Outdoors

Oregon’s Cyclocross Culture

written and photographed by Rob Kerr 


The sport of cyclocross thrives when weather turns tough. And when a typhoon-driven storm hit the state on the weekend of October 15-16, racers in Cascade Locks thrived in the bad weather that drove others to seek the comfort of home.

Cyclocross is a cycling event where competitors race bicycles in a mass start over mixed surfaces, in a timed event on a closed course. Navigating poor traction, bumps, steep hills and often dismounting and carrying the bicycle are all parts of the aerobically strenuous event. Racing conditions are best when the weather is horrible. There are many categories, and each race is between thirty minutes to an hour long. The sport has its roots in Europe, with Belgium being a particularly hallowed ground for its bad weather, rambunctious crowds and lots of beer.

Fans and the curious can catch some of the fun in Bend over the Halloween weekend when competitors wear costumes. This season’s wet weather has been excellent training for the big event—Portland is hosting the 2016 Singlespeed Cyclocross World Championships at Kruger’s Farm on Sauvie Island over the weekend of December 3-4. This event bring together competitors from around the world who compete using bicycles with only one gear and lots of craziness.

 

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