Saturday, May 9, 2009

Evan Elken 6th in Joe Martin Stage 3 circuit race

Land Rover-ORBEA's Evan Elken of Portland finished sixth in the third stage of the Joe Martin Stage Race in Fayetteville, Ark., Saturday.

Colavita Sutter Home's Lucas Sebastian Haedo won the 92-mile circuit race in 3:17:34. Jonathan Cantwell (Fly V Australia) was second. Rock Racing's Nic Sanderson finished third.

Elken came in ahead of Jelly Belly's Brad Huff in 7th. Land Rover-ORBEA'S Roman Van Uden, fresh off his stage win at the Tour of the Gila, was 8th. Despite a breakaway containing many of the top general classification riders staying away late into the race, the stage came down to a massive field sprint.

Portland's Jacob Erker (Kelly Benefit Strategies) is 15th overall in the men's race. Oregonian Christina Ruiter (Valueact Capital Cycling Team) is 9th overall in the women's race. Veloforma's Alice Pennington of Hood River is 19th.

The Joe Martin Stage Race concludes with Sunday's criterium.

Erik Kautzky Track Race partial results

Erik Kautzky Track Race
Alpenrose Velodrome, May 9

Junior Women
1. Cartwright, Liz (Beaverton Bicycle Club) 8
Women Master
1. Chateaubriand, Jane (Starbucks) 21
2. Mautner, Meg (Bike Central) 15
3. Windus, Debra (Finnegans Toys/Discover Chiropractic) 8
Women Cat 4
1. Turnbull, Lisa (Therapeutic Associates Cycling/GENR8) 21
2. Larson, Elena (Brihop) 15
3. McCarthy, Kristin (Ironclad Performance Wear) 7
Senior Women
1. Featheringill, Jen (Bike Central) 19
2. Hook, Camille 28 (Brihop) 12
3. Bihlmaier, Jeanie (Specialized River City Bicycles) 11
4. Fisk, Andrea (Velo Bella) 7
5. Charbonneau, Emily (Brihop) 3
Junior Men
1. McElroy Grant (Beaverton Bicycle Club) 21
2. Sullivan, John (Beaverton Bicycle Club) 13
3. Pelman, Naiqwan (Word-RCB) 11
Masters 50+
1. Provencher, Darell (Team Rose City) 14
2. Field Joe, (Fred Meyer/Lakeside Cycling Team) 13
3. Hemminger, Stephen (Southtown Velo) 11
Master Men 40-49
1. Bigwood, Robert (Portland Velo) 19
2. Dunn, Michael (ZteaM) 11
3. Abers, Brian (Bike Central) 10
Men Category 5
1. Sheagley, Eric (Veloce Bicycles) 21
2. Bedford, STephen (Word-RCB) 11
3. Hansen, Jake Word (Word-RCB) 7
Men Category 4
1. Wessel, Robin (Team Oregon) 19
2. Spahr, Trevor (Ironclad Performance Wear) 15
3. Nickerson, Randy (Kraynicks's) 8
Men Category 3
1. Kim, John (Beaverton Bicycle Club) 12
2. La Vigne, Justin (Team Oregon) 8
3. Emoff, Brent (Brihop) 7
Senior Men
1. Blackwelder, Mark (Gentle Lovers) 19
2. Beardsley, Steven (Gentle Lovers) 10
3. Kovalcik, Zak 21 (Team Beer) 7
4. Hosmer, Seth 34 (HPChiropractic/Hammer Nutrition) 6
5. Hemenway, Daryl 37 (Brihop) 6

Complete OBRA results for the Erik Kautzky Track Race are HERE.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Driscoll, Swart win Collegiate National Champ jerseys in Fort Collins

Ever wonder how tough Collegiate racing is? Check out the winners in the Div. 1 road race at the USA Cycling National Road Race Championships this weekend in Colorado:

Jamey Driscoll, the Cyclocrossworld/Cannondale rider who finished second to Ryan Trebon (Kona) and ahead of a host of seasoned pros at the Cyclocross National Championships this past fall in Kansas, won the Men's 1 road race for the University of Vermont. Carla Swart, the Lip Smackers pro who also recently won the criterium stage of the Gila in new Mexico, took yet another stars-and-stripes jersey Friday with her win the Women's 1 event for Lees-McRae.

