Mark your calendars for our next local cyclocross race right here in Salem, Oregon at the old Battle Creek Golf Course on Commercial. The fellas over at BuyLocalCycling.com are working hard to put on a cool and fun event here in the Capital City. According to the site:
The Battlecreek golf course in Salem, OR sets the stage for race #2, Saturday Oct 24th, of the WVC series. The golf isn’t manicured any longer but the picture below should give racers a general idea about the terrain and course layout. We’ve run the course over every tee box to provide some hills! Online registration ($20) will be open until 5 pm on Friday. Day of race registration ($25) is open 15 minutes before your race.
Be sure to hop over to their site to see a map of the course, register, and find out more information from the promoters. Last years Battle Creek race was the first cross race I ever even attended, and I made the following video from my day as a spectator. Y’all should come out!
(Note: Some of my favorite shots mixed in with my report. Full set of photos on my Flickr page. Click here.)
Brutal. Sherwood kicked my butt. And the butts of many other races from what I could tell. Easily the toughest 40+ minutes of racing I’ve endured so far, but now that I’m on this side of it…it was kind of cool.
I arrived at the venue EARLY, apparently too early, as they hadn’t opened up the big party lot yet as it was too soupy, and said it would only be open to 4WD vehicles if they did. Turns out the rains never really hit hard, and everyone ended up parking up there, while we were hid away in the back lot with the other early morning refugees. I dropped the 1963 vintage team travel trailer, affectionately known as “The Commodore,” got prepped and headed out to walk the course.
On my course pre-walk, I realized our first mud, and some big hills were going to kick my butt. I also picked up a blister on each heel due to some poor sock/boot implementation. Got back to the Commodore, changed into my gear and went out to pre-ride the course. I went at a slower pace, just checking out what I was in for — down the muddy hill, up the muddy climb, long runs down the bumpy, slick single track, back up the muddy hill, down into the ditch for the barriers, then holy crap…the hill.
On my pre-ride, I made it all the way up the top of the hill..putting everything I had into my cranks. At this point I was rethinking my single ring up front…or at least the gearing combo I’d thrown together. At the top of the hill one thought came to mind, I had just shot my legs. Having had a low fevery feeling the last few days, and not much sleep, I was waxed already, and the race hadn’t even started. I climbed the second part of the hill, snagged a sip of some hot water from the Chris King tent, and headed to the start.
My number was drawn second or third to last, so I started somewhere near the back of the 100+ riders for the day. For the first couple hundred yards I couldn’t clear a pedal of mud and dinked around with that until almost the first turn into the off camber switchback section. Between those two, and my general lack of speed, I found myself almost completely at the back of the big bottleneck heading into the woods. We lined up and cruiser paced it down the muddy track.
Somewhere around the back of the course I made up a few spots, passing in the bumpier (if you can believe it) sections along the single muddy track. I felt great over the barriers, avoiding the dip just before them, clearing the creek after them without any slipping, and getting back up and on at the bottom of the hill. However, within just a short amount of the start of the climb, it dawned on me. I had no legs left.
As much as I did not want to hop off an push my bike up the gravel road, my legs would literally not go any more, and I gave in. My effort at running up while I pushed was also lame, and I essentially leaned into my bike to push-walk it up the hill. At the top I was able to get back on for the descent and make the second part of the climb as we turned towards the finish line, but I was feeling the pain. Many of the faces the rest of the day at that same spot, would tell me they knew the same pain.
As I started into the 3rd lap, after another unsuccessful attempt at climbing that hill, I slid out in the first muddy climb, and a lady standing at that corner said something along the lines of, “it just sucks the life out of you, don’t it?!” Amen. In fact, in the next muddy section, I was shot and shouldered my bike to just run up the hill rather than try to mash it out. The spikes of my shoe caught the ground, and I threw my body and bike right back down to the ground. A photographer was at the top of said hill, and I thought, “you’re welcome…for the great shot.”
