Right off the bat, the biggest Oregon related shake-up is happening over in the CMG/Alpine Mortgage Camp. These guys have been stockpiling so many big guns, it's a wonder that Hans Blix hasn't been sent over to investigate. Chris Hamilton is the most surprising name to offer the spearmint soldiers some help they don't really need. They've also rounded up some of the strongest young legs around, luring Jacob Rathe (ex-BBC) and Marcel DeLisser(did I spell that right?) from Kent Johnston's Fred Meyer team and Ian Boswell from Hagens-Berman. Oh yeah, and is Chris Sheppard going to be sporting the colors this spring, sheesh.
So the CMG squad would appear to be the Donald, Seth, Chris H, Chris S, Jacob, Marcel, Coker and Richard? Damn. Oh yeah, and Quinn Keough, who had a rippin' first season in the 1/2's. If his attack near the end of Stage 5 of the Cascade Classic (the race's hardest day) is any indication of things to come, 2008 will be a big year.
Apparently Steven Beardsley was told there was no room at the CMG Inn rather late in the team finding season. He was none too pleased, yet found a cozy home and new color scheme for his blog with............
The Gentle Lovers! Yay! Portland's best looking team will be straight up representing this year with a strong 1/2 squad. While Mark Blackwelder was flyin' solo last year, he finally managed to get Tony Kic (re)upgraded while adding Steven and Dan Watson, who raced for Hagens-Berman the past couple of years but didn't seem to show his face too much. I'm pretty sure there's a couple others who have been
Marcroft Cycles, Brian's eponymous bike company will be fielding a team this year. Brian's fielding a road team featuring himself, Mick Walsh, Damian Schmitt and Doug Wilmes on the road. With Kurt Haas rocking the SSMTB. And their kits look great.
Rubicon has lost some familiar faces to fairer fields, but will have plenty of horses come April. Only time will tell if they're able to pull off the killer teamwork that saw them win pretty much any local race they wanted. Brad Paine will be back killin' the sprints, and Logan will be doing the all-around tough guy thing (homie might look big, but he can get up a hill). Looks like they added Carson Miller as well.
Kirk's riding for VMG, who will go to a bunch of big races all over the place. Tuckerman signed with Jelly Belly, so at least he won't be here giving hell at every Tabor race.
Therapeutic Associates will field a similar team to last year, only faster.
I see plenty of Veloce kits around town, they'll be racin'.
Aside from Selker poppin up on Toyota's roster, the scene in Eugene remains the same. If Mark Collard is still in town, watch for a Paul's jersey neart the top of the 1/2 results. Midtown and Hutch's will try and keep Tuesday nights interesting.
New stage race - Ominously just titled Wiillamette on the OBRA schedule. Sal's doing it. He said the courses should be up soon. He won't send them to me early.
(oooh, ooh! Site just went up! First impressions: short prologue(!), race near Alsea (40-some miles seems kind of short), crit sounds like the old Celebration course(!), Wolf Creek queen stage(!!!) Not a lot of racing for a four day event, but creative courses and lack of a long tt(!!!!) should make this a fun one.)
Everyone's discussed 'Hood to death. The stages in Portland will be sweet.
Elkhorn has the old (and much better) first stage back.
There's some new crits and road races on the schedule, more on that as events develop.