Cyclocross interview series: OBRA Executive Director Kenji Sugahara

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A visit with Senator Jeff Merkley-8

OBRA Executive Director Kenji Sugahara
in the office of U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley
in March 2012.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Welcome to the fourth installment in our series audio interviews with local cyclocross personalities. We’ve partnered with the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association (OBRA) to broadcast these interviews in advance of their 2013 Cyclocross Championship event coming to Troutdale on November 9th. (Yes, we realize that’s this weekend!)

This week’s interview is with OBRA Executive Director Kenji Sugahara. Sugahara has led the organization since 2008 and during his tenure cyclocross participation has skyrocketed. In addition to his capable leadership of OBRA, Sugahara has also branched out into bicycle advocacy as a board member of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and involvement with Travel Oregon’s bicycle tourism development efforts.

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Getting hooked on cyclocross

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Cross Crusade Wash Co Fairgrounds-5

Hooked.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Seeing people get hooked on a new type of cycling is one of the things that keeps cycling industry veterans going. And for some reason, cyclocross is especially good at reeling people in: Maybe it’s the challenging courses; the relaxed, non-competitive atmosphere; the support of family, friends and complete strangers; the mud, or all of the above.

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Cyclocross interview series episode two: Brad Ross

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Cross Crusade Hillsboro 2007-27.jpg

It’s a dirty job, but Brad Ross likes to do it.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Welcome to the second of six audio interviews with local cyclocross personalities and promoters that we’ll be sharing in the coming weeks. We’ve partnered with the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association to broadcast these interviews in advance of their 2013 Cyclocross Championship event coming to Troutdale on November 9th.

The following was written by Elaine Volpe.

Brad Ross, the race producer and director of the Cross Crusade, recently sat down with Neil Green to talk about cyclocross and the Oregon cycling community.

They talked about his early days as the first person to ever own a mountain bike in Alaska, the mentality of producing multiple events in a row, and the mission of the Cross Crusade, which happens to be celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

“Cross is competitive, but its friendly. You’re competing against your best friends… It’s the best sport. It’s the most approachable cycling discipline. …it’s only 45 minutes long. It’s as painful as you want to make it.”

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On 20th anniversary, an interview with Cross Crusade’s Brad Ross

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Cross Crusade at Alpenrose-33

There’s nothing quite like the Cross Crusade.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Believe it or not, Portland’s Cross Crusade cyclocross series enters its 20th season this weekend.

Founded in 1993 when Rick Potestio and Russ Humberston took over a smaller series dubbed “The First Mud”, the Cross Crusade has grown by leaps and bounds. Today it’s known as the largest cyclocross series in the world in terms of participants and it has played a key role in the burgeoning popularity of the sport in the United States over the past several years.

Cross Crusade Director Brad Ross was there at the beginning. I spoke to the 47-year-old professional bike race promoter from his home in southwest Portland this morning.

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‘Grand Prix Erik Tonkin’ kicks off cyclocross season this weekend

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Detail of flyer for this weekend’s opening
race in the Grand Prix Erik Tonkin series.

This weekend the Portland area’s legendary cyclocross racing tradition will commence. The first big event of the year is the opening race of the Grand Prix Erik Tonkin series, and it takes place this Saturday at David Douglas High School David Douglas Park just over the Columbia River in Vancouver. The race kicks off a busy cyclocross schedule that includes racing all over the region every weekend from now through the first week in December.

Kenji Sugahara, the executive director of the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association, says he expects to see a membership spike in the coming weeks that could break a record (one that was set last year). “Cross has really been amazing for OBRA,” Sugahara shared with us yesterday, “I’m hearing a lot of excitement for it this year.”

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‘Tis the season for cyclocross clinics

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Blind Date at the Dairy race-16

Ready, set, ‘cross!
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

It might be hard to believe, since we’re just now getting in the groove of summer, but cyclocross season is right around the corner. The first official cyclocross race of the season is just three weeks away.

If you’ve been meaning to brush up on your ‘cross skills, or if this will be your first season and you want to gain some confidence in your riding, you are in luck. The Oregon Bicycle Racing Association (OBRA) calendar is full of skills clinics led by experts and designed to help you get the most out of your racing.

Check out three of the best local cyclocross clinics in our round-up below:

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