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Portland Short Track Race 4

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Race number 4 of the Portland Short Track is a wrap. It was hot hot hot. I mean seriously it was hot as hell out there. The organizers did another great job of designing the course this week. It was technical and loose. I took the hole shot in the U35 Cat 2 field which I held for no more than a quarter of a lap. Its the little things right. Below are some photos from the Elite men + Elite women's race. It's inspiring to watch these men and women race and I am looking forward to the next one.

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Andrew Coe rode flawlessly in the last couple of laps leaving the rest of the field to try and chase him down.

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Josh Kelley putting in some work coming off an injury.

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The Elite + Cat 1 women were killing it on this loose course laying down smooth lines and showing some true grit.

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Andrew Coe securing first.

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Portland Short Track is sponsored by : Hopworks Urban Brewery, Cyclepath PDX, Yakima, Bike Gallery, PDW, Lumberyard, Icebreaker, Shower Pass, Nossa Familia Coffee, Chris King , Dave's Killer Bread, Larabar, Bob's Red Mill and Blaqpaks.

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I think we can all agree that Ten Speed Hero makes some of the best kits in the cycling industry.

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I am sure Josh Kelley is not happy settling for third. Looking forward to seeing how this guy shreds in the next couple of races. Heal up man!

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Craig has been holding it down for Velo Cult leading group rides and providing a tent for everyone at the races.

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I am sorry but you can't have my peanut butter sandwich.

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Recovery.

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Oregon Bike Shop bringing it home in the Elite + Cat 1 women's race.

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We're going to miss these two.

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Moments like these....

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Until next time.

Portland Short Track Race 3

Race 3 of the Portland Short Track was amazing. Here is a quick photoset from the Men + Women Elite Fields. Share and enjoy.

BlackRock

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The Blackrock Trail system is located three miles west of Fall City and just over 70 miles from Portland Oregon. The system is divided into four primary lines : Banzai Downhill, Sicker Gnar, Sunday Stroll/ Brake Check and Grannies Kitchen. The trails are maintained by the Blackrock Mountain Bike Association and each primary line has their own dedicated maintenance crew. The entire trail system is super dialed and the parking lot even features a changing room. [portfolio_slideshow id=4386 width="1200px"]

From the parking lot we pedal down a dirt road that is shared with a church camp. We stay left as the road points up. After 10 or so minutes of climbing we arrive at Basic Training. Basic Training acts as a staging ground featuring trail maps, bike parking and a port potty. It truly takes on the term basic training and is littered with jumps, logs, ladders and other obstacles that will be found in the more advanced trails.

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Here is a breakdown of the trails via BRMBA:

Banzai Downhill: Green Rating (Easiest)

Trail Overview: Banzai Downhill (BD) can best be described as the “bread and butter” experience at Blackrock. It is the most versatile trail on the mountain, allowing each rider to challenge him or herself according to their skill set, so everyone, from first-time to the most-experienced riders, will don a smile as they ride BD. This trail offers groomed dirt and wooden berms in addition to wooden features that meander through the forest. All features on BD have B-line ride-arounds, allowing riders to skip those features with which they are uncomfortable and add them into their BD experience with practice and time. First-time riders especially should scout all wooden and dirt features before attempting them. Individual riders can apply varying degrees of speed and select increasingly challenging lines, which may result in an experience that can be viewed from beginner up to intermediate and advanced.

Sickter Gnar: Blue Rating(intermediate)

Trail Overview: Sickter Gnar is characterized as the name implies, just when you thought it was the sickest trail you’ve ridden, you drop into some Gnar. It begins off the upper platform into a rock garden section and winds into a ribbon of sculpted berms, jumps including tabletops, doubles along with wooden ladders and technical features of various designs. Sickter Gnar is a blue rated trails and riders should scout each jump and feature before committing to riding it. Black rated sideshoots and alternate lines can be found within this trail. Sickter Gnar is a bit more raw than the Banzai Downhill trail and is best suited for intermediate/advanced riders to experts.

Grannies Kitchen: Black Rating

Trail Overview: If your granny had built a trail, she would have no problem pulling out all the tools she needed from the pantry and drawer’s in her kitchen. From the steep black rated roll in on GK1, the trail just keeps whipping up something new at every turn for your appetite. GK1 provides the riders who posses the skills required a variety of natural and wooden technical trail features. Infamous drops and stunts such as the meat clever, the cheesegrater, salad tosser,and disposal inspire riders to fly high in the magnificent understory of the Mt. Brown forest in it’s amphitheater style setting upon the hills landscape.

Other notable features on the grannies kitchen system include 2 wall rides, GK3’s section of grannie’s doubles, ET and the Halo’s on GK4. Grannies foot has some of the most technical riding blackrock has to offer. As with all blackrock trail systems, each trail section and its feature’s should be scouted before committing to the line.

