The Portland Trophy Cup cyclocross race series is always a special event. It’s held at a venue so close to where many folks live (Portland International Raceway, just north of downtown Kenton), that it draws just as many spectators as racers. That gives it more of a community hang-out vibe than most other races. And there’s just something about an after-work, weekday race that hits the spot (same goes for Mt. Tabor Circuit Race, MTB Short Track, and others great local events). Add in the darkness that shrouds the final races and a course that goes right through the team tent area and you’ve got a great recipe for fun.
But last night there was something more than just copious amounts of dust hanging in the air. The death of local racing fan and devoted announcer Luciano Bailey was made public earlier in the day and his presence was dearly missed. Many Portlanders can easily conjure the image of Luciano perched somewhere near the start/finish line, serenading the crowd and racers with his signature heartfelt banter. He was a regular at PIR and it wasn’t the same without him.
Midway through last night’s races, the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association held a ceremonial lap around the course to honor Luciano. OBRA official Dave Roth addressed hundreds of riders before the lap. “As you ride, talk about him. Talk about bikes. Talk about bike racing,” Roth said, fighting back tears. “Just celebrate Luciano and enjoy what he gave to OBRA and to all of us. We just want to remember him.”
And remember him, they did!
The lap for Luciano was part of a wonderful night of racing. There were so many smiles and even more hugs and high-fives than usual.
Trophy Cup has seen huge field sizes this year as Portland’s racing scene springs back to life after the lean Covid years. Our local bike racing scene has always had a strong, close-knit community vibe, and being separated by the pandemic and losing people we love has reminded us all how lucky we are to share these experiences together.
I cannot think of a better way to honor Luciano than to keep building a fun, competitive, inclusive racing scene. Thanks to organizer Clint Culpepper, all the teams and all the sponsors that make Trophy Cup possible! Stay tuned for a video of the action. For now, check out more images below.