I made my way back to the hill, walked it again, thinking about how I could easily just be the team owner/mascot/cheerleader and NOT feel like my head was going to explode ever again, but eventually crossed the line as someone said “last lap,” and I realized I was on the verge of ending the pain. I headed through the switchbacks, and into the trees for the first muddy section. Made it down into the bottom and started back up the other side, where I had just wiped out on the last lap. My rear end started sliding out, but I cranked harder and kept the bike vertical, but felt something wonky in that last moment. Sure enough, I had rolled the tire, caught the tube, and was quickly getting to just a ride on the rim. By the time I got to the bottom of the hill by the first pit, all the air was gone, and a guy in the pit said “last lap, you might as well ride it out.” Then he changed his mind and said, “but be careful you don’t rip that tire up.” Since we were just about to ride some mixed rocky/muddy/bumpy path, I opted out of riding the rim, hoisted the bike and started jogging.
A few yards into the run, someone said “man, keep it up, I ran from that same spot last lap.” I remembered him when I passed him on my bike the last lap. Several thoughts crossed my mind. Walk off the course, there are at least 3/4’s of the 2 mile track left. Get on and ride, so what if you trash the tire. Run faster. Run slower. Walk. And then the blisters I put on my heels earlier in the day started kicking in to make it all the more enjoyable. I ran into the Crusade guys changing up the course for the C’s when one asked if I was the last rider, and they called ahead to let them know I was still coming.
I jogged/walked the rest of the way. Over the barriers, up both hills, around the corner, and when I reached the finish line, I leaned over to make it easier for the cameras to record my number…since I was moving so fast. Then I put the bike down and walked off the course, once I made sure they marked me down for completing my 4th lap. Sucked to have to cover all that distance on foot, but felt good to stick with it ’til the end of the lap.
I was really wiped the rest of the day, but had a great time cheering on the rest of the Pacific Pedaling team. Pat, Ellen, James, Tyler and Martha all worked hard and continued to represent with solid performances. James even came within 1 place of top ten in Men’s A. Soon grasshopper, soon. Between races we grilled up some burgers and sausages and left them to warm on the grill until after the races where we threw a little party with other racing buddies, and shut down the Equestrian Center. Dave proudly proclaimed that the race had cost him his breakfast, and we met a cool dude named Mike from Kansas City who was on a bike tour through the Northwest and had stopped in to race the Crusade for a bit. All in all, a great day of racing in Sherwood Forest.
How was your race at Sherwood? Feel free to give a report in the comments!
Wend Magazine, through the skillful hands of Heidi Swift and Eric Keeney have produced Volume 2 of this years Cyclocross Diaries, and both Tyler and James make quick appearances. Tyler in a quick pan shot with Peyton, and James gets a quick interview. Check it out.
Although a series of unfortunate events the morning of the race kept me from making it to my race on time, it was a great day for racing for the rest of the Pacific Pedaling team, and the hundreds of other racers that turned out. The course was dry and dusty, adding to the fun of the epic hill climbing. Here are some of my favorite shots from the day (click for full size.)
It’s almost been a whole week since the first race of the Cross Crusade series at Alpenrose, and I’m just getting around to put down some thoughts. It’s been an insane week around here after racing two days in a row in my first weekend of racing!
After spending all day Saturday at Heiser Farms, I got up at 5 on Sunday to load a few more things, load my bikes, and head up to Alpenrose to get there around 7 am. Having never been to Alpenrose, and knowing that instead of the 100 or so racers we had at Heiser, there would likely be 1300-1400 racers alone, I wanted to make sure to get there early enough to get a decent spot for the team, set up, get through my routine, and be at the start line to race on time! Fortunately, I found the venue easily enough after a couple of missed turns, and landed a spot along the gravel road right on the course.
After getting some stuff set up, James and Tyler arrived in time to take my course pre-ride lap with me. I didn’t have enough time to walk the course, as I did at Heiser, so I just rode it the first time through. Nothing seemed to tricky, but definitely more off-camber, slightly slick areas compared to the day before. Also more areas to gain some serious speed, particularly behind the Velodrome, and thankfully Tyler was kind enough to show me the proper Superman Dismount over the bars, should I choose to put my bike down at the corner at the bottom. (I never did…but PLENTY of folks throughout the day used Tylers technique at that spot.) We headed back to the tent, dropped my jacket, took a last sip of water and headed to the start.
