Doing it all the hard way...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Portland 2010 Retro post

Not Portland, but still Evo
Portland is always a blast. Portland has all of the hip that Seattle thinks it has, but Portland isn’t insecurely checking itself in the mirror like Seattle does. Hottie had some business in downtown Portland so we arrived late Friday. Just as I was thinking, “I could live in Portland,” I realized why the bike scene is so alive in P-town. The automobile traffic is horrific. Freeways were parking lots and downtown was crawling. I recalled the freedom of my bike commute days and the smug joy of sailing past stuck drivers. I’m hoping for a reprise of that in my life.

The big reason for our journey was Cyclocross and the USGP. It was the season finale for many on my team. I also got to meet blogging legend bikelovejones, who is as cool and sincere as one could imagine. I cheered her on in her race, and she cheered me in mine. We share the wonderment of late blooming masters racing in this bizarre sport of Cyclocross. Bikelovejones also mixes it up in short track mountain bike racing, which I shall admire from afar.

This year the Cyclocross season was backwards. The early season venues, chosen for their fragile susceptibility to wet weather, are traditionally dry races. In 2010, they were rainfests. We literally destroyed Beverly Park. The rains came early and they came with a vengeance. The late season races were cold, and only slightly wet. This made the season seem unusually long.

In keeping with the backwards year of 2010, the Portland race was DRY. The drive down to Portland was sunny. What the heck? There was a moment when I thought the trend of reversals might result in a high finish for me, but it was not to be.

My race started off poorly as something was caught somewhere in my drive train and I had horrible skipping as soon as I upshifted off the starting line. I spent the starting straight soft pedaling trying to figure out what was wrong trying not to lose too many places. The good news was whatever was causing the problem disappeared and I could apply power again; the bad news was I was in last place as we hit the mud. I worked up valiantly where I could. The course was a mix of everything. I kept it upright and had a fun, albeit non-stellar, race.

We had heard that because this wasn’t a Cross Crusade race, that Portland had withheld some of its Portlandness from the event. The crowds weren’t as big or loud as I’ve seen at PIR for past events (I’m thinking of the 2009 SSCXWC). It was still a fun time, and we’re glad we went.

We stuck around and Hottie shot the rest of the days races, including the pros. The women’s race was noteworthy in that there were such huge gaps between the first four riders that any one of them could have stopped and had a beer and resumed riding and not lost a place.

After making it home and beginning the clean up, I realized my racing kit was the cleanest it had been (before washing) all year. Who would have thought?

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