Cross Crusade opens with a bang at Alpenrose

Cross Crusade opens with a bang at Alpenrose

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Big crowds welcomed the 2012 Cross Crusade to Alpenrose yesterday.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The opening race of the 2012 Cross Crusade started in festive fashion yesterday at Alpenrose Dairy. According to Oregon Bicycle Racing Association (OBRA) officials, there were 1,392 racers. That’s the lowest total since 2008, but it’s only about 100 racers off the record high of 1,506 participants in 2010.

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Other numbers of note: The tough course took its toll with 130 riders failing to finish their race; the Men’s Master C category race had a whopping 224 riders; there were 264 total women; and 254 kids signed up to do the (new and improved this year) Kiddie Cross.

But for anyone that’s attended a Cross Crusade race, the numbers aren’t really all that important. What matters is having fun, and there was plenty of that on Sunday — both on and off the course.

Racers and fans were treated to a sunny fall day and a challenging course. Crusade organizers masterfully weaved the course through dusty, bumpy fields, up and down hillsides, around sharp turns, and even a lap on the velodrome. I threw my helmet in the ring at the last minute, and was glad I did.

Here are a few more shots from the course…

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And some faces in the crowd:

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This is Ira Ryan Cycles team member Matt Hall, looking quite nice in his team kit and white socks…

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Rapha’s U.S. General Manager Slate Olson flashes a pre-race smile…

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Part of my cheering section…

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Before I lined up, I was happy to meet Ian and Quinten Pearson. The brothers (ages 11 and 14 respectively), were at the race to cheer on their dad Jon Pearson (who won the Clydesdale race); but they figured they’d make some extra money on the side. They stood near the registration and offered to pin numbers on racers for $1. Thanks guys!

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As always, the team tent area was like a big cyclocross circus. I didn’t get to spend much time to hang out yesterday (between racing and having my entire family along), but I did take a few minutes to check out the new Speedvagen Racing Machines team vehicle.

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Team manager Sacha White (owner of Vanilla Bicycles and Speedvagen) hasn’t been as visible at the Cross Crusades in recent years; but he’s back, and once again he’s raised the bar. The new team vehicle and uniforms are something to behold. I ran into team rider Tina Brubaker (in photo above) and she proudly showed off the custom, handmade zipper-pull Sacha created for their team kits…

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OBRA officials say participation numbers are way up at cyclocross events throughout Oregon this year. With such fun courses and great atmosphere, it’s easy to see why.

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