Wednesday, February 07, 2007

2k7 Season Preview!!!

Alright, here’s my effort to start a little news/gossip/ rumors blog for Oregon bike racing. I mostly want to cover who’s riding fast ,winning races, joining new teams etc. I’ll probably focus on Men’s Cat. 1/ 2 racing because it’s what I do. I’m sure some 15 year-old Cat. 3 will be out there burning it up so I’ll cover that as well. Masters and women’s stuff will probably pop up once in a while.

Anyway, Cherry Pie is coming up. Our classic Oregon season opener is on a new course this year. Northwest of Albany, the profile looks to include quite a bit more climbing than the old one. The biggest difference looks to be the finish, which comes at the top of a 2k climb with some sections nearing 10%. I guess the organizers, Jim Fischer and the EWEB team are taking it over this year, decided to give the Lifeflight crew a break this season. Those Cat 3/4/5 sprint finishes on the old course were almost guaranteed carnage. Hey, you gotta learn the advantages of a breakaway one way or another.

The fast guys are still apparently really fast. Evan Elken is back on the Jittery Joe’s roster, though Craig Wilcox is no longer on it.

Doug Ollerenshaw, aka “the bum guy”, goes into his 3rd year with HealthNet, maybe he’ll get some opportunities now that the all-powerful team has lost the stage race contenders they had a monopoly on for the past couple of years. Doug’s 2006 campaign was derailed by wrecks in exotic locales: Paris, Australia, aahhhh the glamorous life of a pro. Hope Doug keeps the rubber on the road and has a breakout year.

Seeing Omer Kem on a bike, one would not think pro bike racer. He would probably agree that “cut” is not the adjective to describe his physique. But “fast” is the way to describe his riding. He’s the Oregon State RR champ. If his blog is accurate he also trains harder than anyone out there. After a guest rider stint last summer he officially signed with the Priority Health team. He will be riding a sweet Pinarello on a legit Pro team, congrats. Ask him for stories about last year’s Monex squad.

Speaking of Priority Health, they also signed former Broadmark rider Morgan Schmitt. He’s been tearing it up in the old world as a member of the U23 national cyclocross team. Last year he got 4th at the Mount Hood Cooper Spur Circuit race and Best Young rider at Tour de Nez. He is young and can win in the mountains and in crits.

Hagens-Berman Cycling(formerly Broadmark)
Broadmark continues to expand south from Seattle and continues to establish itself as the northwest’s top group of amateurs. They’ve actually got a new title sponsor in Hagens-Berman LLC. Andy Fischer will continue to ride incredibly consistently. Corvallis based Alex Newport-Berra is my pick to be the next breakout Oregon rider. His 2006 was derailed by giardia, an illness you get from eating poop, seriously. But I have never seen anyone climb like he can. Once he got going last year he wasted Doug in the Mary’s Peak HC. He’s got a huge engine and is tagging along with the Hagens-Berman Elite squad. I’ll bet dollars to donuts he gets top-10 at Hood.

Former wonderkid Solomon Woras will also continue with HB. He’s back in school so will be focusing a little less on racing, for Solomon this means being on the bike by 6 AM instead of 5. His motor is still huge. He will get some wins.

HB also has Ian Boswell riding as a Cat. 3. He’s like 15 and almost beat Alex in the 2005 state hillclimb. He’s won junior national championships. You’ll be hearing his name a lot in the next couple years.

Adam Curry is due stateside this spring. His weight will be the primary topic of discussion for most every HB training ride until he gets here. Let’s put the over under at 175 and start up the betting pool. Once he’s race fit he’ll win every sprint in Oregon. The LWV crew a has always got some surprises.

CMG looks to be the strongest Oregon based team. Donald Reeb will be the loudest guy on the team. Seth Hosmer is fast. He can time-trial and climb. Mikkel is the reigning state crit champ. He’s young and getting faster. He also got picked for a ride with the U23 national track team.

Zach Winter has more untapped potential than probably any rider in Oregon. He could sit on the couch for a month and then go top-10 in an OBRA road race. Word is, he’s joining CMG. If he bothers to train consistently, watch out.

The Hutch’s guys in Eugene are not getting any younger, that won’t stop them from getting some results. Nick Skenzick looks strong and usually comes on for the August crits. Maybe 2007 is the year he takes the state crit champ. Paul Bourcier is, if nothing else, tenacious. He’ll be biting at the ankles of any and every breakaway all year long. Dan Vrijmoet is old. He is also riding fairly well. Watch him get some good early season results.

Therapeutic Associates
I’ve heard Therapeutic Associates is getting a big push and will be more visible in the Oregon peloton this year. Someone should send me the details.

Mid-town Cycling got started in Eugene last year and will be around. If Dave Roth gets at it he will see some top-5’s. When will Galen get his Cat.2 upgrade?

How could I forget Rubicon!? Is Norrene going to load up her basement with Kiwis again? 2 words for the guys in orange this year: Dan Harm.

The Wild Cards
-Aaron Sander is super strong and does well even though HFV doesn’t have a huge 1/2 team.
-Steve Holland is an old stubborn SOB and he wins races.
-The Etna guys are fast, especially Reny.
-Is Russell Stevenson still in the house? He moved to Portland but never came into top form last year.
-Watch out for Bike Gallery if Skerritt shows up.

Wrapping things up, here’s my picks for Cherry Pie. Watch out for the HB guys, the climb will suit Alex. Andy knows how to get wins. Of course, Evan won last year, him and Doug tend to dictate the entire race. My choice though is the old guys: Steve Holland, Vrijmoet, and Washington’s Valley Athletic guys tend to do well in these early races. Watch for a guy over 35 to surprise you.

Oh yeah, Aaron Olsen is still racing in Europe for a team that wears all pink. It’s sponsored by cell-phones or something and used to have a bunch of German guys.


kemtone said...

Watch Omer Kem in the Tour of California. It will be the first race of the season.

yank said...

watch Rubicon at St. Patrick's Day. It will be the first drinking race of the season.

toomuch said...

I think donald reeb will eat the cherry pie. we al know that he is hungry. just look at his fat legs. he sure is the loudest. hopefull he doesn't end up in the ditch. he sure loves pie. it will be an intesting race.

jza said...

The only way Donald will get any pie is if it's given to him by somebody who wins it. I don't doubt that he's hungry, I just don't think he'll make it up that last climb.

I probably jinxed it now. New pick: The Donald. Solo.

toomuch said...

hey, furburgers or pink tacos, are those given as prizes thats what reeb lives for. he might have pubes comming out of his teeth by the end.

Anonymous said...

Even if the Donald flosses with short curlies, he can make it up a climb. Don't forget who came in second to Elken at King's Valley last year...