Last weekend we loaded up the car and drove North into gale force winds and a "wintry mix" unlike anything we've seen in recent months. The Portland area had one of the nicer days they've seen recently while we went entirely in the opposite direction. It was a weather pattern that caused MFG Cyclocross organizer and all around Seattle Cycling Don - Zac Daab and I to reminisce about Gloucester 2005 where snow was the prevailing condition that anyone remembers (even though it was 60 and sunny the next day). In any case as the racers were lining up, the snow started pelting everyone in a thick and unforgiving way.
Wait, was I supposed to mention Terry first? Here's Terry Buchanan, he's really the one that's in charge here. This was taken before the snow had really started coming down and putting a damper on everyone's glove choice. He made me sign a rider that stated I wouldn't fully make Zac the star of the show and leave him out. So, I just had to get that out of the way.
It's been a couple years since we've been to this race in an official capacity (not entirely true, because the team went up there last year and raced - in an official capacity) but this year was a little different. We were the title sponsor for the race. And if there's anything more official than that, please, let us know.
Why would we want to officially be part of this series? It's a good question and I'm sure one that is on your mind right now. Certainly there are races here in our backyard that we could participate in on a near weekly basis. But do they offer us the ability to grow our brand into the cold North? Nah, I'm kidding that's not why we do it.
There is real racing to be done in the Seattle area. It's the type of things that racers here in Portland, the ones that have only raced here, have heard about during the growth of their (LOL) bike racing careers. Ones where the courses are long enough to fully experience your race without having to interrupt the races of others. Ones where...ahhh, you've heard me drone on about this time and again. There's no need to re-hash. Also, what other race series has it's own newspaper that is printed for EACH RACE?? Tell me which one? Because I don't think there is one, but there might be.
The scene to the North, it's just up there, just a short drive and another weather system away.
It turns out this is a great race to shoot new Ritchey Swiss Cross Bikes that your team has built up as well. The dripping trees make a great backdrop for something like this. Wet tires look infinitely better than dusty dry ones, especially when the tread pattern says "wet" versus dry. That's an important distinction in this sport. Plus, the black paint of the Ritchey bikes just pop in this fashion. Ugh!
The tough part is when your racer pal, your buddy on the team, and cohort for the day, Colin Rowan, destroy's his derailleur on the first or second or third lap. I guess that is why people have pit bikes. Don't worry, the derailleur hanger was just fine. Plus, it just means that instead of racing his second race of the day we get to drink whisky with Aaron Erbeck and sample Tracy's Yam and Peanut soup. Amazing to say the least.
Young Cole's race fared much better. Even if his hands looked like they were freezing he still managed a smile every time he passed and I tried to frighten him with the severity of my yell out of nowhere. There was some slipping and sliding at the start line that resulted in a bit of jumble in working his way toward the front. Once he settled in and presumably heard my shoutings of "get two more racers!" he started to figure out the course and work his way forward.
Xander on the other hand. Well, you can see from the MFG Official Flickr Page (should we have one of those?) that he could barely navigate the course as per the general fog that had fallen over his eyewear. We've tried again and again to get him to make the switch to contacts, but he just won't do it. The things that people do in the name of fashion!
Clint had the toughest start time of the day. The temperatures had fully dropped. And in an effort to just get the race going Clint barely had time to even get out of his jacket before the proverbial gun went off. There wasn't an actual gun in case you're wondering. But, while we played with his son Abbot and his small red truck, his dad roared by in the Single Speed category. We gave Abbot treats that he probably isn't supposed to have. Cheetos are ok for kids right? Especially when he stands there like a fish, unable to use his mittened hands and just gasps for them as a goldfish would. That's ok, yeah?
And then we were huddled around Clint's car. Laughing at the state of the bikes and the weather and discussing the pizza joint we just had to visit in Olympia. It's called Old School Pizza and has lots of Supersonics posters on the wall and many crackheads wandering the streets out front.
That right there is a good day. Well, except for the crackheads. Thanks MFG for putting on one hell of an event.
Oh yeah, and Mal won her race! Congrats Mal!!