Julie Ann Smith and her husband have a little cycling fun on their wedding day.

Julie Ann Smith – Member spotlight

Our title sponsor, Julie Ann Smith of Blue Lake Oral Surgery, has a fun story.

Julie Ann Smith enjoys competing in cyclocross

One of Julie Ann Smith’s favorite types of races are cyclocross events.

Julie Ann (she/her) started cycling in her early 40s after years of distance running. She has not been a lifelong cyclist. Early on, she thought of cycling as far too dangerous, but her interest was piqued after she had some significant running related injuries and her doctor recommended an alternate sport. Julie Ann had to relearn how to ride since her last last bike ride was as a teenager. After purchasing a bike at River City Bicycles—a hybrid she later found too heavy for competing in triathlons—Julie Ann quickly upgraded to a faster and lighter road bike.

Like many in the Portland Metro community, she found out about Sorella Forte from River City Bicycles. She has been participating in Sorella’s Saturday intermediate rides for more than 10 years and credits the cycling community with bringing many wonderful people into her life. Prior to Sorella, Julie Ann also rode with teams Trailhead and Sweet Pea Ladies Auxiliary.

Today, Julie Ann is an avid racer and can be found racing the PIR series, time trials, cyclocross and mountain biking. Her most memorable race was a PIR on her 50th birthday when she raced while four months pregnant.

“I was dead last, but so proud,” she recalls.

Anyone who rides with Julie Ann quickly learns of her passion for the sport and eagerness to share the joy of cycling with others, including her 3-year-old, Katie, who has two bikes of her own.

Julie Ann Smith and her husband have a little cycling fun on their wedding day.

Julie Ann Smith with her husband on their wedding day. Notice her fantastic shoulder carry.

Fun Facts about Julie Ann
Joined Sorella Forte in July 2017
First organized ride: Portland Bridge Pedal
She’s also a swimmer.
First bike race: PIR on August 6, 2012. After a quick drafting lesson, Julie Ann shares, “I got last place in the novice men category, but it was FUN!”
Met her husband at her first cyclocross race.
Best meal after a ride? Burgerville. “A cheeseburger and fries after a cyclocross race, it’s become my tradition.”

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Tonya Roe was a Sorella Forte cyclist.

Passing of a Sorella Member

A beloved and fierce women’s cycling advocate left this earth.

Sorella Forte member Tonya Roe died on Friday night, January 1, 2021, in Portland, Ore., after a battle with cancer. She was 52 years young. We shared many, many memories with Tonya. We miss her spirit, her kindness, her dedication to the sport of cycling and women’s fitness, her laughter and most of all her friendship. 

Here are some of the precious moments and recollections Tonya’s teammates had with her:

“Tonya raced cyclocross, PIR and road. She was a strong, fierce racer. I first met her cyclocross racing in 2009 and I think she raced until 2012. She will be missed terribly by her family, her husband and two boys and all those who knew her.”  ~ Bonnie

“Her boys and husband were at the cross races with their dad when they were younger. They were the perfect family.” ~ Lynne

“Tonya was a former Kaiser colleague and brought everything to her work and cycling.”  ~ Emilie

“Tonya was so kind and sweet to me when I was a newbie Sorella trying to keep up with the group during our indoor winter training sessions. What a loss. She was good people.”  ~ Sherri

“Not only was Tonya a determined racer who liked nothing more than getting completely muddy with her teammates, she was a staunch advocate for women’s reproductive rights. Our community has lost a giant.” ~ Rhonda

This summer, if it’s safe to do so, Sorella Forte members will hold a memorial ride for Tonya. Additionally, a scholarship in her name is being explored.


Muddy Sorella kit

Cyclocross Nationals Recap

Rhonda Morin takes the downhill at the 2019 CX Nationals.

Rhonda Morin trying to find the best line on the downhill at the 2019 CX Nationals.

