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Kooky ‘Cross: The six craziest things I saw at the Halloween Cross Crusade races 

click to enlarge outside_crosscrusade_taylorroozen.jpg
What a spectacle.

If you made your way to the Old Mill this weekend, amid the music, cowbells and laughter you would have heard loudspeakers announcing the arrival of the Cross Crusade cyclocross races, staged just outside the Deschutes Brewery warehouse on Saturday and Sunday.

I was there drinking Deschutes Fresh Hop IPA, handing out beer-feeds to thirsty racers and heckling, cheering and jeering in an attempt to absorb the awesomeness and hilarity that surrounds the popular event.

 


Here are a few things I saw that made my weekend:

 

1.) Beer as performance beverage

Empty calories my ass. ‘Cross teams were gathering what nutrients they could from kegs, cans and Solo cups.

“It’s our energy drink,” said Sean Stroupe of the Ultra Violet’s racing team.

It’s like Bend made a baby with itself; biking and beer drinking were all twisted up in a spectacular chromosome of chaos. I was a little surprised that the whole event didn’t end up at the Westside Tavern afterward. Maybe it did. Either way, the Crusade was a fine example of Bend’s locality.

2.) Whip Lashings

The lady with the S&M costume, Mielle Blomberg, and her braided leather whip.

She shouted overt “come-on’s” (threats?) to the tired racers as they crested a rutted dirt hill.

Just when the riders lost all of their speed, there she was, whipping them back into action.

“Take it,” she yelled. “You’ve been real bad.” And, of course, “You know you love it.”

Confession: I did love it.

3.) Spectator participation

People stashing dollar bills like Easter eggs near or on the course for riders to pick up midrace. Doughnut hand-outs, cowbell calamity, megaphone cheerleading, that chick with the whip—spectators were part of the course. At one point, in a Category A race, a dog ran onto the course, which added to the chaos.

It went the other way, too. Racers could be found tossing cans of Rainier and stuffed “Angry Birds” into the wobbling mob surrounding the track. At one point the Mario and Luigi tandem bike team jumped off to shout encouragement to other riders from the sidelines.

In fact…

4.) Mario and Luigi tandem bike team

This NES duo, played by Erol Chandler and Eddie Wang, “raced” with the Category A crew on Sunday, screwing up the business faces of many non-costumed athletes, who came to this event to get some work done. Amazingly, the two mushroom-hunting Italians were able to get through the course’s most difficult banked turns and hills on their tandem set-up.

5.) The world’s oldest Ferris wheel

“That thing looks like it was made in 1958,” said Scott Wolfe, team bike mechanic for Cascade Couriers/Bend Velo. “A total Iowa county fair reject,” he said.

Even though the contraption, which looked like it spent the last 50 years a mile off the coast of Oregon, made just a few jerky rotations all of Saturday, have all of the kinks seemed to have been worked out by Sunday morning.

More impressive was the line of children and abiding parents who stood in line, presumably to meet their demise on the thing. Nobody did though.

I mean, I’m sure it was perfectly safe.

6.) Heckling serious riders

Yes, on Saturday it was business for all, but come Sunday you had to have balls to ride without a costume.

I’m not talking about the kind that hang from trailer hitches and that I saw strapped to someone’s bike seat Sunday afternoon. I’m talking about the kind of balls that symbolize courage and resolve.

The verbal lashings flowed like draft beer from various team canopies for those caught caring about their lap time on Sunday. Nearly every “serious” rider who refused to race in costume was caught in the cyclo-crosshairs of one at least one Solo-cup wielding spectator.

The whole environment was one of prankish camaraderie, while managing to hold its place as a family event. If you missed it, make sure to check it out next year.

Oh, yeah, and some people won the thing.

Results

Men’s Category A

Saturday:

1. Chris Sheppard

2. Carl Decker

3. Chris Jones

4. Shannon Skerritt

5. Ben Thompson

Sunday:

1. Chris Sheppard

2. Carl Decker

3. Kevin Bradford Parish

4. Molly Cameron

5. Shannon Skerritt

Women’s Category A

Saturday:

1. Jade Wilcoxson

2. Serena Bishop-Gordon

3. Tina Brubaker

4. Megan Weaver

5. Laura Winberry

Sunday:

1. Jade Wilcoxson

2. Serena Bishop-Gordon

3. Brigette Brown

4. Brooke Snyder

5. Tina Brubaker

Photo taken by Taylor Roozen.

 

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