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The Wheels of Autumn: Cyclocross fills up the fall schedule, while art cranks and lederhosen remains optional 

Back in the day, autumn used to lend itself to a period of relative debauchery for competitive cyclists. It was typical for the lean-and-mean to gain a few pounds, stay up late and let all the rigors of training slide until after Christmas.

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Cuckoo for Cross

Back in the day, autumn used to lend itself to a period of relative debauchery for competitive cyclists. It was typical for the lean-and-mean to gain a few pounds, stay up late and let all the rigors of training slide until after Christmas. Cyclocross has pretty much ruined the off-season and if it weren't so much bloody fun, it would be easy to dismiss. And, for an increasing number of cyclists, 'cross isn't an off-season way to stay fit - it's the focus of their entire year's training.


The four-race series, Thrilla, came to an end last week and saw racers riding blindly through thick, stirred-up dust and biffing left-and-right on the sandy, loose trails. Webcyclery's Henry Abel, who, amazingly, raced tandem with Amy Mitchell, says the shop's "little 'cross race" has grown to the point where almost 200 people are racing on the same course simultaneously. While that may sound a little wooly, this year's larger course - coupled with two beginner classes for men and women - made the local race approachable for newbies.
Webcyclery also provided racers with same-day results, total race time and lap times, allowing them to compare their splits. "Lap times were hugely popular," says Abel. "You could compare your times with the lap times of Ryan Trebon or Chris Sheppard."

It would be easy to chalk up the fervor for the sport to Bend playing host city to the U.S. Cyclocross Nationals, but the roots of 'cross in the Northwest are deep. "'Cross is bigger in Oregon than just about anywhere in the U.S.," says Abel. With at least two 'cross races in Oregon on the schedule every weekend until Nationals, 'crossers will have ample opportunities to hone their skills. This Saturday, the second Crossaflixion race will take place at the Seventh Mountain Resort. With many different racing categories run at different times on the course, beginners will find it non-threatening, and experts will appreciate the ability to put the hammer down without congestion. Go to freshairsports.com for the racing schedule and registration information.

Another local opportunity for women who want to try 'cross is the Women's Cat-and-Mouse series, a 30-minute mock race. Racers will be staged according to ability, with faster girls being handicapped. Races will be held in Northwest Crossing on Tuesday nights, October 12, 19 and 26. For more information see the flier at www.obra.org.

Bike Love at BendFilm

Two bicycle-themed short films are showing at the BendFilm Festival this weekend. "The Cycle," an 18-minute short, will be showing on Friday morning at McMenamin's. "Bike Life," an 11-minute student short, will be showing on Thursday evening at Regal 5 and again on Saturday afternoon at the Tower Theater.

Lederhosen Optional

Last spring I volunteered for a COTA workday. We trimmed manzanita back to improve sightlines, took out invasive shrubs and even re-routed a section of trail. It was amazing how much 20 people could do in just a few hours. I left with a newfound sense of what it takes to build - and maintain - world-class trails. And still, when I ride the stretch of C.O.D. I worked on, I feel a sense of pride. (I might feel ownership if I didn't have to hike the rocky sections cursing under my breath.)

The only thing better than a trail workday is one followed by an after party with free food and beer. This Saturday, COTA hosts Biketoberfest, with trail work being done at the Wanoga complex from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Volunteers will enjoy an after party at Parrilla Grill until 6 p.m. If you're interested in sweetening some trails and enjoying some revelry afterward, meet at the Colorado and Simpson Park-And-Ride at 8:15 Saturday morning, where REI will provide a free breakfast.

Artcrank Bend

Bend artists have a chance to display their Bike Love at Artcrank, an art show being held as part of Cross Culture: Bike + Art Love, a celebration taking place in Bend during the U.S. Cyclocross Nationals in December. Described as "A Poster Party for Bike People," Artcrank showcases original bicycle-inspired poster art from local artists and will hold a show in Bend December 9-11. Thirty Bend artists will have the opportunity to create limited-edition posters to be sold at the show. Artcrank is taking submissions until Friday, October 15. For more information go to www.artcrankpostershow.com/bend.

Michelle Bazemore is the mother of two mini cyclists, a freelance writer and an amateur competitive cyclist for Sunnyside Sports.

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