Harvest Century September 22nd

Your guide to Portland’s 2019 cyclocross season

Posted by on August 27th, 2019 at 3:37 pm

Mud or not, the fun remains.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

It feels strange to write this during a heat wave, but cyclocross season is here. And if you’re new to Portland’s bike scene, let us be the first to tell you this is a very big deal.

Cyclocross runs deep in Portland. From the establishment of our first race series in 1985 and the rise of the Cyclocross Crusade that was marked by a feature in the New York Times in 2006 (where they likened our vibrant scene to that of a NASCAR race or a college football game), to our popular after-work races on weeknights. We’ve got everything from supportive clubs for newbies to world-class level racers.

One of the greatest things about the Portland ‘cross scene is that it’s so easy to be a part of. There seems to be a team or club or event that appeals to just about everyone who loves having fun on bikes. Speaking of fun, the vibe around the team tents is fun enough to warrant your attendance, even if you never compete!

Below is a roundup of the major races and a few other tidbits to get you excited for the season…

Portland Trophy Cup

One of Portland’s two excellent weeknight race series, the five-race Trophy Cup, runs from September 3rd to October 1st. It takes place at Portland International Raceway, just north of Kenton and adjacent to a MAX Yellow Line stop. There are so many reasons why this series is great. Thanks to sponsors, all juniors and beginner women race free. Yes free! There’s also a free pre-race clinic if you need to polish your skills. To top it off, Trophy Cup organizers have adopted a very inclusive gender policy for racing categories. ($90 for the series or $20 per race.) PortlandTrophyCup.com

Blind Date at the Dairy

The southwest counterpart to the Trophy Cup, Blind Date is a five-race series that runs every Wednesday from September 4th and through October 2nd. Races happen at the infamous Alpenrose Dairy course, making this a great place to practice for the Cyclocross Crusade (see below). Their all-inclusive slate of races offers something for everyone, including kiddies and toddlers. If you’re looking for a low-stress atmosphere that’s more about training and having fun than fierce competition, look no further. ($95 for the series or $20 per race.) CrossSeries.com

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Gran Prix Luciano Bailey

The GP series is a collection of five local races that boast some of the most interesting courses of the year: From the legendary sand features at Het Meer to the dizzying figure-eight madness at Ninkrossi. This year’s namesake is Luciano Bailey, a devoted racing fan who lends his commentary and announcing talents to many local races. The GP starts August 31st (this weekend!) and runs every Saturday through September 28th. ($150 for the series or $35 per race.) Cyclocross.gp

Cyclocross Crusade

This is the one that started it all. The venerable Cyclocross Crusade enters its 26th season in 2019 and the nine race series is as strong as ever. Racing starts October 5th and runs through November 17th. This year’s schedule includes stops at Cascade Locks in the Gorge, the traditional Halloween weekend festivities in Bend, a trip north to Rainier, and a season finale at Kruger’s Farm on Sauvie Island. ($240 for the series or $35 per race.) CrossCrusade.com

Get your body ready at PedalPT

Portland-based physical therapy and bike fit provider PedalPT just unveiled your secret weapon: the Cyclocross Accelerator Program. If you can treat yourself to this special package you’ll get: a full physiotherapy assessement, a complete bike fitting, a cross-specific exercise program, “dynamic control” training, two sessions of pneumatic massage recovery booties, and a follow-up session to make sure everything’s going well. This package of seven sessions is $497. Learn more at PedalPT.com.

Practice at your local park

Cyclocross is so popular because it brings out the kid in all of us. Remember when you’d shred through the neighborhood, hopping curbs and jumping off stuff as fast as you could? Now you need to bring those skills back and there’s no better place to practice than your local park. Look for places with natural barriers to practice jumping over, flat spaces to practice starts, steep hills and stairs to practice run-ups, and tree trunks to practice sharp turns around. I can recommend Overlook Park, Dog Bowl and Pier Park in north Portland, Gateway Green in outer northeast, Powell Butte in southeast and Gabriel Park in southwest.

We can’t wait for the season to start! Hope you get a chance to enjoy it too. If you have questions about ‘cross, ask them in the comments. See you out there.

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

6 Comments
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    Jon August 27, 2019 at 6:56 pm

    Cyclocross is fantastic and all these events are very well done but I’ll be skipping the racing while it is over 80 degrees.

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      BradWagon August 27, 2019 at 10:29 pm

      I love how often I hear Jon’s sentiment and then see hardly anyone racing in late November and December. As tough as we all claim to be the highest attended races are those with nice weather. “Cyclocross weather is the weather that you race cyclocross in.”

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        Jon August 28, 2019 at 7:20 am

        Agreed. Putting on a cross race after Thanksgiving is a exercise in losing money and little participation. For me doing cross in the wet and cold is the whole point. Riding 3-4 hours in the cold rain of December or January is rough but doing an hour of hard riding is fun. In August and September the weather in the PNW is perfect for longer rides off and on road.

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          Dan A August 28, 2019 at 7:26 am

          Sometimes the conditions are such that by racing in them you are committing to an extra long bike cleanup afterwards, and likely bottom bracket/derailleur replacement. I can understand why amateur racers start to opt out as those conditions arise.

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    Todd Boulanger August 27, 2019 at 8:28 pm

    Whenever I see the first Cyclocross posting I get a pang of Angst that the summer is now over…but then I smile thinking about the wood fired hot tub with beer and crowds in the course in-field during a crisp fall race.

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    SERider August 28, 2019 at 10:04 am

    Good on the GP for naming it after Luciano this year! What a great part of the Portland racing scene he is!

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