With Record Entries, Class Winners, and Gala Awards Ceremony
PORTLAND, Ore. The spirit and success of the 2005 River City Bicycles Cross Crusade the world's largest participatory cyclocross series reached its apex last Saturday night, December 3, when 400 cyclocross enthusiasts crammed into the Kinesis bicycle manufacturing facility in Northeast Portland for the annual Cross Crusade awards party, a festive at times rowdy affair that honored the best cyclocross racers in the region.
And there was much to celebrate. The six-race 2005 River City Bicycles Cross Crusade drew total attendance of 3,570 riders an average of 595 per race! easily topping last year's entry numbers. The prestige event, the Crusade's Cannondale Stumptown Cyclocross Classic at Alpenrose, drew 760 racers, making it the biggest cyclocross race ever held on U.S. soil.
"The numbers speak for themselves," said Race Director Brad Ross, who, along with a group of dedicated organizers, has promoted the series for a decade. "Interest in the sport of cyclocross and the Crusade continues to grow. We've worked hard to make cyclocross fun and accessible to all participants, not just elite riders. And our formula obviously works. Oregon has the most vibrant cyclocross scene in the county."
The awards party was a boisterous brouhaha, with music, video race highlights, recognition of class winners (and of blatant cheaters and sandbaggers), free merchandise, free adult beverages, valuable door prizes, and the occasional flying piece of luncheon meat. In short, the party embodied the character and vitality that is the Cross Crusade.
Despite the Cross Crusade's egalitarian approach, serious racing did take place. Thus, the top finishers in all 15 classes were recognized at the awards party. Class winners were: Category A Men, Kevin Hulick; Category B Men, Steven Hunter; Category C Men, Eric Heinrich; Beginner Men, Mathew Fox; Single Speed, Matthew Slaven; Junior Men, Jacob Rathe; Masters 35+ Category A, John Bravard; Masters 35+ Category B, Michael Romasco; Masters 35+ Category C, Aaron Leritz; Masters 50+, David Zimbleman; Category A Women, Wendy Williams; Category B Women, Jade Wilcoxson; Beginner Women, Jennifer Erxleben; Masters Women 35+, Karen Goritski; and Junior Women, Rachelle Hobson.
Next year's River City Bicycles Cross Crusade promises more of the same, Ross said. Again, the series will feature six races, plus the finale of the Crank Brothers U.S. Grand Prix of Cyclocross, which will be a stand-alone event at the end of the season. The Cross Crusades will also host the USGP awards party following that race.
In addition to the series title sponsor River City Bicycles of Portland, the Cross Crusade was supported by Cannondale, Sellwood Cycle Repair, Russ Auto Group, Health Net, Chris King Precision Components, and a host of others. The long-running success of the River City Bicycles Cross Crusade this was its 14th year has firmly established the Northwest as the country's most popular region for cyclocross. Each round of the Cross Crusade offered 15 classes of competition, from elite men and women to masters and junior categories. The series, sanctioned by the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association, paid out more than $20,000 in prize money plus merchandise.
Cyclocross bike racing is a specialized form of cycling competition, one that requires riders to race on a closed-loop circuit, over grass, pavement, gravel, and mud, with barriers and steep run-ups mixed in for additional challenges. Cyclocross requires special techniques and fitness dismounting the bike at speed, running, carrying the bike over barriers, shouldering it up hills, and maintaining speed through turns and over uneven, muddy terrain.
The Cross Crusade is organized and promoted by Club Vivo, 4409 SW Dosch Road, Portland, OR 97201, 503-806-6943. For complete information on the River City Bicycles Cross Crusade, visit www.crosscrusade.com. Learn more about the Cross Crusade and all types of bicycle racing in Oregon at www.obra.org, site of the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association.