Photos by Jordan Reid - also note the unique course tape placement in this shot.
It is almost time to race again, so let us not forget the past. Last weekend the Cross Crusade action headed out to Bend, Oregon for another round of fisticuffs. This is far and away the furthest that the racing gets from Portland, causing much ire and mirth from those who travel to keep their series points alive. However, who doesn't love a good trip to the hight desert? Especially one that poses so many deep questions.
Our man Chris Jones did a near complete sweep of the races that he entered over the weekend. Which means that he did indeed win the A race and he tried his best to win the Single Speed race, which in my book means that he did pulled off a sweep. Plus, he and Barry Wicks had a blast racing in costumes on Sunday which means that he's a bigger man than me (fuck I hate costumes, I'm just going to say it right there) so that's the sweep. Bing, bang, boom. He was a little sick for his last round of UCI races, but let's just say we are more than excited to see how he does out there when he's back to 100%.
This is where it gets weird.
The word "groundswell" came up a few times this weekend. I'm not sure if that is the right word, but it is the one that I'm using for the moment. Oh, I just looked it up and by definition it reads "a buildup of opinion or feeling in a large section of the [cycling] population." So, yeah, I guess that is the correct word. Especially if talking to some of my friends and a few randoms counts as a "large section."
What do we do now? Why are we doing this?
These are important questions to ask yourself at various times in your life, in regards to your cycling, sure, but also in regards to life in general. I'm only here, to talk about the cycling part, and in only the briefest of ways.
Action, Dan. Or as some folks call him — Dan Action.
Our friends Dan and Nathalie were in town from Philly to do some racing. They came all the way out here from the MAC series to really just check out the scene. Get a feel for it. Squish some mud between their toes and see what comes of it. And they did so for the previous couple weekends - once at the Washington County Fairgrounds - and last weekend in Bend. And I have to say - it was really awkward to try and continue to explain and stick up for the bicycle racing that we call the Cross Crusade here in Oregon.
Things that needed explaining:
- Why there were so many people/categories on the course at the same time?
- How come lapped riders don't get pulled (especially when they're getting lapped the second time through)?
- Where is the podium presentation?
-How does this random start order thing happen again?
- When is the "A" race? Aren't there Elite races happening?
All of these questions had some sort of answer, but our friend Verg put it best when he stated "it all comes down to priorities" and sure there has never really been a "priorities of the Cross Crusade" other than drinking, fun and let's get as many people out for this party as we can. However, with a bid at cx Nationals coming up should we maybe get our priorities straightened out? Just a teensy bit?
I was hunting through the pit for my wife's spare wheels when I ran into our friend Marcel who was pitting for his daughters race. He had won his race earlier — "I got the hole shot, I like to do that"— and was now helping out with some of the younger riders. And this is what I mean when I talk about groundswell (three's a groundswell). Somehow we got to talking about how the upcoming UCI race at the same venue had been canceled. Marcel was bummed because this is one of the only times that his young racers actually get to see the type of racing that they would face when they get to Nationals - if they make it that far.
"It's really hard to keep them motivated at these races when there is no podium at the end, and they don't know where they are or who they are racing with in the middle."
So, it makes me wonder why, or how we are even in the mix for the Nationals bid on the same course that couldn't get it together for the UCI races this year? Especially when none of the racing that we - or the juniors that we're supposed to be showing the sport to (come on, we're older, we know better) would even have anything that counts towards start points when they get there. Shame on us.
I didn't really have an answer for Dan and Nathalie with all their pesky questions other than "that's just how we do it here" and "it is the way that it has always been done." Which, I guess are two answers, but sort of non-answers at the same time. I know that people here don't want to pay more for a USAC license, or jump through those nasty overbearing hoops...but what if it meant that the really good bike racers that this scene is helping to cultivate (and no I don't mean me, but thank you, I'm blushing) could go on to do bigger and better things in the world of cycling because of it?
Me? I'm fine with this big ol Cyclocross Gran Fondo that we call the Cross Crusade being my weekly alternative to a Presidential Physical Fitness Test. I'm just saying maybe it is time we consider it.