Well, the days are getting short, the nights are getting cold and the legs are getting slower and slower. Yes, the season is over (almost) and the impenetrable depression that is winter in the northwest will soon be upon us. Rain will be measured in gallons and high-end road bikes will sit shamefully in closets mocking our spandex clad dalliances with glory that is the road racing season.
On the up side, my beer consumption is up, my sleeping in is way up and hopefully the bank account will soon recover from the strain of race fees piled on top of gas money piled on top of parts and tires and stuff.
It’s been a while since I’ve written, but the racing and drama really cools off as August ends, so hopefully this won’t be too long.
The Portland Twilight Crit was a huge party, as expected. Unfortunately, a hometown boy couldn’t nabbed the win but Doug O. brought up the back end of a HealthNet 1-2 while Chad Hartley(BMC) was breathin’ down his neck for 3rd. The course was SHORT, it seemed like the front of the strung out field would lap the back, but there were enough wrecks to really break things up. It seemed like the officials were pretty generous about putting riders back in the front group after a mishap, it probably ended up being easier to move up by wrecking than actually trying to close a gap. All in all, there were thousands of people out to watch us chase around after a big payday in the streets of our fair city. I wish it could happen every week.
Eugene Celebration Stage Race went down on a beautiful Labor Day weekend. Orion Berryman(MidTown) defended his home turf with a big win in the Stage 1 Maxon RR. The TT was mercifully short and had little effect on the GC, Sean Passage(Therapeutic Associates) took the win in one of his first ½ races. Young’en Carson Miller(Fred Meyer) capped off a successful season with a crit win while Marc Collard(Paul’s BWOL) took the Wolf Creek RR and the overall.
Some may remember Marc from when he won the 2004 Celebration overall. The 2004 Collegiate RR champ, he was gearing up for a 2005 campaign with Webcor, who had been tearing up the pro ranks with Chris Horner, but had some holes to fill as he left for Europe after the ’04 season. After 2005, Webcor folded (well, their men’s team did) and I imagine Marc went back to school, I think he said he was working on a Masters’ or Ph.D or somethin’. Apparently he’s landed back in Eugene, and he’s got a big motor, it shouldn’t be a surprise when he wins.
Dave Zimbleman(Z-Team) showed how to go strong all season long. He had some great results at the Banana Belts in March, and won the OBRA Hillclimb Champ’s in September. He put the beatdown on Carson Miller, who is young enough to be his grandson. Chalk one up to experience.
Molly Cameron(Veloshop) stormed to a nice win at Kruger’s Kermesse. The logical transition race from road to ‘cross had a solid local field as Doug and Shannon Skerritt(Vanilla) pulled in next. The infamous Zach Winter(Captiol Subaru) was also in attendance and showing he’s fit as ever, 5th despite a crash.
One last Crit on the schedule to round out the road season, the Sunset Crit in scenic Bethany Village is coming up on Saturday the 22nd. There’s actually a pretty good payday ($850 – 10 deep) and I imagine there’s plenty of fast riders coming into form for ‘cross. Look for guys named Skerritt, Reeb and Winter to make it interesting.
Well, cross might be heating up, but that’s another column, some other time. What really matters is what’s happening on the road next year.
It sounds like we can expect three solid, Oregon based teams in the Men’s field next year. CMG, Therapeutic Associates and Guinness were all making strong showings as the season wound down. Look for the latter two teams to show off some newly upgraded riders while CMG is apparently picking up even more firepower.
Hagens-Berman kind of fizzled out as Solomon moved back up north (he’ll be back in Portland for cross though) and Andy Fischer focused on the NRC. Their elite team lost Michael Grabinger to the pro ranks before March was out. A couple other elite team riders got bit by the burnout bug gave up the glamorous life of amateur on the NRC circuit. Watch for them to put the focus back on the Washington based riders. It will be interesting to see what happens to the club that’s been the Northwest’s pro factory for almost 10 years now.
Doug’s rollin’ the Escalade next year, is he gonna get a new wardrobe to match? Word is Rock Racing is landing the likes of Horner, Rodriguez and Creed. The owner guy is a bajillionaire former cyclist and Frankie Andreu is gonna be DS. Very interesting.
Sounds like Evan Elken is still with Jittery Joe’s and Chad Hartley might be back in orange as well.
Aaron Olson is apparently going to be stateside next season, I have no idea where.
Next, end of season awards. Watch out.