Photos by Jordan Reid
Each year the Cross Crusade races head out to Portland International Raceway for two rounds. The first, called the Heron Lakes course - is just outside the entrance to the venue. The second, which took place this past weekend, happens on the interior of the twisty, nearly 2 mile racetrack. This is, for all intent and purposes, the same spot where the PDX Trophy Cup happens each week. Turning that lovable weekly race into a training ground for what happened this past weekend.
Unless the rains turn the whole business into a soupy mess.
Julie, when the race face was serious and the flat tires were a ways off.
Arguably, this could be called "real cyclocross weather." However, looking the most recent Sveness - 3.5 (Superprestige Zonhoven) it is hard to say that they're getting much weather in Belgium. Sand, yes. Foul weather, no. That being said, the weather never seems to slow them down anyway. They cannot be stopped. Their consistency is what drives them forward. And it's always the same guys - you ever notice that? It is cool to see a young Mathieu van der Poel giving them a run for their money.
Side Fact: DID YOU KNOW? van der Poel's dad Adri is the son in law of Raymond Poulidor? WTF!
Speaking of consistency, the Breadwinner team, after two straight weeks of punching me square in the balustrade are well ahead in the rankings. Ira Ryan had what Greg Johnson loudly proclaims from the sidelines every race as "the ride of your life." I can't remember where he picked that up, but he screams it every time we race past him. It just makes you feel good when the going is good. Anyway, Ira cracked the code and if his 20th place finish has the potential to do anything it is to propel him with what we like to call The Petacchi Effect. That is where the sheer pomp of a good finish causes you to do well in the next series of races - it has nothing to do with training and preparation - only oils, Italian sunshine (which is mostly just oil), and handsome smiles - and in this case handmade steel bicycles.
Though, I did think I was going to prove myself right by looking up my good ol friend Colin's website CrossResults.Com to really hammer home the point. And it turns out I should be focusing my efforts more on my real nemesis' Colin Rowan and Colé Lalomia than those other guys. Whatever the case the race to the finish is on. Wait, wasn't it always?
I posted this picture of Molly on instagram after watching the single speed race. During our race all I could think about was this one ice covered slip-n-slide that took place a few years back in Belgium (see above). I went over there with Molly to follow her around, watch a few races and really take in the scene. And what a hilarious scene this was - and directly mirrored what was happening at the Cross Crusade this weekend - a little off camber will get you every time - apparently. I'm sure Molly was riding it just as smoothly this time as she did with the likes of Bart Wellens (he won that day) and Ryan Trebon (in the red white and blue Kona kit) and Jamey Driscoll (Cannondale 9 Ball). It only took until the last couple laps for the spectators to gather on Sunday. Whereas that ice rut in Belgium was about three people deep for the entirety of the race.
Someone mentioned casually at the start of our race that this was the "best cyclocross race series in the world" opinion? Yes, but if we are talking attendance, level of racing, number of sausages sold, then I think we should bank our money with the likes of the aforementioned Superprestige, or maybe this other little series...the World Cup? Just a thought. But, if we're talking muddy, pretty friendly, down home grass roots racing, well then I would think that the Cross Crusade would be right up there.
What amazes and bums me out at the same time is that there is only one left. What am I going to do with my Sundays for the rest of the winter?