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Brad Ross, Cross Crusade promoter since 1995, announces his retirement

Brad Ross, Cross Crusade promoter since 1995, announces his retirement

Cross Crusade Hillsboro 2007-27.jpg

Ross at work in 2007.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Brad Ross, the man behind the Cross Crusade, which has grown into one of most successful cyclocross race series in the world, has announced his retirement. Ross was also the director of the Cascade Cycling Classic and many other races during his career.

Ross made his announcement at Portland International Raceway on Sunday from behind the megaphone as racers assembled at the starting line. There was no fanfare and no press release. It was typical style from someone who isn’t much for formalities and has spent his entire career with a singular focus: put on really fun bike races.

Ross took over as head promoter of the Crusade in 1995 and has seen it grow to what he calls “mythical status” over the past few decades. Mythical or not, the Crusade has definitely garnered national attention for Portland’s cyclocross scene and has introduced thousands of people to the thrill of bike racing.

In 2006 Ross and the Crusade hit the big time with a feature story in the New York Times. “On the Portland course,” the Times reporter shared, “… a group called the Gentle Lovers, made up of amateur riders and friends, installed a wood-stove-fired hot tub. Wearing red Speedos with hearts on them and fueled by plenty of refreshments, the Gentle Lovers danced, slipped and swam to music from a nearby stereo.”

In 2010, the Crusade hit its peak in terms of participation. At the opening race held at Alpenrose Velodrome (just a few miles from Ross’s home), 1,762 people participated. That’s one of the largest single-day crowds ever assembled in the history of the sport.

That 2010 race was a far cry from the 80 or so people who used to show up on the weekends back when Ross first started promoting the Crusade in the mid 1990s. Back then Ross and his friends Rick Potestio and Russ Humberston would make just enough money at the end of the weekend to buy pizza and beer.

Ross, now 49, told me today that, “It was finally time.” “At the moment,” he added, “I have no future plans other than to get reaquainted with my family and enjoy the holidays.”

The Crusade will likely live on without Ross (he has built up a very capable crew over the years); but it won’t be the same without his laid-back and irreverant style.

Speaking of which, a video from this weekend’s races (created by the Crusade’s lead sponsor, River City Bicycles) perfectly captures the fun racing scene that Ross has cultivated over these past 20 years:

Thanks for your dedication to cyclocross Brad! And thank you for giving us all the glory and goodness that is the Cross Crusade.

(For more on Brad and the Cross Crusade, read the our 2013 story published on the 20th anniversary of the series.)

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


The post Brad Ross, Cross Crusade promoter since 1995, announces his retirement appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Bend cyclocross race leads to global bicycle brake recall

Bend cyclocross race leads to global bicycle brake recall

The bike industry is abuzz with news of a global recall of 19,000 sets of high-end SRAM hydraulic road brakes; and it turns out a cyclocross race in Bend, Oregon on December 7th had a lot to do with it.

SRAM made the voluntary recall announcement on December 13th, citing, “last weekend’s Cyclocross racing in the US, in sub freezing temperatures,” as the main culprit. That event was a two race weekend that started with the UCI-sanctioned Deschutes Brewery Cup, which was followed the final stop in the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association’s Cross Crusade series.

Two days after SRAM’s official announcement, we noticed this post on race director Brad Ross’s Facebook page:

I’ve promoted many races in my career. But this is the first one that resulted in a major product recall. Bucket list, check.

Curious, we contacted Ross to find out more.

Ross said he first realized something was wrong when a friend of his, Giant Bicycles sales rep Paul LaCava, rolled up to him after his race. “He came up to me and showed me his brakes and they were completely gone,” Ross said, “They weren’t just fading, you could press the levers all the way to the handlebars.”

Ross added that he and his crew designed a “treacherous course” that was very technically demanding, so brakes were getting a good workout. But it turns out that it wasn’t the course or the riders that caused the handful of brake failures. It was the cold.

Here’s more from Ross:

“I went and talked to some of the guys in the pro tents and said, ‘Hey guys, these brakes are failing’ and they said, ‘That’s OK, we’ve got multiple bikes’ [pro and elite riders switch bikes during races to always have a clean rig]. Well, it turned out by the end of the race all the brakes had failed, even the pit bikes — before the rider would even get to the pit.”

Ross said temps were hovering between zero and five degrees throughout the weekend. “It was pushing it for racing a bicycle. We were talking about pulling the plug on the event.”