At the start, I found out that those racers with numbers ending in 9 had already been called up, so I worked my way through the mass of 142 riders waiting to get called up, and pulled in behind the other 9s. Since things were a little hectic up to this point, it was only then that I really took in how HUGE this event was compared to the day before. 142 riders behind me (I’d later learn that over 1400 people raced throughout the day), vendors up and down the concourse, almost 30 team tents alone along the row we were in, parking lot nearly full at 9 am. I was getting a tad nervous at the thought of 140 of us, many with novice skills at best, about to head up and then down a damp paved road as fast as we could, heading towards a slick muddy turn.
James appeared off to the right and yelled over at me, “Its like winning the lottery!” because I was in the first group. I saw Dave with his camera and asked that he only shoot from the chest up, to keep the number of gutteral shots down across the internet. I met another guy who’d never really raced, and we talked about locking arms in the front and keeping everyone at our pace. After a few thank yous from the promoter to the sponsors, we were off. Several people passed me, and I passed a few folks myself. As we headed down the first paved runway, and headed towards the corner, the sound of many cantis barking was incredibly loud. Fortunately, nobody went down in front of me, or anywhere immediately behind me, as far as I could tell.
We headed the short distance to the first off road transition and James was there to yell, “Pedal Paul, keep pedaling!” We ran along the edge of the section and turned down the long descent behind the Velodrome to the turn where Tyler had speed-dismounted earlier. I on and off rode brakes down the hill, and made the corner at a speed I was comfortable with. I know, comfortable doesn’t win races (and neither do brakes) but I wanted to get through the race as I best knew how, and not slamming into the ground seemed like a good plan for me, especially on my first Crusade race.
After climbing the next quick hill, heading through the tight slow turns through the trees, and down through the long dirt and gravel area behind the parking lot I remembered what Ron Strasser had yelled at me at Heiser, “remember to recover where you can!” Tyler had also pointed out this very section and said it was a decent place to recover, and then crank, crank crank, when coming out of the turn at the bottom. Seemed like good advice, and I tried to do it each lap. The next section was bumpy and bone jarring, and probably the cause of all the back pain complaints I’ve heard throughout the week.
Before long, we had cruised by the tents, turned 180 back along some more bumpy course (the grass was less bumpy than the actual path), into some more gravel, then a quick turn on the pavement, and down along the pit area. After the pit section, was the grand run up hill, where I actually felt great each time I ran up it. In fact, making that a part of my regular practice helped me in being able to pass folks with my bike on my shoulder.
After the run up, we rode into the Velodrome, did some tight cornering, and into our first barriers. I don’t hit these at top speed, but the speed works for me, and I feel confident and comfortable over them…no crashes or issues on either sets of barriers throughout the race. Back out of the Velodrome, up a slick hill, up and down over the off camber area, and then onto the next set of barriers, more pavement, and then off the bike to run up the concrete switchback stairs.
Around the 2nd lap, I realized I hadn’t eaten before the race. I had half a bowl of oatmeal at 5:30, but nothing after. My stomach was yelling at me, and my head was a little light, but overall, I actually felt STRONGER than I had the day before. It didn’t make sense to me that I’d have to very intense days, long hours, race hard one day, and actually feel better the next day. I’m sure there’s a science in there, but for whatever reason, I just took it and rode as hard as I could. Next thing I knew, we got the 1 lap to go, and then it was over. Just like that.
How’d I finish? 112 out of 142. I’m actually very pleased with that. I can only go up from there, and I did it on the second day of racing in a row, in my very first cross racing weekend ever. At the risk of too much team love in too many posts in a row, I won’t go on about the rest of the team…suffice to say, it was a great weekend of racing, and I’m officially hooked. Watching the rest of the team race, eating waffles with Tyler, tailgating with the team, cheering everyone on, shooting photos, and hanging out after the race…seriously a great day! Looking forward to Rainier (but maybe not so much this hill I keep hearing about….)
