Thursday, October 08, 2009

2009 Cross Crusade #1

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).

Friday, July 24, 2009

Portland Short Track Series (Race 1, 4 and 5)

Wow, have I been slacking in the Race report department… Therefore, I’m going to do a combo report on the last 3 Short Track Races I have competed in (since the end of June). Technically there have been 5, but I’ve only been able to race 3 of them. So, without further ado…

Portland Short Track Racing
Portland International Raceway (PIR)
June 22, July 13, July 20th (2 more left in the series btw)

PIR is once again hosting the the PDX short track series on Monday nights. This I believe is the 5th year. The race series takes place at Portland International Raceway (PIR) on a track that consisted of the motocross track as well as some single track weaving through the trees in the infield of the racetrack. The course changes on a weekly basis, but the theme remains the same. Coincidentally, the weekly PIR road bike race was happening on the main (paved) raceway at the same time, so there were cyclists & fans everywhere.

The single speed races started @ 6:30 under warm summer skies (It was around 95 this past week) with up to 60+ SS riders on some nights jockeying for position after the starting gun to get a lead up to the first big set of whoop dee doos.The race weaved around the track and as usual I tried to get a good position before a steep 'run up' (which was actually totally rideable as long as there was no one slower in your way). In typical Porter style, I’ve consistently had poor starting positions. 1 week it was nerves, then next was due to a Le Mans start and this final week I just don’t have an excuse… I’m just not the fast off the gun I guess. Something to work on for cross I think.

I am faster than most of the riders out here in the SS class, so I am at least able to pick them off and had fun doing the course - riding the whoopee’s, jumping the berms, riding the log barriers they layout on the course and trying to catch as much air on the big bumps. It was fun and fast.
Each race is similar, but also different. It’s a great way to spend a summer evening. The added benefit, is that there are kids races so I had my brood out there mixing it up as well and both placing quite well in their ‘categories’.

In summary (since this is a summarized race report of 3 races) is as follows:

June 22: 6th Place
July 13: 10th Place
July 20th: 6th place.

My goal is of course to always place in the top ten, but my ‘real goal’ is to break the top 5 or even 3 (I did it once last year). I’ve got 2 more races to try to accomplish this.

Oh, and I should mention, this race series is the first racing I've done on my new 29er SS. A Salsa Selma... A report should be coming on this sweet bike if I ever get off my duff!


Monday, May 04, 2009

Slinging Mud at the Mudslinger

21st Annual Peak Sports Mudslinger
Oregon State Mountain Bike Championship Race
Single Speed
May 4, 2009
Philomath, OR

The drive over in the morning provided a little foreshadowing of conditions to come with heavy rain falling as we turned off I-5 onto the road into Philomath. The rain itself slowed down as we pulled into the parking area and the group of us head to registration. By the time we got out the rain stopped and the Oregon spring sunshine started heating things up. Granted, this did nothing for the water logged trails as we would soon find out.

The 21st annual 'Mudslinger' definately lived up to it's name.

Riders tackled single track trail sections intermixed with between gravel fire road climbs over 24 miles and almost 4ooo feet of climbing. The large single speed group (27 riders) took off at a break neck speed. I was off at the front of the group feeling overly confident for the first 3 mile climb until a group of 3-4 riders took off and splintered the group. Within 30 minutes the group was spread out and I was riding solo. I managed to catch a couple of riders and a couple caught up with me. I pressed on and hit the single track downhill. Slip sliding down the Panama Canal trail (going down once), brakes locked up, side ways sliding, realizing that I've been on the road bike to much and not with not enough time on the mountain bike. Lots more fire road climbing and single track with names I can't remember.

Finished the race in 2:06 which was good enough for 5th place. All in all a great but hard race.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

2009 Hornings Hustle Mountain Bike Race

April 5, 2009
Hornings Hideaway, North Plains Oregon

"In it to win it"

This was the 1st Mountain bike race of the year for me. The weather couldn't be better (70s) and the dirt was about as perfect as can be for an early April race.

I raced single speed as is the norm over the past couple of seasons. I lined up with the group of single speeders and scoped out the competition. I usually recognize most of the guys, but this time it was mostly guys I didn't recognize. Lots of dudes from Bend, Eugene, etc and not much in the way of a Portland showing, which is weird as this is the closest race on the schedule to Portland.

Like last year, the race was a circuit, meaning it had 5 mile laps and we did multiples. This can be a fun way to race because it allows you to try and retry different lines. Kind of like a cross race. The difference, was that the number of laps was fixed. Single speeders only did 3 which for an early seaon race on this course was plenty. We seemed to be either climbing or descending.

Back to the start. The gun went off and the group charged - A couple of guys in a full spring up the hill. I initially had a sinking feeling about being able to keep up right off the bat but I sucked it up and pulled infront of most of the guys. One dude (on a SS flat bar cross bike with carbon wheels no less) and I played a bit of cat and mouse with me catching him and him taking off. His much lighter skinny tired bike had a definate advantage on the long sustained climb, but it was overwhelmed on the technical descents. Mid way into the first lap (on the downhill single track) he went down and I made my move. He sprung up and was on my tail pretty quickly but I definately had the advantage at that point and I pulled away from him at the first water crossing.

Thankfully, I got faster with each lap and started passing the 1/2 geared riders (that started ahead of the single speeders). I also started lapping the riders that started after the SS group.

1 hour 32 minutes after I started I rolled into the finish area, asked the promoter "3 laps, right?" He said yes and tried to get me to do another one... after a bit of convincing he realized that I was indeed finished - 5-6 minutes ahead of the next closest single speeder.

Not bad for an early season race on a bike I haven't ridden since December...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Catch up post!

Long time no post... race season is starting to heat up again, so I wanted to put some closure on the end of 2008 (and beginning of 2009). I've done a couple of races since my last post in November...

November 9, 2008
Cross Crusade Race #7
Master A Category
Place: 13th

Also at PIR but on a different course
USGP of Cyclocross: race #6
30+ Elite
Place: 19th

I'm actually very proud of the 19th place. It was probably one of my best races of the year based on the caliber of racers I was up against.

2008 BAR (Best All-around Rider)
Some how I managed to get a 3rd place in the SS/Fixed category... This is calculated by number of races (and points per race).
Not bad if I do say so myself... To bad I didn't know until after the OBRA banquet!

2009 - Race #1
Vancouver, WA
Time Trial
Master 30+
4th place!

This was my first time trial ever. I think if I knew what I was doing (and if I didn't have 'super cold' at the time) I would have done better. However, I can't really complain. It was a fun race and extremely well organized. I'll definitely do more this year.