USA Cycling Junior National Team rider Adam Leibovitz (Marian College), who came close to winning a stage race in Belgium last month with the USA team, finished third in the men's race behind Driscoll's Vermont teammate William Dugan, who won the Collegiate Cyclocross National Championship last December. Portland-based pro team Land Rover-ORBEA rider Bobby Sweeting finished fourth for the University of Florida.

Swart finished ahead of Harvard's Anna McLoon and Team Type 1 pro Jacquelyn Crowell (University of Florida). Specialized Designs for Women mountain bike pro Melanie Meyers and Luna Womens MTB Team pro Chloe Forsman finished fourth and fifth for the University of Arizona.

Former OBRA rider Ally Stacher, who now rides for Kenda and is Swart's Lees-McRae teammate, made it into the nine-person break that defined the race.

By sheer force of numbers, Washington's Whitman College, whose riders are occasionally seen in the Oregon peloton, took control of the Div. II team standings after the first of two days of racing.

Last year’s defending Div. 1 team overall road champion, Lees-McRae College, used a balanced attack by both its men and women to take the early lead in the team omnium standings. With the team battle heating up, racing will continue on Saturday morning with the men’s and women’s criteriums in Old Town Fort Collins.

Division I Men’s Road Race
1. Jamey Driscoll (University of Vermont) 2:52:47
2. William Dugan (University of Vermont) 2:53:31
3. Adam Leibovitz (Marian College) 2:53:34
4. Bobby Sweeting (University of Florida) 2:53:35
5. Rotem Ishay (Fort Lewis College) 2:53:35

Division I Women’s Road Race
1. Carla Swart (Lees-McRae) 2:28:21
2. Anna McLoon (Harvard University) 2:28:24
3. Jacquelyn Crowell (University of Florida) 2:28:47
4. Melanie Meyers (University of Arizona) 2:28:56
5. Chloe Forsman (University of Arizona) 2:29:26

Track opens with time trials; Erik Kautzky Memorial Race Saturday

BEAVERTON -- Alpenrose Velodrome's spring and summer schedule of racing spun into action Thursday night with blistering laps around the track for individual kilos and 500-meter events.

Fast Twitch Fridays starts tonight at 6:30 p.m. with flying 200-meter sprints. Fridays are all about the top-end speed and G-forces, featuring match sprints and motor-paced keirin racing, plus an omnium for beginner men and women. The Tuesday night series starting in June caters to masters and juniors.

The first mass-start racing will take place Saturday at The 4th Annual Erik Kautzky Memorial Track Race. Nine categories of juniors, masters, men and women will compete in a full menu of events, including scratch races, points races, miss-and-out and more.

Thursday night races in May will focus on time trials and then move on to pursuits and eventually mass-start racing. At the May 7 event, Per Bjesse rode the fastest kilo of the night with a 1:10.98. Gentle Lovers' Steven Beardsley was second at 1:12.48. Team Beer's Zak Kovalcik rode a 1:14.32. Amelia Bjesse-Puffin claimed the fastest 500 meters for the Senior Women, clocking a 40.32. VeloBella's Andrea Fisk came in at 40.6, and Jen Featheringill (Bike Central) was third with a time of 40.88.

Erik Kautzky Track Race info:
- Saturday, May 9
- Registration starts at 9 a.m., racing starts at 10 a.m.
- Kiddie Kilo is FREE and starts at 10 a.m.
(Training wheels and 3-wheelers are welcome).
- Estimated event finish time between 2-3 p.m.
- Approximately 30 separate races.

