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Singlespeed adventures

Rhonda 2017 race reports

Corn Cross

Singlespeed racing is always an adventure – epic courses with only one gear and disappointments when mechanicals affect the race. My season started with Corn Cross in Boring, Ore., a fast and hard race that includes dodging fallen corn husks (they hurt) through a maze, a steep, oh-my-god downhill and enough hard, bumpy turf to loosen fillings.

Corn Cross 2017

With a bit of a slow start trying to get into the pedal, I chased another rider for a bit, but over took her after the first lap or so. After that it was chasing down racers in the men’s field. At one point I grabbed hold of a metal barrier with the intent of swinging myself around the corner, but the barrier wasn’t secured to the ground and it toppled over barely missing the male rider next to me. “Sorry about that,” I blurted, while he was probably quite irritated with me.

The flyover on this is a huge wooden U-shaped monstrosity that is one-part scary and one-part fun. Each time I had to remind myself to breathe while sailing over it – never clipped in of course.

I took the win this day and enjoyed the fabulous prizes they always give at Corn Cross. Thank you City of Sandy. You all do a fabulous job.

Zaaldercross

This one will be short. Had a descent start, top 5, and about 1 minute into the race on the first uphill my chain drops. On a singlespeed! Game over. Fortunately I was able to get it back on, but that in itself told me it would likely happen again. SS chains aren’t supposed to come off and certainly you shouldn’t be able to put it back on if it’s correctly aligned and tight.

I chased the rest of the race. No pressure, just clean out the pipes. Tough parts to this course, but it also had some great flowing parts. There were a couple of corners I never figured out. One was where you came in at an angle for a 90 degree turn up a small hill. Soft sand usually put me in the bushes. Turns out it was faster to run it.

There was an uphill section that could easily be done with a geared bike, but not a SS, at least not for me. I did see a SS racer ahead of me who remounted and took the second half of it. Impressive.

Dropped the chain a second time on the same darn hill just after passing a racer. Got it back on again and was able to re-catch her after the sand pit. There were two back-to-back pits (volleyball sand) – one was rideable, the other not. I love sand!

Managed to catch and pass two or three competitors in poor air quality. The Gorge was on fire with the Eagle Creek burning and on this day and the smoke was particularly choking. Probably took a year or two off my life.

Battle at Barlow

Haven’t done this one in years, despite that fact that it is four miles from my house. It hasn’t been one of my favorite races before this day. We’d had several days of race and several dry days leading up to the race, so the ground was less bumpy then in the past. There have also been years when it was an absolute mud swamp and not even worth the trouble. Google pictures of a few years ago to see what I mean.

On September 24 the sun was out and the ground was tacky. Perfect conditions. Fast in parts and wicked hard in others. For the first time I ran up the steep ravine via the railroad ties that are lodged into the earth. I had discovered the right-side edge pre-riding it the night before, which allowed for not having to leap up each railroad tie, some of which came up mid-thigh on me!

That’s the spot where I took third on the first lap, passing others who chose to take the circuitous route up a path through the trees. I’ve done that before, but saw first-hand this time that it takes longer. I remounted at the top right away and muscled through to the single track.

I put some distance on me and #4 and worked to keep #2 in sight. There was never a chance I’d catch her, but I did manage to keep the time difference to about 10 seconds between me and Anna C. She’s in her 30s I think, so that felt good.

A podium finish helped erase last week’s chain episodes and my body felt good. Looking forward to doing a few Cross Crusade races this season.

Battle at Barlow 2017

Portland Trophy Cup Report

Jennifer Justus race report

On September 19, Julie Ann, Michelle, Judy and I raced at the Portland Trophy Cup race at PIR. It was a beginner-friendly course, made a little bit more fun from slippery grass and just a little bit of mud.

It was so much fun to ride with these three. Every time Michelle and I would pass she would say hi (I never saw her before she saw me)! Julie Ann’s love for cyclocross is really inspiring. This was Judy’s first ever race and I was so glad to see her huge smile at the end.

 This was my fourth time ever racing cross. Every time I sign up for a race, I immediately wonder what the heck I was thinking. I queue up and have a terrible case of pre-race jitters. Then I get going and all of that goes out the window. I just have fun. My bike and I just do our thing.
I felt much faster and more sure of myself than last race. Next time I know I will be even better. I was feeling a little down on myself for how I did last race. I knew the only way to fix that is to show up and do it again, which I did and will keep doing.

Cyclocross Races

2017 Race Reports by Susan Koonce

9/2. David Douglas this year was an incredibly hot day, nearly 100 degrees. I race in the Women’s Masters 3 35+, where we usually have fewer than 10. For this race, we had 8. I know many of the women, as we have been racing together for at least a season, and there is a feeling of comaraderie among us. We are racing against each other, but we all support each other as well. The race is a bit of a blur in my memory now, it was so hot, but still fun. I especially loved the downhill single track sections. They had a water hand-up station after the top of a hill. I was breathing too hard to actually drink much water, but it felt so good to pour it over my head to help cool down. I finished 2nd for the day and looked forward to the next race.

9/9. Het Meer was also a warm day, but not as hot as the week before. For this race, 13 lined up in my category with a couple of women I didn’t know. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but after getting second last week, I really wanted another podium and a chance at the leaders jersey. This course is fast and mostly flat. There’s a section of sand, soft at the beginning and end, and more packed along the waters edge. That edge is by far the most difficult part of the course. One of the new racers was incredibly fast and strong, I tried to hold on to her wheel for the race, but just couldn’t do it. There was no rest on this course at all, I was wither going flat-out fast or slogging through the sand. As a result, I saw my highest-ever average heart rate during this race. I finished 3rd, behind Jennie, who is new to OBRA and was a full minute ahead of me, and Traci, who finished just behind me at David Douglas.

