Skip to main content.
Bikes. Parts. Chaos.

I'm back safe and sound from the Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships in Estacada, OR where Dani Dance put on an impressive inaugural event. Apparently some unfriendly people refer to the fine town as inceste-cada, but after visiting the fine spot and seeing all it had to offer, I think that's just mean. Friday It was snowing when I left Minnesota. No matter the time of year, arriving in Portland is a bit like entering the rainforest. The air wet and green and trees everywhere. I put my bike together and rode around town. First day out and I saw an old 1x1 Rat Ride! The guy was flying down to the bridge as I was going up and I couldn't catch him, but I was stoked. Saturday I picked up my friend Sky and we headed east. The drive out to Estacada reminded me of the wet back roads outside of Eugene, OR, where I went to college. In Minnesota, most of the ‘cross races are just off the highway in a public park. However, when your races regularly draw up to 1,000 people like the Cross Crusade races do, you have to get a bit more creative in searching for a venue. The truck I was borrowing for the weekend was set up with a GPS unit that proved an excellent replacement for my lack of navigation skills. The winding roads leading out to Estacada confused the English lady trapped inside, so she kept instructing me to turn left and right as the road meandered. Her favorite phrase of the weekend was, “Please do a U-turn if possible, now.” And despite instructing me to exit and then immediately reenter the same freeway, we became fast friends. No one knew quite what to expect from this inaugural event, except that we would be qualifying for Sunday's main race. I soon discovered that I would be 5th rolling down the time trial start ramp, so I rode a quick loop of the course before getting ready to start. The course was long and mostly grass with a short paved section and two rideable-when-dry hills. My qualifying lap lasted all of 10 min and then I was done for the day, free to drink and watch the rest of the pack attempt to make it to the next day. I soon found out that all of the ladies qualified. Yea. The fellas who hadn't qualified were able to do some stupid human tricks. Apparently the six pack hopping the organizers referred to before the race was in fact a six-pack of barriers not a six-pack of beer. This advertised six-pack was downgraded to a two-pack, because who the hell can bunny hop six barriers? I watched people attempt to hop two barriers and nearly destroy their bodies and bikes in the process. That night we met up with the day's racers at a bar near Sky's house for a “Falconers Club Benefit”. We found a foosball table and Sky and I organized a tournament. I grew up with a ping-pong table in my basement, so that's about the only bar/basement sport I can get real competitive at. When I'm sober I play pool, darts and foosball worse than a small child on crank. After about three drinks I start to get unnaturally good until I get bad. So, I immediately lost to some fast SS woman who grew up with a foosball table in her basement. Sky teamed up with a former corporate lawyer who'd made us waffles earlier in the day at the race (mine was topped with Nutella and peanut butter). They kicked everyone's ass. Later, as we got ready to ride to a different bar, I quickly took Sky to the ground in our 2-person derby. Then Sky showed off his trials skills by crashing no fewer than 3 times in the short ride to the next bar. The guy sure likes to jump off stuff. Sunday The championship race wasn't until 3pm on Sunday, so we woke up early enough to hit the Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show. Held in a small, circular room at the Forestry Center, the 20 or so frame builders drew a sizable crowd. The number of people in Portland buying and riding custom frames is incredible. My favorite bike of the show was Joseph Aherne's fire road beast, a load-carrying 29er set up with drop bars. There were over a thousand racers and spectators when we arrived back in Estacada on Sunday. I really didn't want to race, but was soon convinced by those around me that I couldn't very well travel all of this way and sit by the sidelines. I chatted with the folks I'd met the day before and watched Nat from Seattle show off his perfected fixed gear dismounting skills. No flying dismount for him, as he somehow dismounted exactly the same way that the freewheelers do. Impressive. Officials methodically organized the men and women's starts, calling up each racer by name to the line based on how quickly they'd done the TT lap the day before. Women were organized into three rows. Then someone yelled, “Turn your bikes around!” and everyone craned their necks around searching, thinking that perhaps we were posing for a group shot. Smiling for the camera? As the reverse-order start became clear, the new back-of-the-pack men bum-rushed the front for a “good” spot, while those sitting pretty in the new front row calmly finished drinking their beers. The men went off and we started a few minutes behind. I heard someone mention a Tequila shortcut and I made a mental note to watch out for it. I got there and retrieved my Dixie cup of cheap hooch and was promptly beaned by the preteens manning the dodge ball station. One kid faked me out and when I obediently made my best squinty-eyed bracing for impact face, the other one nailed me in the wheel. Bastards. As hard as I tried to drink during the race, the combination of pre-drinking and mid-race tequila shot made for a few second delay in my vision. Beer, dollar bills and more questionable offerings were to be had on the mud-slick hill, but apparently I was trying too hard to actually get up the hill. I would have happily stopped to drink a cold beer had someone actually placed one in my hand, but I only actually registered that there was beer to be had a few seconds after I passed it. Then it was over and some people won. One of the winners started throwing his prizes into the crows…t-shirt, chuck. Socks, check. He looked down for a moment at the Chris King headset in his hand and chucked that into the crowd as well. I like that. After prizes (where I won a suitcase for being the person from the farthest away who was paying attention when the prize was announced), we headed over to the local monstrosity known at the Safari Bar, a NASCAR-loving Chinese restaurant with a frightening collection of polar bears and cheetahs that put any northern Minnesota hunting lodge to shame. Thanks Portland. -----