Thursday, May 7, Results:

Junior Women/500
1 Cartwright, Liza (BBC) 47.1
Women Masters/500
1 Hughes-Godfrey, Lynn (Bike Central) 43.67
2 Windus, Debra (Finnegan's) 49.29
3 Mautner, Meg (Bike Central) 49.81
Women Cat 3/500
1 Hook, Camille (Brihop) 45.02
2 Graham, Fiona (Specialized/River City) 47.05
Women Cat 4/500
1 Knoblock, Anna (Bike Central) 44.16
2 Larson, Elena (Therapeutic Assoc.) 47.4
Senior Women/500
1 Bjesse-Puffin, Amelia 40.32
2 Fisk, Andrea (VeloBella) 40.6
3 Featheringill, Jen (Bike Central) 40.88
4 Charboneau, Emily (Brihop) 42.77
5 VanValkenburg, Heather (Landrover-ORBEA) 43.65
Junior Men/500
1 Prettyman, Joe (BBC) 40.28
2 Stretch, Jerome 44
3 McElroy, Grant (BBC) 45.81
Junior Men/kilo
1 Birman, Dan BBC 1:18.56
Masters Men 60+/500

1 Magnus, Ron (Fred Meyer) 44.47
2 Forbes, John (Fred Meyer) 46.26
3 Traa, Einar (Portland Velo) 49.75
Masters Men 50+/500
1 Brown, Steve (MAC) 39.59
2 Provencher, Darell (Team Rose City) 39.67
3 Burney, Robert (MAC) 41.32
Masters Men/kilo
1 Huff, Bob Half Fast Velo 1:24.89
Category 5/kilo
1 Tardif, Adam 1:23.57
2 Charboneau, Clayton (Brihop Track) 1:27.47
3 Trigg, Jesse 1:29.58
Category 4/kilo
1 Copperwaite, David (Team Oregon) 1:19.21
2 Bigwood, Robert (Portland Velo) 1:20.95
3 Spahr, Trevor (Ironclad Performance Wear) 1:21.35
Category 3/kilo
1 Mensher, Daniel (Gentle Lovers) 1:17.37
2 Kim, John (BBC) 1:17.41
3 Emoff, Brent (Brihop Track) 1:21.64
Senior Men/kilo
1 Bjesse, Per 1:10.98
2 Beardsley, Steven (Gentle Lovers) 1:12.48
3 Kovalcik, Zak (Team Beer) 1:14.32
4 Frechen, Nathan (Team Beer) 1:16.62
5 Harrison, Rambo (BBC) 1:17.14

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Mt. Hood Women's Cat. 3/4 field will race three days

After taking input from OBRA's Cat 3 and 4 women, Mt. Hood Cycling Classic promoter Chad Sperry reduced the Women's Cat 3/4 race to three stages over three days instead of a four-day race as originally planned.

The race will start Friday, June 5, with the 42-mile Scenic Gorge Time Trial. It will continue Saturday with the Wy’East Road Race and finish Sunday with the Hood River Criterium.

Registration fees for that field have been reduced to $80. Anyone who has already registered will be refunded the difference.

Cycling's tweet of the week

From Dave Zabriske, Apr. 30:

"Just watched my tt bike fly off roof on the highway."

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Land Rover-ORBEA headed south for Joe Martin Stage Race

(Photo courtesy of Brian Hodes /

Fresh off its biggest win of the season in front of Levi and Lance at the Gila criterium in New Mexico, the Portland-based Land Rover-ORBEA Professional Cycling Team is headed to Fayetteville, Ark., for the Joe Martin Stage Race May 7-10.

Twenty-year-old Roman van Uden of Aukland, New Zealand, shocked the domestic cycling world May 2 when he avoided several late-race crashes to win the Silver City Criterium of the Tour of the Gila, a race that included the big-name Astana Euro pros and a talented domestic pro field.

"This is a huge win for the young Land Rover-ORBEA squad," said team co-founder Norrene Godfrey, "especially in our first year as a professional cycling team."

Van Uden, who also won the Cherry City Criterium stage of the Cherry City Classic in The Dalles in April, explained his win as a combination of skill and luck.

