Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Check it suckaz!! It's a Y2k8 Season Preview. (Part 1 - OREGON ONLY!)

So, the 2008 race season will be here faster than we can say "not so hard, I'm just doing base miles", I'm sort of in the typing mood and I've resisted the overwhelming urge to pawn off all my bike stuff and buy season tickets for the Blazers. I guess we start things off with the much-anticipated end-all be-all season preview.

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 sandbagging racing the 3's for the past couple of years and are ready to upgrade.

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.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Kickin' off the 8-ball!

Once again, the year has ticked over. The sport in which participants actually carry their bikes, through the mud no less, has moved back to the dark heart of Europe (where it belongs). Us road racers are now engaging in our true favorite pastime: waiting for a break in the goddamn rain so we can go out and ride for three hours. Coaches call this "base miles".

VeloNews has published their definitive list of domestic pro teams and their rosters.

Aaron Tuckerman is back at the bottom of the world and showing off his shiny new Jelly Belly kit.

The biggest surprise on the VeloNews list is the addition of Eugene's own Kevin Selker to the Toyota roster. Kevin won the State Champ RR in 2003, when he was barely old enough to vote, and has recently been tearing it up on the track at U of Colorado in Boulder. I hadn't seen too many road results out of him lately, but the Toyota boys must want to lock up some good young talent.

Omer Kem and Morgan Schmitt are still holding it down at Bissell. Aaron Olson has officially joined their party.

Chad Hartley and Evan Elken are reunited on the other bean team at Jittery Joe's.

And finally, Doug Ollerenshaw will have some stories to tell at the end of this season. An outspoken owner and some teammates with, shall we say, dubious records will keep his season very interesting. Let's hope for his sake the hype dies down and the Rock Racing crew is making the right kind of headlines when the rubber hits the road.

Stay Dry.