We’re All Wieners: Cross Crusade #5 & #6, Astoria, Oregon
It must be a sign of strong familial love when one’s parents drive all the way to Astoria, Oregon to watch their grown child don a hot dog costume and race their bike in the mud. The Cross Crusade made its annual caravan trek to the Clatsop Country Fairgrounds outside of Astoria for two days of racing, costumes, more racing and a lot of beer. Though the official costume day was Sunday – Brad Ross’ wishes – the entire weekend was full of grown men dressed as banana hammocks a la Borat, a group of Oompa Loompas, a lot of synchronized swimmers and Brett Michaels strolling around with a guitar looking for love. (Check back soon for photos)
Wicks and Pennington Shed Bridesmaids Costumes
Saturday’s course was a tricky twist of muddy chicanes, muddy downhills, muddy uphills and pretty much just mud. If you stayed upright, you may have used up all your good ‘cross karma for the year as most put the bike on the ground more than once. The faucet was turned on an hour before the Men’s and Women’s A races, melting the circuit into a greased slip’n’slide. Kona tall man Barry Wicks was back in town and the rider, who finished second to Ryan Trebon at the Crusade opener at Alpenrose, threw off his bridesmaid dress to take the lead, built a healthy gap and eventually won. Back to back Crusade winner Molly Cameron (Portland Bicycle Studio) put in a good chase but Wicks was all that AND a bag of chips. Sean Babcock made a cameo appearance outside the top five after a couple crashes that put the S&M rider back in ninth. Vanilla’s Shannon Skerritt and Kevin Hulick chased the leader for third and fourth while Brett Luelling (Capitol Subaru Cycling) continued a strong showing this year with fifth place.
Like Wicks, Alice Pennington (Veloforma) has been a bridesmaid frequently this year but Saturday was her big day. Despite a couple of gnarly crashes in the mud, Pennington fought back to take the lead which was solidified after series’ leader Wendy Williams (Hudz/Subaru) had a mechanical and had to run to the pit. Serena Bishop (Sunnyside Sports) in her first year of racing the As, had another impressive performance as she took second ahead of Megan “I don’t need gears” Faris (River City Bicycles). Erin Playman (Gentle Lovers) and Julie Browning (Cyclepath) filled out the top five.
Costume ‘Cross, a Day Late
“You must go over all barriers – including the human ones,” the race referees announced at the start. Though Saturday was Halloween, Oregon racing has always done its own thing and so Sunday was the official costume day. Most of the elite racers had a sense of humor and wore costumes. Perhaps it was all the French maid uniforms that got Barry Wicks fired up because the Kona “Cougar Bait” rider hit the course flying and put in a repeat performance. Chasing Coug Bait like a bunch of L.A. housewives running after their underage pool boys were Shannon Skerritt (Vanilla – no costume but wearing stripped pink socks), Eric Sheagley (Veloce-Felt – wearing cat ears), Molly Cameron (Portland Bicycle Studio – not sure what the costume was. A robot? Some cheese?), Sean Babcock (Team S&M – a Boy Scout? A sailor?) and Kevin Hulick (Vanilla – wearing some kind of women’s top?) More interesting that all this “racing” that was going on at the front were the costumes, and the men took the creative contest with Sloth from the Astoria-filmed movie “The Goonies,” Pee-wee Herman, a giant penguin and a group of Oompa Loompas. There were quite a few boob-themed costumes with Hooters girls and some guy riding with implants in a red lace bra.
Sue Butler (Monavie-Cannondale) made appearances in both the men’s and women’s races, as her doppelganger Brett Nichols (BODE) took on the men’s A field for sixth place. The real Butler was dressed a figure skater or some other small feminine petite form, and used the race for a nice warm up on her way to racing over in Europe and at the USGP. As Bulter triple salchowed away from the women’s field, Wendy Williams, (dressed as a nun with a Cross Crusade medal around her neck), took over after her. Williams, Rhonda Mazza (Team S&M – no costume), and Alice Pennington (a triathlete) put on a chase but Butler had a decent gap after the first lap which she held to the finish. Pennington got too into her triathlete costume and crashed (sorry, triathletes. Feel free to insert a roadie joke here), and despite her aero gear (a bike covered with gels, melted Clif bars and areo bars and helmet), couldn’t make it back to the leading ladies. Williams and Mazza took second and third to Butler, while last weekend’s winner Emily Van Meter (River City Bicycles – dressed a doctor) was fourth and the Gentle Lover’s – or Hell’s Lovers – Alalia Berry took fifth.Next weekend is not only the seventh Crusade, but also the now infamous SSCXWC. No, that’s not an unpronounceable Soviet acronym but stands for the Singlespeed Cyclocross “World Championships.” If you’re looking to win a rainbow jersey, this is not the race. Qualifying doesn’t require anything superfluous like having “points” or “being Ryan Trebon.” All you have to do is have typing skills and the ability to register online because everyone is getting in this year. The race will happen after the Crusade race at the Portland International Raceway. For complete results from Astoria, see obra.org. For more on the anti-geared shenanigans, see SSCXWC website.