9/10. Het Meer apparently wasn’t enough punishment/fun for one weekend. I also went out on Sunday and raced Corn Cross. That was also a fun course (I think all the courses are fun!). I didn’t really know what to expect of my body after racing so hard the day before, so I just went out and rode the race my body would allow. I couldn’t work as hard as the day before, but I still managed to finish 4th! Corn Cross goes through a corn field maze, has some good hills and a flyover. The flyover is a wooden structure with steps going up and a ramp going down.

9/16. The race was Zaaldercross on the 16th. Another race I’ve never done before, but have heard that people love the venue. It did not disappoint. The course is a fun mix of single track, hills, gravel and grass. It was also smoky that day from the nearby fires, and anyone with common sense would have skipped the race. Apparently, I don’t have that much common sense, and neither did 12 more ladies in my category. This time, I was able to hang on to Jennie’s wheel for most of the race, but not enough to get in front, even with encouragement from Kim when I caught up to her during the last lap. I still finished 2nd, and it was enough to gain the most series points in my category! I’ll start Ninkrossi on Saturday with the leaders jersey…I’m a bit nervous. It has taken me 7 years to get here!

CX Clinics in August

Photo by Colleen McClenahan

 

Cyclocross requires good fitness, great skills and consistent race preparation. Join our clinic and learn how to improve your cross skills and race readiness. We keep our rider/coach ratios small to ensure individual attention so that skills can be taught and practiced to meet individual and group needs.

Mondays, August 14 & 21 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at PIR

Saturday, August 6 at Vernonia Springs Outdoor Events Park

Clinics led by Sorella member and Wenzel coach Rhonda Morin and Elaine Bothe with assistance from Wenzel coach Andrew Coe

Cyclocross skills covered over two sessions

Barriers, mounts and dismounts
Shouldering the bike
Cornering
Racing in mud (Yes, there will be mud!)
Off-camber riding
Bike handling tips
Group starts

Cyclocross topics covered over two sessions

Race preparation
Race strategy
Equipment and tire selection
Nutrition

PIR Clinic Location:

Portland International Raceway (PIR). Enter at the main entrance of PIR. Once you reach the track/infield keep going on the paved road. Keep the fence and track on your right. Pavement turns into gravel. You’ll next see a pond to your left. Shortly thereafter is the parking area on the grass.

This is held outside of the track in the West End of PIR. It is not in the infield where Short Track is, nor is in on the track where the road bikes race. Parking is also outside of the track in the West End along the fence. Entrance to PIR and parking is free.

The clinics will be held rain or shine…this is cyclocross!

Vernonia Clinic Location:

Vernonia Springs Outdoor Events Park

54658 Nehalem Hwy. S.
Vernonia, Oregon 97064
From Hwy 26 approx. 30 miles west of Portland, turn north onto OR-47 toward Vernonia/Clatskanie. Drive north for 8.6 miles to Vernonia Springs, which will be on the east side of the road.

Gear:

Cyclocross and/or mountain bikes (without bar ends). Be sure to come dressed to ride for all weather. Bring food and water for 2 hours of riding. Expect hot, dry conditions at PIR in August. But, there will be a mud pit!

Helmets are mandatory – they must be in good condition and fit appropriately.

 

Get more info on the clinics.

Sign up today on OBRA!

Contact Coach Morin

Contact Coach Bothe

Cyclocross Highlights from 2015

There was dust and hot temps in the early ‘cross season that changed to rain, then sticky mud, then everybody’s favorite: PIR’s peanut butter mud! 2015 was a fun season. Come on out and join us in 2016!

Bonnie pushing through the peanut butter at PIR, Nov. 2015.

Bonnie pushing through the peanut butter at PIR, Nov. 2015.

Bonnie, Kim and Susan enjoy mixing mud with afternoon sun for a beautiful complexion.

Bonnie, Kim and Susan enjoy mixing mud with afternoon sun for a beautiful complexion.

Bonnie's first podium!

Bonnie’s first podium!

Rhonda feeling the pain at a Grand Prix CX race in 2015.

Rhonda feeling the pain at a Grand Prix CX race in 2015.

Rhonda packs  like a Pro for cyclocross.

Rhonda packs like a Pro for cyclocross.

 

State Champs CX Race

Oregon State Champs! November 21, 2015, was a clear and cold day and ripe for winning. The Singlespeed contest was the last race of the day this time, which meant I had to live with butterflies in my belly all day. The race was in Boring – a mere 10 miles from my house, so I got to ride the Springwater Trail to the venue for once. The course had lots of fast flats with just enough up hill to make my legs scream. A wooden fly-over that was steeper than the photo makes it appear (looking far forward took away some of the fear) and a separate set of stairs on the other side of the course. And cornfields! Deep, but sticky mud the twisted along the corn rows. A hint: riding on the corn stalks helped with traction. I lined up with a modest field, none of whom I recall seeing in other races, so it was an unknown. The whistle blew and we were off. I tucked behind another to start at a moderate speed and on the first hill she had a pedal problem, so I came around her and took the lead from there on.

I kept the pace reasonable, enjoyed the couple of steep descents off the fly-over and another spot and wrapped up the race in 5 laps. State Champ baby! First SS championship for me. A fine end to a fun and satisfying season. This SS racing is a blast.

~ Coach Rhonda Morin

CX Clinic Highlights

Thanks to all the Sorellas who helped with this year’s CX clinic at Vancouver Lake Park and PIR. What fun we had in the mud, sand and grass! Photos by Colleen McClenahan.

CX-Clinic-PIR--Rain(450W)

CX-Clinic-PIR--Mud(450W)CX-Clinic-VL--Elaine-Sorella(450W)CX-Clinic-VL--RMM-Barrier(450)