Over 1,800 racers and muddy conditions kick off Cross Crusade season

Over 1,800 racers and muddy conditions kick off Cross Crusade season

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The mud in this tricky off-camber downhill section gave even the elite riders a lot to think about on Sunday.
(Photo: Dylan VanWeelden/Pushing Towards Normal)

The River City Bicycles CylcoCross Crusade kicked off in fine fashion this weekend. With a big double-header at Alpenrose Dairy in southwest Portland, we are now in the thick of Portland ‘cross season. And by thick, I mean thick mud.

Right now hundreds of Portlanders are nursing sore legs and picking bits of mud out of their bikes and bodies thanks to extremely sloppy conditions on Sunday. The course stayed relatively harmless on Saturday as only the early-starting categories dealt with a moist course. But yesterday the rain was, as race announcer Luciano Bailey put it, “relentless.”

You could sense the appreciation for shared misery in the post-race banter, the buzz in the team tents, and on social media this morning.

Alpenrose is challenging enough as a course in dry conditions; add in significant amounts of rain and mud and it becomes epic. Riders struggled all day and in every category to simply stay on their bikes as what started as soupy goop in the morning got progressively stickier (and even tougher to ride) toward the afternoon. But there’s no complaining in ‘cross. In fact, challenging conditions are what the sport is all about. Yes it’s hard; but it’s hard for everyone and there’s a palpable sense of shared experience and the bonds forged through conditions like Sundays are what tie this community together.

Cross Crusade crew member Steven Beardsley said 1,023 turned out to race on Saturday and 875 on Sunday.

Here’s how the action looked both days through the lenses of Daniel Steinle (Yung Pine Photography) and Dylan VanWeelden (Pushing Towards Normal).

Saturday – Cross Crusade Race #1 (Photos by Daniel Steinle)

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Sunday – Cross Crusade Race #2 (Photos by Dylan VanWeelden)

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Next weekend the Crusade series rolls out to the Columbia River Gorge for another doubleheader at Cascade Locks.

BikePortland will be there to watch and race, so stay tuned for more racing coverage.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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