fun? Criss says to stay tuned for future episodes.

Next on the schedule is the big Halloween weekend double-header and party in Bend. Check out for the full schedule.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and

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