PORTLAND, Ore. The River City Bicycles Cross Crusade hosts the prestigious Crank Bros. U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross this Saturday, October 8, at Alpenrose Dairy in Southwest Portland, featuring the Cannondale Stumptown Cyclocross Classic. This UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) sanctioned race will draw the best American cyclocrossers from across the country, including former Olympians and World Championship participants, announced Cross Crusade Race Director Brad Ross.
Saturday's event doubles as the second race of the River City Bicycles Cross Crusade, the region's wildly popular cyclocross series. The Crusade kicked off its six-race season last Sunday at Hillsboro Stadium, attracting a record number of Cross Crusaders (670 racers). With an additional 100 or so professional and top amateurs expected for the Cannondale Stumptown Cyclocross Classic, overall entries at Alpenrose could top 800, making it the biggest cyclocross race ever held on U.S. soil.
Racing starts at 9 a.m. and continues all day, with the Elite UCI Women's and UCI Junior's race at 1:15 p.m., and the Elite Men's event at 3 p.m.
"This is the River City Bicycles Cross Crusades marquee event," explained Ross. "For any cycling fan interested in watching America's most talented cyclocrossers at speed, this is your chance. And for any cyclist looking to try cyclocross themselves, the Crusade offers a fun-filled opportunity, whether you're a beginner or an expert."
A number of Oregon riders will be favourites to grab part of the Cannondale Stumptown Cyclocross Classic's $8,000 purse, including 2004 Cross Crusade champion Barry Wicks and 2004 U.S. National runner-up Ryan Trebon, both of Corvallis; Portland's Rhonda Mazza, third in the 2004 U.S. Nationals; and Gina Hall of Ashland. Also expected is defending 2004 U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross champion Ann Knapp of Seattle.
Other nationally ranked riders expected to compete include Geoff Kabush of British Columbia, Mark McCormack of Boston, Ben Jacques-Maynes of San Francisco, Josie Beggs, of San Francisco, and more. The long running success of the River City Bicycles Cross Crusade - this is its 14th year - has firmly established the Northwest as the country's most popular region for cyclocross. Each round of the Cross Crusade offers 16 classes of competition, from elite men and women to masters and junior categories. Races vary from 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the class. The series, sanctioned by the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association, will pay out more than $20,000 in prize money plus merchandise.
Cyclocross bike racing is a specialized form of cycling competition, one that requires riders to race on a closed-loop circuit, over grass, pavement, gravel, and mud, with barriers and steep run-ups mixed in for additional challenges. Cyclocross requires special techniques and fitness; dismounting the bike at speed, running, carrying the bike over barriers, shouldering it up hills, and maintaining speed through turns and over uneven, muddy terrain. Plus, the pace is frenetic, with little time to rest and less opportunity for "slipstreaming," as in road races.
The remaining River City Cross Crusade schedule is as follows:
- Race 2 - October 8, Alpenrose Dairy (U.S. GP of Cyclocross)
- Race 3 - October 23, Scouters Mountain
- Race 4 - October 30, Halloween Cross Festival, Flying M Ranch
- Race 5 - November 13, Barton Park
- Race 6 - November 20, District Cyclocross Championships, Estacada Timber Park.