Slayer: Blue Rating

Trail Overview: An intermediate line that began its life as a tribute to the freeride skill set that the northshore skinnies and platforms require. It is currently being revamped as a blue jump line that will help to develop/hone airborne jumping skills and trail flow.

Dino’s Runaround: Black Rating

Trail Overview: Dino’s Runaround begins at the base of the Bonzai Downhill 4. Originally developed for a New World Disorder film, Dino has revamped this trail into a high flying trail that incorporates wooden ladders, drops, jumps and natural dirt jumps and berms. Many of the features have b-lines but still maintain the black level rating of the trail.

This is an expert black level trail and should only be attempted by riders who have examined each of the natural and technical trail features.

Sunday Stroll/Brake Check: Black Rating

Trail Overview: Sunday stroll is just a stroll on the boardwalk, if the boardwalk was in the air and required jumping on and off ladders and jumps with mandatory gaps. This is not for the beginner and requires expert skills to perform properly. As with all trails on the mountain scout each feature and measure trail speed and risks involved.

Brake Check is a high flying jump marathon that is characterized by mandatory doubles with few ride arounds. This trail requires expert skills and proper scouting of the jumps and features.

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I definitely enjoy more of a back country experience when it comes to mountain biking but there is no denying that Black Rock is a blast. Head over to BRMBA to learn more.

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Rapha Portland Trophy Cup Race 6 : The Finale

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It’s warm out as I cross the recently opened Tilikum Bridge. I am on my way to compete in the Rapha Portland Tropy Cup at the Portland International Raceway. It’s the last race of the series and I am feeling a little anxious. [portfolio_slideshow id=4810 width=1300]

The venue feels empty and I guess I imagined that there would be more people. Even the taco cart decided to not show up.

I took it easy over the weekend and my legs are free of any lactic acid. I am feeling good. Fresh. I am sitting in the 2nd row. Three minutes to go. Waiting is the worst. The whistle blows and the bunch is off. Theres a crash before the first turn and I make my way around it. Soon after I am forced into the tape. He apologizes but rubbing is racing and theres definitely no hard feelings.

I am back in the race and my efforts are sustainable. I feel strong and I am playing it smart. Two laps to go and I am on the wheel of 13 year old Nathanael Hart. He beat me last week and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to cross the line ahead of him. Its Nathanael and I on the last lap and we’re racing for 8th place. I make my move over the last set of barriers. It would have been over right then and there if it weren’t for lapped traffic. As we make our way onto the last straight away, the checkered flag in the distance, I watch Nathanael sprint by. I cross the finish line with a smile on my face and give Nathanael a huge high five.

What an amazing way to wrap up such an incredible series. Huge shout out to everyone that made the Portland Trophy Cup happen. I had a blast, my wife had a blast and I know everyone else has a blast. I am already looking forward to next year!

Check out the rest of the race write ups here :  Race 1, Race 2, Race 3, Race 5

RAPHA PORTLAND TROPHY CUP RACE 5

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I spent the weekend on the McKenzie River biking in the remote mountains in the Willamette National Forest. My legs are hardened with lactic acid, bruised from miles of single track and bloody from the unforgiving earth. I am on my way to the Portland International Raceway to race the Rapha Portland Trophy Cup. It’s my first race back since getting injured. My legs are dead but my spirits are high. [portfolio_slideshow id=4776 width=1300]

Cyclocross is kinda like going back to school after being on a vacation break. Everyone is grouped up and eyeing the new kids that roll up. One of the major differences though is how warm and inviting the cyclocross community is. I’ve always been an outsider and I imagine that will never change. But I’ve met a lot of cool people through cycling and it’s one of things that brings me back every week.

The B’s are called up and I am sitting in the second row. The race hasn’t even started yet and I am already being pushed around. At this moment I realize what my strategy will be. Ride a manageable pace, make no mistakes and try to see how many people I can pick off.

A whistle is blown and we’re off. I fade to the back of the pack. My breathing is good and I find my rhythm. The race strings out and I can see the lead pack far off in the distance. I am fighting for last place but I am ok with it. I am smiling and it shows in my riding. I am making solid line choices, my hands off the brakes, the barrier mounts and dismounts become fluid. I work my way into 17th place. I am smiling and honestly thats all that really matters.

It’s the last lap and I find myself on the the wheel of a 13 year old. He’s killing it. A rider off the back makes his way up and I witness him bully the younger rider. I wish I had the strength to chase him down. What a fucking asshole.

I cross the finish line with a smile on my face and It’s the first time I’ve consciously enjoyed a cyclocross race.

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Check out the rest of the race write ups here :  Race 1, Race 2, Race 3, Race 5