A handful of Sorella Forte sisters made an appearance at CX Nationals in Lakewood, WA, December 10-15, 2019. It was an epic experience. Make some noise for Bonnie Rosenfeld who captured the only podium for Sorella – a silver medal! 

Kim Sass bravely did two of the hardest fields at nationals – the 40-44 group and women’s singlespeed.

Oregon’s Clara Honsinger won the Elite Women’s Pro race. Katie Compton has won this race 15 years in a row. Interestingly, Katie captured her first national title in Portland, OR at PIR in 2004, and lost it 16 years later in Washington to an Oregonian. 

Rhonda Morin’s master’s field (50-54) was the largest with 29 incredible athletes. It’s a privilege to line up on the start line such fit and fast women. The course was extremely technical. There were two steep (15%-18% grade) up hills to run while carrying the bike on your backs. The mud was thick and created moving steps that feet would sink into with each step. Then racers had to remount their bike on the top and ride to the next obstacle. Needless to say there was a lot of heavy breathing.

Two steep down hills, complete with dogleg turns kept the pack honest. Muddy, ruddy, rooty and lined with spectators heckling the racers to “stay off the brakes.”  These hills were intimating. But by race day, they seemed a little less so. Kim and Rhonda got up enough nerve to ride down them in practice and in the race. But on Rhonda’s last lap, she drove her bike right into a photographer on the side of the hill. Luckily, she bounced off him and got right back on the course. Glad he wasn’t a tree.

Rhonda crossed the line in 12th place and finished unscathed and in one piece. Kim finished 17th in the geared race and 27th in singlespeed.

Kim Sass goes for the run up at the 2019 CX Nationals.

Kim Sass goes for the run up at the 2019 CX Nationals.

Posted by Rhonda Morin

CX season is here

Are you ready to rumble? Cyclocross 2019 starts August 31 with the opening series event of the Gran Prix Luciano Bailey at David Douglas park in Vancouver, Wash. It won’t yet be muddy, but the workout will be intense.

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

Other terrific events coming up include the weekly Portland Trophy Cup, Blind Date at the Dairy, Thrilla CX Series, Twilight CX and of course the infamous CX Crusade series that starts with a double header weekend on October 5-6 at Alpenrose Dairy. Check out the OBRA schedule for details.

Cyclocross PDX Clinic

Cyclocross requires good fitness, great skills and consistent race preparation. Join our clinic and learn how to improve your cross skills and race readiness. Want to start your season strong? Feeling a little rusty from the off season? Want to jump in but need some practice first? This is the perfect time to get a pre- season skill tune up or to hone skills before your first event. 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.

Sunday, August 18 from 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Register today.

$45 for each clinic. Sorella sisters get a discount!

Must be an OBRA member, sign up here or in person when you arrive at the clinic.

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

Cyclocross skills covered

Mounts and dismounts
Shouldering the bike
Off-camber riding
Bike handling tips
Group starts
Cyclocross topics covered

Race preparation
Race strategy
Equipment and tire selection
Nutrition and fueling

Is This Clinic For You?
Adult and junior men and women. All levels welcome including first timers. We will tailor the sessions to your ability level and split into groups if needed.

A bike in good working condition. A cyclocross or gravel style bike will be best, and/or mountain bikes (without bar ends) are welcome as well. Flat pedals are OK. Be sure to come dressed to ride for all weather. Bring food and water for 3 hours of riding. Expect warm to hot and dry conditions, but check the forecast and come prepared.

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

Location Details:
The clinic is held at Gateway Green in NE Portland near Rocky Butte, Portland’s first dedicated cycling park. Please note there is no parking at Gateway Green. Do not park at the Trimet Park and Ride. They will tow. You may park for free at The Lumberyard Indoor Bike Park at 2700 NE 82nd Ave, Portland, Oregon 97220 and ride over.

If you are going through the MAX station, walk your bike! They will ticket you.

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

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.


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
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

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.


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