Sunday, March 8, 2009

Banana Belt Series Moved Back One Week

UPDATE, Sunday, March 8, 10 p.m.: Next Sunday's Banana Belt (March 15) will be the first race of the 2009 Oregon Cup as previously scheduled, according to OBRA Executive Director Kenji Sugahara.

The 2009 Banana Belt will go on as a three-race series, promoter Jeff Mitchem said Sunday, despite having to cancel BB#2 because of snow on the course.

The series will take a step back one week, with the next race taking place Sunday, March 15, and the finale following one week later on March 22.

"We were lucky to have that weekend open," Micthem said. "We're doing the paperwork right now with permits and stuff. It looks like the park will be open. So we can do it."

Although the series remains at three races, the terminology to track the races has changed. Micthem explained it this way on the OBRA Chat list:
The "Three-race Banana Belt Series" will continue with an extension to March 22. For the sake of registration clarity please note:

*BB#2* died March 8, 2009
*BB#3* March 15, 2009
*BB#4* March 22, 2009

Link to Mitchem's entire update.
The Men 1/2 group wil race 66 miles in #3 and 77 miles in #4. The Cat 3 men will race 55 miles in #3 and 66 miles in #4.

Weather has never before prompted cancellation of the race, at least not since Mitchem began promoting the event eight years ago.

"It's snowed on race day before, and it's always melted by start time," Mitchem said. "But we've never had this kind of collection. I was out there at about 5 a.m., and I couldn't see across the parking lot."

It's necessary to make a decision early to catch as many people as possible before they begin traveling, Mitchem said, adding that snow still covered much of the course when he made the call.

Banana Belt #2 Canceled Because of Snow

A late-winter storm that dumped a layer of snow in and around the Portland area Sunday morning prompted promoter Jeff Mitchem to cancel the second race of the Banana Belt series scheduled for Henry Hagg Lake.

Instead, we have this classic video from the 1988 Giro's legendary Stage 14 slog over the snow-covered Gavia Pass.

Andy Hampsten, riding for the 7-Eleven squad, topped the pass with Dutchman Erik Breukink and survived the bone-chilling 25k descent that followed. Hampsten finished second on the stage behind Breukink, but his heroic effort pushed him to the top of the overall standings on his way to becoming the first (and only) American to win the Giro d' Italia.