Sunday, October 19, 2008

Exhausted, Muddied, Endorphined-up… and Psyched!

What do you do when your new adopted hometown cycling community has a sick love affair with cyclocross? Well, you dive right in of course!

The scene in Portland, Oregon is beyond belief. In New Mexico, we were accustomed to decent 'cross races having maybe 100 participants total in all categories. As the second biggest US cross destination, New England would see maybe 5 or 600 at the biggest UCI events. The inaugural 2008 Cross Crusade? 1,300! Every field was huge, most notably ALL of the womens fields (a rarity- which is awesome!) Singlespeed categories are very popular, and there's even room for some more, um, extreme categories. Like unicylces (or "unicross").

Cyclocross Portland-style was just what the doctor ordered to rekindle my racing spirits. The sheer exuberance of the boisterous crowd, the good-natured support and cheering from all sides throughout the race, and a positive vibe untouched by any other sport has gotten me excited to be a bike racer once again. I'm ready to embrace the gray skies and frequent drizzles, learn how to keep my desert-accustomed body as dry as possible in sloppy conditions, and discover the secrets of careening down off-camber descents into 180 degree turns towards the barriers on peanut-butter-mud without falling. Every darned lap!

Want to get a feel for the Cyclocross scene for yourself? Grab the nearest cowbell and check out one of my now-favorite websites, (responsible for the two shots posted here). The slide shows are black-and-white artistic documents that capture the amazing energy and vibe of the races. Open a Belgian trippel, mist yourself with a spray bottle for ambiance, make some noise, and enjoy.

Portions reprinted, with permission, from Josh's write-up for Photo courtesy of

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