"I got into a good position," van Uden said. "Guys were riding pretty fast at the front, crashes took out Levi and a few other guys and I snuck through, so we had gaps forming behind. A rider shot through the front trying to get away a bit with half mile to go and then sat up, and I snuck around him outside on the very last corner. He sort of opened a gap and it gave me enough room to take the win."

After the race, Armstrong complimented the Land Rover-ORBEA squad on its professionalism as the team handed out LIVESTRONG wristbands to the crowd and to all the kids who participated in the kid’s event. The team has two core missions, raise funds and awareness for the Lance Armstrong Foundation and help develop young cycling athletes into the next generation professional. Each year the team raises funds for the Lance Armstrong Foundation, and each year the team gives away it’s spot in the Seattle LIVESTRONG Challenge to a cancer survivor.

After Joe Martin, the team will be leading a LIVESTRONG Block Party ride in Portland on May 24. Racing continues at the TD Bank Philadelphia International Championship in Philadelphia on June 7 and the Nature Valley Grand Prix in Minneapolis June 11–14.

Tabor construction means Wednesday night series may be moved back

The same construction project that canceled the Mt. Tabor Circuit Race that was scheduled for May 16 is causing problems for the six-race June-July Velo on the Volcano Wednesday night series as well.

Although the original schedule is definitely out, promoters have tentatively rescheduled the event as a four-race series for July 29, Aug. 12, 19 and 26. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Ryan takes win at crash-shortened PIR Tuesday night

(UPDATE: Complete photo galleries are now posted HERE).

Portland Bicycle Studio's Kelly Ryan claimed the PIR Pro/1/2/3 win Tuesday after a nasty crash at the back of the Cat. 3/4 field sprint prematurely ended the race. Two riders hit the tarmac hard and required medical attention. Both riders were eventually able to stand up on their own.

Results for the Pro/1/2/3 race were based on hot-spot sprint points, with Ryan's four points enough to take the win. Land Rover-Orbea's Ryan Taylor and Bridgetown Velo's Chris Haverty each finished with three points. Guiness Cycling's Cliff Heaberlin and Hammer/CMG's Marcel deLisser trailed with two points each.

In the Cat 3/4 race, the Ironclad crew seemed determined to animate the race early, frequently sending riders down the road in pairs or alone. Specialized River City Bicycles, Gentle Lovers and Portland Velo were also well represented, and Beaverton Bicycle Club had a strong contingent working for the Cherry Blossom Classic cat. 4 overall winner, 15-year-old Joe Prettyman, who made it into at least one break attempt.

In the end, River City and Gentle Lovers won the day. Walton Brush (River City) and Kevin Condron (Gentle Lovers) each tallied 15 points. Jacob Cummings finished with 10. Brian Gumpert (Showers Pass) notched eight.

1. Ryan, Kelly (Portland Bicycle Studio) 4
2. Taylor, Ryan (Land Rover/ORBEA) 3
3. Haverty, Chris (Bridgetown Velo) 3
4. Heaberlin, Cliff (Guinness Cycling Team) 2
5. deLisser, Marcel (Hammer/CMG Racing Team) 2
Cat 3/4
1. Brush, Walton (River City Bicycles) 15
2. Condron, Kevin (Gentle Lovers) 15
3. Cummings, Jacob 10
4. Gumpert, Brian (Showers Pass) 8
5. Cornilles, Gary (Specialized River City Bicycles)
Cat 4/5
1. Weber, Johannes (Ironclad Performance Wear) 15
2. McDade, stephen (Beaverton Bicycle Club) 12
3. Anderson, Eric (Pacific Power/Blue Sky) 10
4. Brown, christopher 8
5. McCasker, David 7

Pacific Power agrees to sponsor June's Mt. Hood Cycling Classic

HOOD RIVER, Ore. -- This year’s Mt. Hood Cycling Classic, presented by Pacific Power, will take place Wednesday, June 3 through Sunday, June 7. Oregon’s top stage race, it draws professional riders from around the country who compete for $20,000 in cash and merchandise.

