Alpenrose Dairy: Portland Oregon
Sunday October 04, 2009
1,438 intrepid riders participated in yesterday’s season opener for the Cross Crusade yesterday at Alpenrose Dairy, nearly 200 more than competed last year, making it likely the largest ‘cross race (by participation) in the world. Unfortunately, I guess I didn’t pay the gods of luck enough, as I was placed in the DFL row of the “random” call up.
I lined up in the 35+ A race, which ran 2 minutes behind the A field for an hour. (Note: Ryan Trebon and Barry Wicks raced in the A group today). I had hoped for a better starting position but alas it wasn’t in the cards. I was in the back of a 60 man train. The starting gun went off and I finally was able to get clicked in and get rolling as the lead group of riders were already rounding the first asphalt corner of the course. I put the hammer down (probably a bit to early in hindsight) and tried to pass as many guys as possible before the course skinnied down to a single track downhill behind the famous Alpenrose velodrome. There were of course still plenty of guys up ahead of me going into the single track through the trees on the backside of the 2.3 mile course. When I finally made it to the straightaway alongside the parking lot I see teammate of mine coming back at me (there is a u turn further down the course)… “Damn it, am I really that far back still” I thought to myself? I managed to fight my way up a few more places and ended up settling in to a groove with a HUP united rider. The two of us battled it out and sucked on each others wheel for then next 4 laps. On my 6th lap coming out of the parking lot again I see Trebon and Wicks powering through looking like they would overtake me in a matter of moments… Oh crap – I better pick it up so as not to cut my race short… Alas, I put the hammer down only to be passed by the Kona twins going into the velodrome on their final (7th lap).
In all seriousness, it was a bumpy fast difficult race for me and I can’t be to hard on myself for moving up 40 spots from the start. Plus my 21st place finish was better than my 30th place finish from last year at the same venue. Alpenrose has never been particularly kind to me. Ironically I’ll be there for the 3rd time in a week this Wednesday night for the next edition of Alpenrose blind date mid week cross series. (Single Speed this time though).