Saturday’s Red R Crit was another sign that bike racing is alive and well in Portland after the Lost Pandemic Year of 2020. With well over 200 entries, organizers with the Rainier Beer Cycling Team were able to enjoy the day of racing as volunteers and participants without having to worry about breaking even.
The Red R took place in an industrial area of Swan Island (as crits often do). Criteriums are road races where riders complete a number of short laps. Some of the laps are “primes” (French for “gift” or “bonus”) where being the first one across the line actually means something. Otherwise, it all comes down to conserving energy and getting in perfect position for the final lap.
And there were some exciting final laps on ended up as a perfect day for bike racing.
Rider and reporter Hannah Moraes (@han_sanitizer) was on the scene to interview several of the day’s competitors (when she wasn’t racing herself) and shared some of her conversations with us…
Sean Pinzon on the Category 4/5 Open race
Hannah: Sean, how was the race?
Sean: You know, it felt fairly easy — I was tailgunning for the first half of the race or so, maybe third to last wheel. It was by choice. I mean, I was having to surge just a tiny bit to get back on the group, but I figured I didn’t want to end up on the front too early. So, at about 20 minutes in, after a couple primes, people started slowing up. That’s when I started moving up, you know, braking late into the corners and getting some free placings without expending any energy.
Were you worried about bringing Benjamin Snodgrass back? (A strong rider who did a solo attack almost from the start)
At the start of the race, I thought, “Just let him hang out there, there’s no way he can stay out there for that long,” but with one lap to go, it was becoming obvious that the field wasn’t going to pull him back.
So what did you do?
I jumped from about 6th wheel on the back straight to separate myself from the group. I knew no one was following me, so I kept the power on and could see him at the final turn, and it became a matter of trying to beat him to the line.
Emily McNary (Team Oregon) on the Cat 3/4/5/Masters 50+ Women race
Hannah: Emily, how was your race?
Emily (@esym.metry): It was fantastic. Very hard, there was a break. We chased, but… yeah.
When I got lapped by you guys, I saw you were in a really good spot — third wheel? Did you hang in there the whole time?
Yeah, I tried staying in the front, and in the last lap, we were lining up for a leadout, but then we fanned out through the [final] corner and I’m… like, sprinting through a corner is really hard, so I decided to hang back because…
Yeah, but it was so fun!
How did you finish?
To be honest, that’s when I stopped counting. Probably mid pack hopefully?
You definitely got top ten.
(Emily actually got 3rd in the 4/5 classification, and 7th out of the whole group!)
Summer Newlands on the Category 3 Open race
Summer (@senditsummy) had a monster day, winning the Cat 3 and Senior Open races and also placing 7th (out of 15) in the Fixed Gear race
Hannah: How long did you have between winning your first and second race?
Summer: So that race was from 11:20 to noon, and the second race started at 1:05, so an hour and five minutes between.
What was your recovery plan like?
Sit down for a little bit in the shade, eat some food, drink some water, and then go pedal a little bit before my second race.
And how was the second race?
It was good; pretty similar plan. I felt like there was less pressure on me on this one cause it’s a faster category. But we kept the same plan: follow wheels, don’t do any work, and kind of move up towards the end. And I felt like I was able to do that pretty well. Little by little in the last ten laps I moved up to the front, got with some teammates, and as the pace picked up on the back straight I was able to move around some people and follow a good wheel into the sprint and carry some speed into the home straight.
So was it a heads down sprint out of the last back corner?
Pretty much; I came pretty quick around the way outside where everyone else was kind of on the inside. But yeah it was pretty much three up coming out of the last corner.
And that’s how Summer ended up with a legendary first place finish in both the Cat 3 and Senior races!
— Interviews by Hannah Moraes
Check out this short video for a fun GIF of Summer’s big sprint and more tastes of the action (and turn up the volume!)…
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and firstname.lastname@example.org
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This coverage makes me sad I didn’t roll by there on my weekend journeys. I appreciate the interviews. It’s especially nice given that we’re emerging from the pandemic and I haven’t seen some of these beautiful faces for several months. Thanks to Hannah for the first hand reporting.
Thanks Peter : ) There’s another one on July 17th, hope you can make it!
Great event near home and spectator friendly. That’s uncommon. Makes me wonder how we can put this on more regularly than once or twice a year.