Last year, 500 riders participated and the race drew crowds of more than 15,000. The 2009 race features many of the traditional courses that have made the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic the toughest and most scenic race in the country and culminates with a new criterium in downtown Hood River.

2009 STAGES:
Panorama Point Prologue - Wednesday, June 3*
*Pro/1/2 Women, Pro/1/2 Men only
Stage 1: Cooper Spur Circuit Race - Thurs., June 4
Stage 2: Scenic Gorge Time Trial - Friday, June 5
Stage 3: Wy’East Road Race - Saturday, June 6
Stage 4: Hood River Criterium - Sunday, June 7

Not only is the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic a great chance for people to see a world-class race in their Pacific Northwest backyard, but cyclists of all ages and abilities can also get in on the action. New this year is the Tour de Hood, which runs June 6-7. This event offers recreational riders and the general public the chance to ride two of the same courses that challenge elite racers in the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic stage race: the legendary Wy’East professional course (90 miles) and the Scenic Gorge Time Trial course (42 miles). Riders can go at their own pace and receive full mechanical support, plus food and drinks, along the route. For complete information and registration, go to

Kicking off the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic on Sunday, May 31 is the Second Annual Mt. Hood Cycling Classic Kid's Race, presented by Mid Columbia Medical Center, in downtown The Dalles. Young riders from training wheels to 12 years old will take part in this fun criterium race. Registration opens at 1 p.m. on race day; the race begins at 3 p.m. The event is free. Free bike check and helmet fits will be provided and any child that does not have a helmet will be given one free by the MCMC trauma nurses.

The Mt. Hood Cycling Classic is open to amateur racers. Riders can register online or via mail. Standard registration ends May 20 at midnight. Riders registering after May 20 will pay an additional $25 and can register up to midnight on June 1.

* Pro/1/2 Men
* Masters Men 35+/45+
* Pro/1/2/3 Women
* CAT 3 Men
* CAT 4 Men
* CAT 3/4 Women

Burns, Hopper claim Monday Night PIR opening round

Record rainfall washed over Portland International Raceway May 4 for the opening round of the River City Bicycles Monday Night Race Series. The rain dampened turnout but not the enthusiasm of the hearty souls who braved the torrent and kicked off the series' 13th season.

Most nights will include separate races for Novice Women, an Open Women's category for any age and ability, Novice Masters Men (30+) and two categories dividing Masters Men Cat. 1/2/3/4/5. But two groups sufficed Monday night. Novice Men and Novice Women raced together, and the Masters Men were paired with the Women, although groups were scored separately.

In the Open Women's race, Veloce/Felt's Beth Burns won the night with 15 points. Ironclad's Kira Crawford finished second with 12, and Hammer Velo's Lindsay Kandra was third with 10 points. Veloforma's Susan Peithman flatted out of the race (pictured above, photo courtesy of Russell Cree). The Masters 1/2/3 race saw David Hopper (NoMad Sports) finish first with 15 points. Karsten Hagen (ZteaM) was second with 12. Ironclad's Mark Crawford finished third with 10 points.

Hagen submitted this special report to the Cycling Action Storm Center:
Hagen News Service
May 4, 2009. No Po, Oregon

A small crowd gathered in a shivering huddle around the OBRA tent at PIR on Monday night. Many questioned their sanity, but all were united in a sort of perverse pride and sense of community. These people not only braved Oregon’s most miserable day of the year to race, they were actually having a good time doing it.

Races were shortened, fields were combined, jackets were wrung out, but the race went on. Such a good time in fact that, during the 5th lap of the combined men’s 123/34/ women123/migrating geese race, the entire field launched into a rapturous yell in the face of a crescendo of rain, wind and goose poop that would prove to be the worst conflagration of the elements Candi Murray had ever witnessed at a PIR.

The action began slowly in the combined race at 6:40. The rain and wind were initially so terrible that the combined group of cat 2, 3 and 4 men and women seemed unsure of their bearings, despite the fact that all were veterans of the worst weather Oregon can dish out. Despite this, the field found their bearings by the 2nd lap and the attacks began.

