Monday, October 22, 2007

Cross Crusade #3 - Rainer "Playground"

Well, the third race was shaping up to be a classic cross race. It was pouring down rain on Saturday, so I expected the same on race day. To my surprise - no rain and saw the sun!!! Luckily, the course was wet and slippery!!!!

It was about an hour trek up to Rainer, so I picked up my carpool mate, Matt, bright and early at 6am. It was his 1st cross race, so he was raring to go. The venue was at Rainer high school, a new course for the Cross Crusade. Hopefully, we didn't piss them off too much. 800+ racers doesn't treat the landscaping on the course too well.

The course was AWESOME. The highlight of the day was the "playground". The Crusaders laid a new "sandbox" that was about 25 yards of deep sand. It was off a descent, so you could pick up speed and maintain momentum through most of it. A few pedal strokes at the end and you were out of it. It was definitely the spot for the spectators since not all made it through. At least it was a soft landing.

The Human Bean team had a decent race. Some problems with my rear derailleur made the climb to the finish a pain with slipping gears. I finished in the top 50%. My carpool mate finished in the top 10 with the rookies. I'm sure he'll be schoolin' us in the Masters Cs soon and movin' to the B league.

I'll be missing the Halloween race next week, but the schedule in November looks great. Good courses near PDX again. Come on out and check out the races - I got a cowbell you can borrow.

Excellent coverage at BikePortland .

Words of wisdom to remember (got to remember this next race):

"Pain is the sign of weakness leaving the body"

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Cross Crusade #2 - Hornings Hideout

Hornings Hideout, located about 20 miles west of Portland, was the site for the second race in the Cross Crusade series. It was foggy in town, but as you drove up the hill to the course the sun was actually shining.

There was another large group of racers in 10am race. About 250 riders total. The first lap was really congested at the beginning, but it soon spread out like it always does. The course weaved in and out of the trees and across some open fields that were really bumpy. In the woods, there were some steeper short climbs. I was able to ride them all through the entire race, so that was a good sign. I avoided the slippery roots in the corners (good thing since one poor fellow didn't heed the low friction of a wet root and ended up going home with the EMTs).

Good race for me overall. Put in a good effort the entire time.

If you’re going to charge, charge hard.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Cross Crusade #1 - Alpenrose

First day of CrossCrusade. Wow, doesn't get much better than this. The entire Formiller family hit the dirt. Weather was great and the course was fairly dry. An excellent day for the first race of the season. There were 1078 racers. That's a new record for a cross race in the entire USA.

Denise and Luke competed in their first cross races. Denise joined the "girl power" crew in the Womens division. She dug deep, looked great, and finished the race with style. See her guest blog entry below.

Luke competed in his first kiddie cross race. Down the pavement and in the grass (we skipped the barriers). He was the only one to bring home a ribbon.

I'm racing in the "crazy C" division. Cranked out the first lap in the top 15 or so. However, I think I burned alittle to much reserve on that. Riding the entire race in the drops this year. Feels much more stable and powerful. I think I stick with it. Lost a chain on the last lap after the stairs - not sure how that happened.

Video of the event at CrankMyChain
Great coverage and photos at

Enjoy the photos below.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Right Here, Right Now - Denise takes on Cyclocross!

Guest Blogger: Denise Ker

There was no turning back as I lined up at the back of the pack waiting for the whistle to blow for my first Cyclocross race and for that matter, my very first sports-related competition. Ignorance is so bliss, I must say. I had not idea what I’d gotten myself into as I agreed to try out Cyclocross while sipping cocktails at a Labor Day party with my girlfriends. Seriously, it’s 45 minutes of my life, no problem. I’m a gym rat, I can get my butt kicked in spinning class and come out feeling great! Hey, it’s nothing compared to what my marathon buddies endured during their races held earlier that morning. All those thoughts kept replaying in my head as I headed into the first lap.

OK, I started out looking for the nice paved road, where was it? All I found was dirt, gravel, and a blur of cyclists speeding past me. Holy crap Denise, kick it in a high gear to gain some speed, but wait... stop, get off your bike, throw it over your shoulder climb a hill, hop back on, turn some sharp corners and get off again, run over six barriers, get back on and then ride a bit more up and down some steep bumpy hills and climb a flight of stairs with bike slung over your shoulder – ouch! What the hell, I was in utter shock; I just kept going like a lab rat in a maze searching for the brie and pinot noir at the end of the maze! But no, I endured a total of three laps and finished without falling of my borrowed bike, never walking when I should have been riding, and didn’t trip over any of the barriers in front of the crowds. Phew! I didn’t even finish last, imagine that!

Those that know me well know I always have my top key take-aways list…so here you go…

1. Next time, skip the pre-race preparation of half-time celebratory cocktails at the OSU tailgater the night before.
2. Try riding the bike you plan to race more than a lap around your suburbia neighborhood.
3. Never underestimate the power of cheering for the cyclists on the course. The crowd and fellow cyclist were amazing, encouraging me every step of the way. I plan to hang next race at the toughest hill cheering to return the favor.
4. Be confident it your body and strength, believe it will match your heart and soul.

A shout out to my two biggest fans, Paul and Luke. Thanks for all the support, prep and encouragement before and during the race. You guys ROCK!

My next guest blog entry should come after the next race scheduled for Sunday, October 21. Enjoy life and connect! All my best - D