The event went ahead and has become an instant classic for those who were there. Ross said there were a few trips to the hospital for frostbite, but other than that the main casualty of the tough conditions appears to have been SRAM’s new brakes.

— SRAM has set up a website to answer questions and deal with the recall.

Bend cyclocross race leads to global bicycle brake recall

Bend cyclocross race leads to global bicycle brake recall

The bike industry is abuzz with news of a global recall of 19,000 sets of high-end SRAM hydraulic road brakes; and it turns out a cyclocross race in Bend, Oregon on December 7th had a lot to do with it.

SRAM made the voluntary recall announcement on December 13th, citing, “last weekend’s Cyclocross racing in the US, in sub freezing temperatures,” as the main culprit. That event was a two race weekend that started with the UCI-sanctioned Deschutes Brewery Cup, which was followed the final stop in the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association’s Cross Crusade series.

Two days after SRAM’s official announcement, we noticed this post on race director Brad Ross’s Facebook page:

I’ve promoted many races in my career. But this is the first one that resulted in a major product recall. Bucket list, check.

Curious, we contacted Ross to find out more.

Ross said he first realized something was wrong when a friend of his, Giant Bicycles sales rep Paul LaCava, rolled up to him after his race. “He came up to me and showed me his brakes and they were completely gone,” Ross said, “They weren’t just fading, you could press the levers all the way to the handlebars.”

Ross added that he and his crew designed a “treacherous course” that was very technically demanding, so brakes were getting a good workout. But it turns out that it wasn’t the course or the riders that caused the handful of brake failures. It was the cold.

Here’s more from Ross:

“I went and talked to some of the guys in the pro tents and said, ‘Hey guys, these brakes are failing’ and they said, ‘That’s OK, we’ve got multiple bikes’ [pro and elite riders switch bikes during races to always have a clean rig]. Well, it turned out by the end of the race all the brakes had failed, even the pit bikes — before the rider would even get to the pit.”

Ross said temps were hovering between zero and five degrees throughout the weekend. “It was pushing it for racing a bicycle. We were talking about pulling the plug on the event.”

The event went ahead and has become an instant classic for those who were there. Ross said there were a few trips to the hospital for frostbite, but other than that the main casualty of the tough conditions appears to have been SRAM’s new brakes.

— SRAM has set up a website to answer questions and deal with the recall.

Cyclocross interview series episode two: Brad Ross

Cyclocross interview series episode two: Brad Ross

Cross Crusade Hillsboro 2007-27.jpg

It’s a dirty job, but Brad Ross likes to do it.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Welcome to the second of six audio interviews with local cyclocross personalities and promoters that we’ll be sharing in the coming weeks. We’ve partnered with the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association to broadcast these interviews in advance of their 2013 Cyclocross Championship event coming to Troutdale on November 9th.

The following was written by Elaine Volpe.

Brad Ross, the race producer and director of the Cross Crusade, recently sat down with Neil Green to talk about cyclocross and the Oregon cycling community.

They talked about his early days as the first person to ever own a mountain bike in Alaska, the mentality of producing multiple events in a row, and the mission of the Cross Crusade, which happens to be celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

“Cross is competitive, but its friendly. You’re competing against your best friends… It’s the best sport. It’s the most approachable cycling discipline. …it’s only 45 minutes long. It’s as painful as you want to make it.”

Not only is Brad passionate about the sport and the local community but he takes his day job as the Director of Cross Crusade seriously. The business, owned by Vivo Productions, has a staff of 9 that put on the race as well as 12 people from OBRA officiating each race. He explains in his interview that he has been attending every world championships in Europe since 2001 as it is a way for him and his crew to know what the sport looks like at the very top level, from the design of the courses to how the venue should look. It’s no wonder they are celebrating 20 years, as they take pride in constantly trying to improve their game and provide a better product to racers in the area.

“Our goal for our club is to ensure that you have the best possible day of your whole life.”

But don’t let us tell you too much of what he said, have a listen for yourself…

Stay tuned for more interviews!

— Special thanks to Western Bike Works, Tenacious Training and Events, PAGATIM, Neil Green, and the Grand Prix Erik Tonkin Cyclocross series for making these interviews possible. Also note that all 2013 cyclocross coverage on BikePortland is brought to you by Sellwood Cycle Repair.