David Hopper was the night’s strongman, continually launching attacks, meeting and matching counterattacks and causing general havoc in the field. When Karsten Hagen was finally able to break free with 4.5 laps to go, he was not surprised to find Hopper charging up to him in a strong bridge effort.

"That Nomads dude came right up to me and pretty much hammered me into the ground when he caught me," said a shivering and goose-crap encrusted Hagen in a self-interview in his team car after the race. "My legs were totally shot from Estacada the day before and being over-trained in general, and this guy showed absolutely no mercy."

The pair managed to put quick distance on the field, setting a steady tempo despite weather that alternated between brilliant sunshine, tomb-like darkness and horizontal rain. The leading pair engaged in a bit of cat and mouse at the finish before Hopper crushed Hagen in a two-up sprint.

The field sprint was won by Mark Crawford in a jumble of yellow and black.
The River City Bicycles Monday Night Race Series continues through Aug. 31. Entry fee is $13 for women and master men, $5 for women under 18. Top racers win gift certificates from River City Bicycles each night and for the monthly series. Consistent riders in all categories for the season will have a chance to win a Showers Pass jacket.

The series will expand its efforts to reach out to new racers with clinics focused on the basics of how to get started racing. Kendra Wenzel of Wenzel Coaching and Russell Cree of Upper Echelon Fitness will oversee the clinics, which will run approximately 30 minutes before and after each race.

6:15pm Novice Masters Men (age 30+)
6:20pm Novice Women (any age)
6:35pm Open Women (Category 1/2/3/4)
6:43pm Masters Men 30+ (Category 1/2/3)
6:45pm Masters Men 30+ (Category 4/5)

May 4 Results
Novice Men
1. Fitzgerald, Jamie 15
2. Brian, Echerer 12
3. Christen, Rick 10
Novice Women
1. Hartgerink, Anne 15
2. Heathman, Lisa 12
3. Lane, Lori 10
Masters Men 4/5
1. Van Dusen, Ryan (Unattached) 15
2. Aldersebaes, Dave (Ironclad Performance Wear) 12
3. Emerson, Mike 10
Women 1/2/3/4
1. Burns, Beth (Veloce/Felt) 15
2. Crawford, Kira (Ironclad Performance Wear) 12
3. Kandra, Lindsay (Hammer Velo) 10
Masters Men 1/2/3
1. Hopper, David (NoMad Sports Club) 15
2. Hagen, Karsten (ZteaM) 12
3. Crawford, Mark (Ironclad Performance Wear) 10

Tour of the Gila: A painful, star-studded homecoming

(Recent Portland transplant Josh Liberles writes for and edits the website and races for the Ten Speed Drive elite cycling team. Liberles recently contested New Mexico's Tour of the Gila with its celebrity peleton. He sent Cycling Action this report).

SILVER CITY, New Mexico -- This year's Tour of the Gila was a bit of a homecoming for me. Although I've never lived in Silver City, I spent the better part of the past seven years split between Taos and Albuquerque, New Mexico, before arriving in Portland this past fall. The Gila is where I cut my racing teeth, and this year marked my fifth consecutive edition.

The eclectic mining town of Silver City blends the stunning Gila wilderness with blue collar salt of the earth, outdoor enthusiasts, a growing artist and gallery community, and some folks who manage to blend several of those aspects. Somehow it all works and dodges the priciness and pretension of other southwest mountain escapes like Santa Fe. And, once per year, it hosts one of the coolest bike races in the country.

I've competed in the Gila as a Cat 3, 2, and 1. It's a breeding ground for dominant racers to come at all levels, with the 3's race affectionately dubbed the "Cat 2 world championship." My first year I watched Tom Zirbel power his huge-for-a-cyclist body up and over mountains and past all challengers; and Scott Nydam show glimmers of his still untapped potential. The next year, in the 2's race, it was another larger than life rider, Taylor Phinney, who after five days of tremendous mountain racing lost his leader's jersey in a dead tie on the final day, with finishing order on the final stage determining the overall. This after Phinney took 2nd in the time trial, overspinning his junior gears all the way down the four-mile descent to the finish.