No time to edit or crop since we have another full day of racing at Alpenrose today, so I just kicked out a bunch of photos from yesterday. I’ll post some favorites and race reports after the weekend, but for now you can see the full set on PacificPedaling’s flickr page.
This is going to be a bit of a crazy week here at Pacific Pedaling. In addition to crazy work and home schedules, there’s a lot going on heading into the first weekend of cross racing. I’m dropping off some parts to Ira Ryan to finish wrapping up my custom cross frame in time to get a couple days of riding in before my first cross races this weekend. I hate to post such a crummy photo, but I only had my iPhone with me the day I popped in to take a look, but I’ll post some soon, I’m sure. It’s hard to tell from the funky photo above, but I used the same paint codes as my wife’s restored 78 Ford pickup:
Speaking of racing this weekend, I’m still officially in doctor prescribed ‘time off the bike.’ It was suggested that I stay off for a full week, but I couldn’t quite give it up completely, so I did my commuting riding and just kept spinning, and laid off the running and leaping stuff for a few days. Gotta get back at it this week though…I know I have no idea what I’m in for this weekend. Also looks like we’ll have some rain both days at Heiser and Alpenrose, so it should be at least a taste of some cold and slippery riding.
Aside from the previously mentioned time of the ankle, I’d been having some decent days of skills practice. I built some portable barriers (post soon) and have found a lot of great places to practice different skills in the Keizer Rapids park – dismounts, barriers, run ups, stairs, descents, gravel, dirt, sand, grass and what not. I told James last night that I still haven’t done a ton of off camber cornering, and I know that will be my weak point going into the weekend…well, that and just being slow in general. If everything comes together this week, it should be a fun weekend.
After hours I’m working on wrapping up the 1963 Aristocrat trailer and hope to have it for the team where space allows on cold and rainy days! Also, this is the last week of the Bike Commute Challenge for the month and I’m proud of everyone at the office who has taken on the task of replacing at least some of their car commutes with bike commutes to work!
Well, it’s been a couple of days, but the LifeSource Natural Foods Salem MTB Short Track Series wrapped up a great month of racing Saturday night, under the lights of the bmx track, and with the glow of the Oregon State Fair in the background! Jeff, Jesse, Kenji, Matt, Lauren, and a bunch of folks really stepped up to provide a great series at the Oregon State Fairgrounds, and the last night went off great, despite the craziness that was the State Fair happening all around! You can see the complete series results on the OBRA results page.
Ok, you know I’m going to brag on the team, so let me just get on with it. My 12 year old son Aaron decided to give the series a try at the second race, and if you’ve been following, you know he won that race that night. After two more nights of racing, Aaron ended up taking 2nd overall in the 10-14 Juniors division! (We had a moment of extreme excitement when they announced he had taken first place for the series, but after the craziness of the night, found that he had indeed earned a solid second place finish, which is still amazing!)
James brought home a solid 3rd place finish for the series in Cat 2 Men, despite the fact that he tanked over a table top on the BMX track this week, and rode battered and bruised the rest of the race, with a slightly tweaked bike. Way to tough it out James…your flatted bike is still in my garage. Martha missed a 3rd place finish in Cat 2 women by just a few points, but represented nicely with a 4th place slot, and rode tough every week! Tyler, who ended up 6th in the large group of Cat 3 Men, was also just points away from moving up to a prize position.
Pat – literally 2 stinking points away from finishing in the top 3 in Single Speed, was right on the wheels of the guys on cross bikes, while on his mtb bike. People always point out how fast he’s moving around the track. Ellen, who raced in every race of the night, and (I think) rode in every race including the kiddie one, took home shared top honors in Cat 1 Women for the series!
As as for me, I know..that’s the news you’ve been waiting for. Check me out, 19th out of 29 for the series. Am I pleased…well, yeah, I’m not last. Actually, it was both easier than I thought, and harder than I thought in many ways. Easier because I was able to do it, didn’t crash or die, and came out enjoying it more than I thought, but harder because….well, it’s just plenty rough to ride as hard as you can for 20-30 minutes, in the heat, and after long days of work/family/set up, etc. I learned a few things from racing the series…but look for those lessons in an upcoming blog post!
