Photography by Whit Bazemore
While one half of the crew was blasting their way through the mud and guts of the MFG North 40 CX race, the other half headed out to Eastern Oregon to see what that would bring. This was the third round of the Cross Crusade races so tensions were high in the department of rankings and finishing spots, if you keep track of those things. If you do not, well, then the race was just on!
The courses at Bend, since its days as host of the Cyclocross Nationals in 2009 have centered themselves around the Deschutes Brewery and facilities. Each year a new feature or two have been added, but the gist remains the same. The long start/finish straight that splits the course in two has been the sight of many famous battles to the line. Possibly even one where someone sat up early and had the race snaked out from under him. Possibly.
How did things shake out in Eastern Oregon? Well, "shake" might have been the key word there, because despite the heavy rains that have been happening in the Portland area, Bend has been a little more on the dusty side. If fact, our racer/designer/mechanic extraordinaire Mike Heenen had just about all he could handle with the dry Bend conditions.
Wait one second? Did you read that right? Mike Heenan? Didn't we see him racing in the MFG North 40 race post that you guys did a couple days ago? Well, actually yes you did see him. The racing in Bend was so frustratingly dry and bumpy that Mr. Heenan (after bending his saddle clamp in the first 3 minutes of the race) drove back to Portland — smiled at the rainy conditions — headed in to Bike Gallery for a replacement part — and then geared up for another drive North towards Seattle. Whoof. That's dedication.
Chris Jones and Leland Gilmore would be our two (very fierce) competitors for the entirety of the weekend. Jones, having been tried and true on this course a number of times took the start line no less than 3 times over the weekend. He won two out of three and spent the third picking his way through lapped traffic. Which is a fun and funny problem to have. Easier or harder than having done Paris Roubaix? Jury is still out on that one.
Leland was relying heavily on his BMX background for his races. Er, his soccer and BMX background. As you can see in this fantastic photo by Whit Bazemore, he likes to get low when it comes to these nice soft corners. No word on whether or not he held it up after this photo was taken, but we're going with yes. Plus, he gets bonus points for his costume choice. Going with something that is overtly costume like, but the key here is choosing a costume that doesn't necessarily restrict movement. Soccer clothing, check!
Two different race series is pretty much all you can hope for when it comes to these things and by "these things" I mean having a cyclocross team. Plus, the variety of course and varying terrain lets us all assume that we're playing to our strengths by assessing the courses we wish to attend. The Cross Crusade continues its tradition of being the largest, most excitable series in all the cyclocross land, so it is great to see the competition continue the trend.
Up next, Barton Park. Check out my gravel pit!