Of course the Pro/1 ranks are always rife with stage race superstars – Jeannie Longo, Jane Gagne, Scott Moninger, Bart Bowen, Jonathan Vaughters, Burke Swindlehurst, Kristin Armstrong and Mara Abbott. But 2009 raised the bar with the best field ever – Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Floyd Landis and Chris Horner.

With the celebrity riders came unprecedented coverage. Satellite trucks were feeding the images around the world while mainstream media such as Sports Illustrated, ESPN, and even the New York Times featured daily articles about the race. Thousands of additional spectators made the trip for the time trial, criterium, and Gila Monster finale road race. Little Silver City and the Tour of the Gila, which almost didn't happen this year for lack of sponsorship dollars, was on the map.

My own race was less glamorous. My body went into full revolt at altitude and I just wasn't putting out the power. I was forced to race conservatively just to make it to the next stage and wanted to quit several times – most notably in the crit where I died 1,000 deaths to remain attached to the strung-out pack.

Somehow I kept making it through "one more stage" until it was me vs. Gila Monster. I fell off the pace of the lead group on the first serious, Category 2 climb about 53 miles into the stage, but actually pulled myself together and was feeling pretty good on the final 20-mile twisty stretch to the finishing climb up and over Sapillo. This year, just finishing was an accomplishment: Dead-center, in 84th of 168 starters... with only 104 finishers.

Other Oregonians fared much better. When Levi Leipheimer rolled a tubular while attacking through corner two with less than two laps to go in the criterium, causing most of the peloton to skid to a stop or crash, Roman Van Uden (Land Rover/Orbea) capitalized on the situation and took the win in front of speedster sprinter Lucas Haedo. Evan Elken raised the Land Rover/Orbea banner again on the final stage, rolling in a ten-man break that went early in the race and survived until the grueling Category 1 Cliff Dwellings climb some 80 miles into the race. And Chrissy Ruiter of Bend had consistently excellent days in the saddle to take 6th in the overall in the Pro Women's race. Her Value Act Capital teammates Leah Goldstein and Robin Farina claimed 5th and 7th – good enough to win the overall team GC prize.

(Photos courtesy of Gay Fayhee).

Monday, May 4, 2009

Tandems ramp up in May for Northwest racing scene

May is a big month for the big bikes with eight tandem events around the Northwest. Tandem teams kicked off the month at the third installment of the Estacada Time Trial series along the Clackamas River.

Roadies and knobby-tired folks can share in the fun May 10 with the Cascade Chainbreaker in Bend or the Icebreaker Criterium, held in the same Eugene industrial park used by the Co-Motion Tandem Stage Race criterium.

"(Cascade Chainbreaker) is held on private land on some great, west-side trails that are not normally open to the public," according to Northwest Tandem Racing. "Tandems will do two laps (1 lap = about 11 miles). The race is mainly single and double track, often dusty, and is frequented by local pros Carl Decker, Ryan Trebon and Adam Craig."

New for 2009, tandems will tackle two laps of the 17-mile Silverton Road Race course May 17.

"This could be the most challenging, and rewarding one day tandem race of 2009," according to Northwest Tandem Racing.

The challenging OBRA Rehearsal Road Race in Rainier follows the next Sunday, May 23.

Ultra-endurance tandem teams get the chance to test their mettle May 23 with the Lewis and Clark Ultra Time Trial in Vancouver, Washington, or the 12 Hours of Weaverville in Weaverville, California. Tandem teams that head for Weaverville can also race the downhill competition the next day.

That provides plenty of options for doubling the fun in May. Check for more information.

(Photo courtesy of Henry Abel)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Decker, Pennington take Mudslinger/OBRA XC Champs

(Photos courtesy of Oregon Velo.)

