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'Cross Culture 

Can Bend handle more cyclocross craziness?

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The short answer is, "yes."

Which is good, because the two-day U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross is coming back to Bend this weekend and, given their recent performance in L.A., our local pros are well positioned to pack the top-10 places on the results sheet. As always, there should be plenty to cheer about.

But some worry that we're overdoing it in regards to bike events. They shouldn't. With only one or two big race events per year, Bend has solidified itself as a hub within the cycling world. Plus, bikes and bike racing—whether road, mountain or 'cross—have proven important attractions for Bend and its economy. Bend's bike events are fun and well attended, though none are as popular as 'cross, which retains a roots-feel but has broad appeal.

"People love 'em, give 'em what they want," said Bend's Adam Craig, one of the country's top mountain bike and cyclocross racers.

Craig was one of a number of Bend's top pros who last weekend competed in CXLA, a two-day national-level race in Los Angeles. Unsurprisingly, they all did really well and should repeat their successes this weekend in front of a home crowd.

But, the most hilarious news of the weekend came from the annual Singlespeed Cyclocross World Championships (SSCXWC), staged in conjunction with the CXLA races. In the cycling world, singlespeed bikes are considered simple and pure and those who ride them often seem to take themselves less seriously than their geared counterparts.

The races are in line with that sentiment.

"It gets people to take racing a little more lightly, which is good," Craig said.

In Sunday's super silly and massively fun stand-alone race, Craig pipped Bend neighbor Ryan Trebon at the line, and with the victory, earned a trip to the tattoo parlor—Craig's second such trip. He also won the mountain bike Singlespeed World Championships in Scotland in 2007. It, too, came with a mandatory tattoo prize. Mical Dyck won the women's race.

"If I get any more [tattoos] it'll be building off of these," Craig said of his ink trophies.

On Saturday four Bendites finished inside the top 10: Ryan Trebon (2nd); Chris Jones (7th); Adam Craig (8th); Chris Sheppard (9th). Sunday was similar as Trebon, Jones and Craig all repeated their top-10 performances. Bend's Brennan Wodtli finished inside the top 20 on both days and Barry Wicks took 17th on Saturday. On the pro women's side, Bend's Serena Bishop Gordon finished 12th on Saturday and 10th on Sunday.

Absent from the races was Alex Candelario, who, like Jones, is another recent Bend transplant who's posted impressive results this 'cross season. Carl Decker was also not in attendance.

Such strong riding bodes well for this weekend's 'cross series finale, on Dec. 8 and 9. And, because it's 'cross, there's a number of parties and events associated with the races, like Powered By Bowen's CXmas, a benefit for junior racers that features Trebon, Craig, local 'cross photography, and beer.

See "Our Picks," for more info on this weekend's races and events.

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