Operation Oregon: Part II

26 12 2009

Two back-to-back weekends of cyclocross. Four days of racing in the most varied conditions of the year. One team. Join the Blue n’ Gold as we take the fight south.

Part II: US Cyclocross National Championships
December 10-13, Bend, OR.  

Three short days after the USGP, we were back on the road, this time with a full school bus. Robert, Nick, Steve, Troy, Jeff R., and both Hot and New Carl. Bend is a short 6.5 hours away and a cool little town. While the hotel was on the opposite side of town, it only took about 20 minutes to walk to the race course.

RCR live from the big event.

First race for the RCR crew was Nick Adsero and Nick Brown lining up in the Thursday morning Men’s B 30-39 race. The course snaked through the woods and fields next to the Deschutes Brewery. Though sunny, it was a brutal 12 degrees outside and the course was 10% frozen grass, 10% frozen dirt, and 80% snow.

A cold race day in Bend.

With second and third row call ups, these two were poised for good races until Nick B. flatted while sitting in 10th or so and Nick A. broke a chain (on the last lap!) while running in 15th.

Nick "needs better chains" Adsero shows the world what firemen can do.


Nick "needs better tires" Brown takes back a few places.

The afternoon featured a round of heckling and trying to stay warm as the temperatures dropped and the course that had thawed during the day turned back to ice. The place to be was at the top of the horseshoe-shaped run/ride up, where riders would successfully make it to the top but crash spectacularly on the way down. Friends of RCR Jonny and Troy were on hand to offer encouragement:

http://cowbell. cxmagazine. com/video/ master-b- 40-crash- hill-carnage
(Copy and paste link into browser bar if it isn’t clickable, yo.)

Icy off camber grass corners make for good cheering.

Huddled for warmth, the crowd lines the beer garden fence.

Despite the ice forming on his nose, Steve is happy to be here.

It’s not all beer drinking and heckling though. Nationals lasts for four days, and we had somebody racing each day, including single speed, masters, and the elite race.

R. Carlton Hulit smash runup!

Jeff Roesner gracefully shoulders the Raleigh Rainier and dances up the icy hill.

Troy Heithecker (FoRCR) on his way to 9th in the Masters 30-34 race.

Eventually, after surviving each others’ company, the cold, and some dancing, we made it to the big event.

The Last Regiment of Syncopated Drumers set the pace.

El Gato tackles Troy and the crowds go wild.

Big crowds. Every single one of those people is ringing a cowbell.

Racing done, we carefully re-packed the van, stopped at Mondo Pizza for the best food deal in town: from 3 until 6, two slices of pizza AND a beer cost less than two slices of pizza alone. How could you go wrong? Though tough at times, we had a great trip and it was a good way to wrap up the season. The RCR cyclocross crew is fired up for next season and next year’s nationals. Carl, we’ll need a few more rooms.


Operation Oregon: Part I

26 12 2009

Two back-to-back weekends of cyclocross. Four days of racing in the most varied conditions of the year. One team. Join the Blue n’ Gold and we take the fight to the south.

United States Grand Prix of Cyclocross: Stanley Portland Cup
December 5-6, Portland International Raceway

The team piled into The Van and braved rush hour traffic bound for The Center of The Hipster Universe for the USGP’s Portland stop. Robert, Nick, Randy, and Alex would meet up with Friends of Recycled Cycles Racing Troy Heithecker and Jonny Sundt for the weekend. The drive was anguishing. Between the stop and go traffic and Portland’s asinine street layout, it’s a wonder we made it to the hotel.

Dog friendly couches!

We’re glad we made it. The hotel, graciously secured by team hotelier Carl Anton, was plush. Full kitchenette, a living room, an awesome breakfast, and dog friendly to boot! Marriott has a good thing going with this one. RCR travels and stays in style!

Saturday morning dawned cold and slippery. The ice on the freeway overpasses on the way to PIR was warning enough that the day would feature slick-as-snot racing. With temperatures hovering right at freezing, the surface of the grass and dirt course had thawed while leaving the ground frozen. Mud and wet grass on ice. Awesome.

Gypsy camp firepit - thawing the hands at the USGP.

The parking lot looked lot like a gypsy camp – vehicles backed up to the course with tents and camp fires sprouting from the rear doors. Coffee brewed on camp stoves and propane heaters hissing while riders quietly slaved away on trainers, trying to prepare for the cold race ahead.

Gypsy camp coffee.

Gypsy camp food.

The racing was a fascinating combination of trying to stay warm, trying to stay upright, and trying to avoid the demolition derby. This was a different crowd than we typically race with in Seattle – everyone wanted to be in the same place at the same time yet nobody was looking where they were going. Somebody slowed down in front of you? Just run into the back of them. Seriously?

The big teams were all there, and nobody has a more commanding parking lot presence than Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld. The RCR van is stylish and roomy, but Cannondale roles up in a lime green, Liquigas-decaled semi. Their squad of mechanics tweaks bikes under an 800 square foot tent with heaters and techno pumping from big speakers. They keep 50 Dugast-shod Zipp wheels on a rack off to the side. This is what the big time looks like.

One Porche's worth of wheels, tires, and cassettes

You can only put up with racing so much though, so once Troy and Jonny were done it was back to the hotel to clean up and get ready for a night on the town.

Alex Wilson takes it public.

Sunday was warmer, but fending off the cold was still top priority. Looking for whatever patches of sun we could find, we watched Katerina Nash put on a clinic in the women’s race. It wasn’t long before the tomfoolery started however, and Raleigh’s Brian Fornes was at the center of it all. Figuring those riders out of the prize money needed something to live for, Sally started offering up $5 bills stuffed into the top of half-full beer bottles. Some riders took the money, some took the money and the beer. Good times.

Beer and money; reasons to keep racing.

The best handup ever.