BLODGETT, Ore. -- OBRA racers flocked to Blodgett for the 2009 21st Mudslinger Sunday. This year's race marked the return of the Oregon State Championships for cross country as well as the fourth stop in the Oregon XC Series.

Carl Decker (Giant) became the first rider to win two Pro Men's series races this year with a close-but-decisive victory, and he did it on his singlespeed.

Veloforma's Alice Pennington (pictured) scooped the win and the championship from Sue Butler (MonaVie-Cannondale) in the Pro Women's race.

The win marked Pennington's second year in a row on top of the Mudslinger podium. The duo continued their battle from the week before at Bear Springs Trap on Mount Hood, where Butler snagged the win in the snow. This time Pennington came out on top, covering the course in 2 hours, 7 minutes and 56 seconds and proving she's still a force to be reckoned with. Butler finished more than three minutes later. Karen DeWolf of Team Dirt was third at 02:16:23, and Tina Brubaker (Veloforma) was fourth, nearly six minutes later.

The win gives Pennington a solid lead in the Oregon MTB XC Series ahead of Butler, Stephanie Blasi and Sami Founier.

The Pro Men began with a gradual climb to the top of Supertree trail. Shannon Skerrit (Gary Fisher/Bike Gallery) jumped early with Evan Plews (Capitol Subaru/ScottUSA) also eager to test his legs on the climb. Plews quickly dispatched Skerrit but was unable to open a definitive gap on a chase group of four, including Decker, Sean Babcock (Team S&M), Erik Tonkin (Kona) and James Williams (Cannondale). The quartet entered the first section of trail on Plews' wheel.

The group rode together with each rider taking turns at the front until they reached the stair-step climbs near the top of the course. Williams was the first to crack while Decker (pictured) and Plews forged ahead with Babcock just behind and Tonkin dangling by a few seconds. Plews opened another gap but was contained by Babcock at the end of the Collarbone Alley section.

Plews pushed the pace as the group completed Panama Canal trail and the end of the first lap, attacking the front again as the quartet began the climb back to the top of the course. That's when Decker countered and put the other three into trouble. Plews was the first to drop with Tonkin next and then Babcock after last Sunday's Bear Spring Trap winner made a valiant effort to hold on. Babcock never quit fighting and re-joined Decker as the singletrack trails began.

Near the top of the course Plews battled back ahead of Tonkin and closed to within seconds of the leaders only to lose time on the Root Down section. Tonkin rallied and was able to dipatch Plews when the Capitol Subaru rider stopped to pick up tools he'd lost on the first lap. Tonkin closed the gap on the leaders during the slog through the now-eviscerated Panama Canal and then dropped Babcock as he caught Decker on the rolling gravel road to the finish. Only then did the championship slip away from the Kona strongman as Decker rebounded and sprinted ahead for victory.

Decker covered the 24-mile course in 1 hour, 40 minutes and 37 seconds, with Tonkin trailing just 16 seconds behind. Babcock finished third less than a minute later, while Plews rolled in for fourth at 1:43:40. Williams rounded out the top five, crossing the line 4 minutes and 8 seconds after Plews.

The Mudslinger win gives Decker a boost in the Pro Men's series. Plews, Williams and Babcock came into the Mudslinger tied for the overall lead with 60 points. Spencer Paxon (S&M) followed with 40. Tonkin had 35 and Decker had 30.

The next race in the Oregon MTB XC series is the Cascade Chainbreaker May 10 in Bend.

Armstrong, Horner and the Big O, oh my!

The Oregonian's website may have seen a spike in traffic this morning when Lance Armstrong's 770,000+ Twitter followers got a message from the seven-time Tour de France winner to check out Astana teammate and Bend resident Chris Horner's Tour of the Gila race report on OregonLive.

From Horner's report:
"I can't say how excited I am to be starting the Giro next Saturday in Italy. I feel like we are going to take the excellent motivation and momentum that we are gaining this week over with us to Europe. With how strong our three-man team has been, I can't wait to see what a full nine-man squad can do when we meet up with the rest of our Astana teammates in Italy."
Check out the rest HERE.