There was a lot of this...© Matt Haughey

There was a lot of this...© Matt Haughey

Rainy, muddy races are tough on bodies, equipment and egos – but challenging weather is an integral part of cyclocross, right? Combine that with plenty of off-camber pitches; short, steep ups and downs that saw enough traffic to make them sketchy rides at best; and long grass that mixed with the mud to tangle around cassettes, chain rings, pedals, brakes and – worst of all – derailleurs, and you’ll have a sense of the race of survival that went down on Heiser Farms in Dayton, Oregon, on Saturday.

While the races early in the day saw courses that were downright rideable, heavy rain combined with a steady flow of rider traffic conspired to make the afternoon heats into slogging trench warfare. Consider this: lap times for the morning’s C race and afternoon’s Elite event were comparable.

Gallagher's consistency earns him the win © Matt Haughey

Gallagher's consistency earns him the win © Matt Haughey

Derailleurs were common casualties, but there were freehubs giving up the ghost, and one Elite racer even managed to somehow snap a fork with a misplaced foot. Despite the conditions, Michael Gallagher (Cyclocrossracing.com) was able to create an early gap with Molly Cameron (Portland Bicycle Studio) and Brett Luelling (Buy Local Cycling), and he stayed on the gas to eventually solo away. Gallagher rode conservatively and, since he had no pit bike, was frequently seen reaching down between his brakes and removing gobs of mud.

Luelling would eventually succumb to the conditions and DNF, while Cameron would drop back to third. Ross Brody (Buy Local Cycling) steadily piloted his singlespeed drivetrain, which shrugged at the bike-breaking course, into second.

In the women’s race Tina Brubaker took the opposite approach to Brody’s simplicity – her new Di2-equipped bright gold Vanilla may have accumulated as much mud as anyone else’s steed, but it remained reliable and saw her through to victory with a good gap behind her. Sarah Tisdale (Sorella Forte) was second and Megan Chinburg third. Check back later in the week for a profile of Brubaker’s badass new bike. The photos, below, tell the real story behind the Heiser Farms race.

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Brief Results:

Elite Men

PlNumFirst NameLast NameTeamAgeLaps
149michaelgallaghercyclocrossracing.com p/t Blue377
2111RossBrodyBuy Local Cycling317
3131MollyCameronPortland Bicycle Studio346
4126DougWilmesPortland Bicycle Studio306
5134SethHosmerHPC/Scott’s Cycling of Salem366

Elite Women

PlNumFirst NameLast NameTeamAgeLaps
1923TinaBrubakerThe Vanilla workshop425
2912SarahTisdaleSorella Forte405
3931MeganChinburgVeloforma324
4924AnnaVaughnHammer Velo344