Ok, PacificPedaling.com team props out of the way here right off the bat. I was waiting on official OBRA results, but wanted to get the post race up, so I’ll go from the email. James Cloyd, not only took 1st in Cat 2 (again) but then turned around and raced in Cat 1, back to back! Ellen Miller also raced back to back, first as the fastest singlespeed lady around, and then taking 2nd in Cat 1 Women. Martha Paulus put in a solid 4th in Cat 2 Women, and Tyler Jackson knocked out a nice mid 5th spot. So proud of the team! Once they are posted, you can see all the results at the OBRA site.
Now, this was also my very first race of any kind on a bike, and the good news is…I’m still alive! I hadn’t planned on doing any racing until cross season, but couldn’t find any more reasons NOT to, so with borrowed bike in hand, I took my turn around with the Cat 3 men. How was it? Really hard. Brutal. Besides being still way overweight, and not in any kind of race condition at all, it was also stinking hot. But the good news is, I didn’t go down, and I finished in one piece! I started off in the back of the group, figuring it was the safest place for the first time out, and pretty much stayed there. I tried to catch up after a couple laps, but never really made up much ground. Apparently, someone felt bad for me and decided to have a mechanical or just pull out because I wasn’t listed as dead last…just one shy of it though. I may not ever be a fast racer, but I think I’ll find plenty of enjoyment in the times I get out to do it.
Even better than experiencing my first race though, was the fact that my 12 year old son Aaron decided to get out and give it a go as well…and get this, he won his junior category! He came out with me at 3:30 to help set up the course, and after running around the BMX course with other kids there, he decided to try the short track race. Tyler let him borrow is 24″ cruiser, and he cranked away on the larger BMX with the 10-14 Junior class.
Since Juniors and Cat 3 raced at the same time, my favorite moments of the race were catching up to Aaron and getting a chance to tell him he was doing a great job and to keep pedaling! At first he was worried that he wouldn’t be able to even complete a lap, but he actually completed just one lap shy of the old man! My buddy Nate snagged photos during the Cat 3 race and got this shot of us together:
Overall a great night, and a continuation of a great series down here in Salem. Even with the heat, there seemed to be more spectators out cheering on the racers. We had the music blasting (sorry about the offensive word in the track…I found it and have removed it! oops!) and the water guns spraying. Next week wraps up with races on Monday and Saturday, during the fair. Hope to see you all soon!
UPDATED: My Flickr photos of entire event are now uploaded, click here. Also, my brother shot a ton of shots (mostly of the team) and those are available as well, click here.
The LifeSource Salem MTB Short Track series was HOT last night, and I’m not just talking about the temperature! Jeff McNamee and crew put on a great first night of the short track series right here in Salem. 68 riders turned out for the first event and rode across fields, dirt, over bmx rollers, table tops, around hairpin turns and even had some cross-like dismounts and run-ups. There was plent of heat as the Cat 3 race started in near-90 degree temps.
I shot tons of photos of the series, which I’ll post soon to our Flickr page, but this was the official first race with out team kits, so allow me to be the proud team poppa and post some shots of the Pacific Pedaling team members rolling in their kits throughout this post. Results are posted at the OBRA site, but I’ll take this opportunity to point out that Pacific Pedaling came home with 2 top place finishes for the night! Yeehaw!
James took first spot in Cat 2 Men and Ellen took first in Cat 1 Women. It’s worth noting here too that both Pat and Ellen rode two categories back to back – Single Speed, followed up by their Cat 1 races. That’s 30 and 40 minutes of racing with just a 5 minute break in between. Just long enough to hit the restroom and change a race number.
And everyone rode great last night. Tyler was up in the front of the Cat 3 Men for most of the race…next week I’ll be relying on him to show me where to go, and how to get there. Martha rocked it in the Cat 2 Women. And as mentioned, Pat not only raced two races back to back, but pulled off and fixed his bike in the middle of the second race.
In addition to the amazing efforts of the entire team, I’m also proud of the fact that Pacific Pedaling team members volunteered as much as possible before, during and after the race to help the event go smoothly. We really want to help do what we can for cycling in Salem…the rest of this series should be great!