After six epic events, the travelling Seattle Cyclocross circus convened for its double-point season finale and awards blowout at the Evergreen Fairgrounds in Monroe, where the Skykomish river emerges from the mists of the Cascade foothills.
Leaving Fremont in the pre-dawn obscurity, the trusty RCR van arrived in Monroe in the dark gray of another beautiful november day in the Pacific Northwest. The temperatures had risen from the glacial depths of Thanksgiving week to a few balmy degrees above freezing, and though the valley lay bare of snow, the thickening clouds loomed over the whitened ridges.
On this third visit by the SCX series to the fairgrounds, the course designers mixed elements from the courses of the two previous years. Leaving the start line, a long straightaway on the dirt favored the roadies and the diesel-powered, at least until they climbed to the upper field where the hairpin turns came one after another through the greasy grass and sticky mud. The parcours led to a plunge down a steep embankment through loose dirt into an off-camber turn, where the course’s solitary but strategically-placed barrier forced all but the most adept off their bikes, although many riders had already made the tactical decision to hoof it down the slope. Another off-camber curve swept through 180 degrees to bring riders back down to the starting field, only to lead them to yet another steep berm, where some of our shorter-legged small fry required assistance to make it to the top with their bikes. A fast hard surface led to the infield of the motor track with its shallow water hazard before racers took a quick tour through the paddocks and out past the start line to do it all over again.
Sporting his natural-fiber retro jersey, Liam Bradshaw hung on to place 7th overall in the Cat 4 men, while Chris “tri-guy” Tremonte wished the water had required swimming. Seventh was the series placing in the noon elite race for Carl “Smash!” Hulit, as he and Alex “J is for Jenuine” Wilson suffered through the freezing sleet and the blistering pace set by former pro Russell “the muscle” Stevenson. In the 1:30 race, a flat tire just after the pits forced Erik Mamroth to rid half the course on a rim, but he managed to finish off the season in 4th place overall among the 55+ cat 3 men; recovering nicotine fiend David “Illustrated Man” Loetterle finished his first season of bikeracing with a 15th place in a single-speed category dominated by bike messenger world champeen Craig Ethridge. Closing out the cold wet and miserable day, Uptown Nick Brown, our lone category 3 participant, showed the virtues of consistency by claiming 5th place in the final series rankings. Let’s not forget Jason Cameron and Jeff Roessner who showed up to drink beer and holla [stuff] from the sidelines; rcr don’t need no stinking megaphone!
The New Belgium beer garden was open early, and many were those who bellied up to the bar for a free beer or three. The lucky ticket holders in the post-race raffle were set loose at the schwag table: Alex scored the golf club, while your faithful correspondent passed over the pizza cutter in favor of some real full-fingered cycling gloves.
Back at the Recycled Cycles tents, Tyler Blake Davis, our fearless leader, reliable driver, and master of the grill had been laying on a feed for the carnivores; thanks to our fabulous meat sponsor Bill the Butcher, our cycling friends got to taste some fine naturally-fed and ethically-raised beef, and yours truly gives a big up to the bratwurst he devoured.
We also want to give a shout-out to our nutrition sponsor Power Bar for their energy drinks and recovery products; the good folks at Raleigh USA for their continued support, and making the RX1.0 available for test rides; and last but certainly not least our title sponsor Recycled Cycles for making the Blue and Gold krewe possible going on 13 years now.
That’s it for the competitive cycling season in Seattle. Best of luck and courage to those going on to the USGP in PDX, and cx natz in Bend OR. Happy Hannukah, Merry Christmas, Joyful Kwanzaa, Felicitous Festivus, and a Prospero Año Nuevo to all.