From Farm to Desert-3 Tough September Courses

Cross Vegas Baby

Cross Vegas Baby

Our neo pro Beth Ann Orton started her early season elite races with a trip to Starcrossed in Seattle,Wa Sept.14th and Las Vegas, NV for the world renowned Cross Vegas race on Wed. Sept 18th. She had this to say about Starcrossed: 

” Fun race, amazing atmosphere, such a unique event.  It’s beginning to really look like cross season. I really enjoyed staying with Mary and sleeping on her sofa-bed. 
 
I was at the front of the race with a pack of 5 for the first 4 laps, then sitting 4 with 5-6 and a small gap to 1-3rd for quite a number of laps.  I fumbled a pedal stroke after transitioning and was dropped.  I shrunk the gap by race end, but not enough.  Great race, overall, and many lessons learned.  Very aggressive, fast, and fun.  The number of screaming PDX folks around the velodrome made it a memorable day.”  
The N in Ninkrossi

The N in Ninkrossi

While Beth Ann was off racing with world famous guys and gals in September, us mere mortals were digging in to some serious mud. Jill and Remy took on the pure climbers course at Ninkrossi, part of the Grand Prix Erik Tonkin series Sept. 28th, held at the Washougal Motocross course in Washougal, Wa.
Remy outrunning the pack

Remy outrunning the pack

While I worked for OBRA in the pit, I had a first hand view of our girls in action. 17 A women went shoulder to shoulder on the course built for the mountain biker.
Jill in the switchbacks

Jill in the switchbacks

Long climbs, tricky, off-camber descents and lots of bike handling. In the end, Remy found her way to the front, bringing home her best A result so far with a 4th place.  Jill came in shortly after with an 11th place, admitting she may have been over geared for such a hilly course. 
4th for Remy

4th for Remy

Post Fazio hose down

Post Fazio hose down

I got my chance to get muddy at Fazio Farms on Sept.22nd in NE Portland.  This is the second year for Fazio, hosted by the Ironclad team. Last year it was bone dry and windy.

Mielle at Fazio

Mielle at Fazio

This year, the rain came down in buckets and three huge climbs were added. The farm grounds were a combo of gravel, clay mud and grasses. I decided to race A’s instead of master A’s since the field was smaller.
2 of the 3 Fazio Climbs

2 of the 3 Fazio Climbs

I managed to get the hole shot, and worked on getting a gap.  I slid back to 3rd position with a solid gap. That was until 3 laps to go. Starting the steep climb to the slip-n-slide descent, my derailleur seized up and ripped off my bike, unable to continue functioning with all of the mud and grass gunkedup within it.. I had to run  with my bike on my shoulder up two huge climbs, around the manmade mountain, over the barriers to the middle of the field to get my 29’r. Totally exhausting.
Mielle on her pit bike

Mielle on her pit bike

I finished the race a lap down. Alas, no podium this day. It was still a super fun race but a very expensive day. 
derailleur, hanger and chain destroyed

derailleur, hanger and chain destroyed

Photo Credit to Jacob Tong/www.thewolfsmouth.com
Adam/www.retroshift.com
Matthew Lasala//www.lasalaimages.com
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The Ice Race Commeth-Les Femmes Heat up Nationals

Alice racing in warmer weather 2012

Alice racing in warmer weather 2012

Go yonder into the great white north and crush those girls! Our resident Pro Alice Pennington /Kona and our pro in training Beth Ann Orton took on the nation in Madison, Wisconsin on Sunday January 13th.  With temperatures in the teens and a wind chill of 11 degrees, it was a tough day for even the most seasoned pro.

Beth Ann at Alpenrose 2012

Beth Ann at Alpenrose 2012

Mini report from Beth Ann:

Juuuuuust missed a $20 hand up, too!

Race report is, in brevity:  The course was slick and icy, but super duper fun.  The courses’ frozen ruts were blowing apart carbon rims on Saturday, so race organizers attempted to smooth the course with a backhoeSaturday night.  The result was blocky chunks of frozen dirt and chunky ice, and still lots of frozen ruts. It actually felt like a groomed ski run that had re-frozen. Chunder.  The ground softened in some places, leaving a slick clay surface. Very different from last year; certainly interesting.
Alice and I were pitting every lap to half lap.  I think I had 5 bike exchanges, in between which, Matty was apparently chipping 3-4 inches of ice from my down tube.  It was cold enough that bikes only shifted for half a lap, before getting clogged with mud that froze to cables and chain rings. Remarkably, I was toasty warm after slathering myself with embrocation, followed by two generous coatings of Vaseline – ha!
I was called to the line #73, but there were some large pile ups at the start, which allowed me to gain many places in the first 200 yards.  Alice was caught up in the front end of one crash, but was able to make a hasty exit and recovery, finishing 13th. I passed people steadily the first 3 laps, making my way to 19th place for the 3rd lap and 1st half of the 4th lap.  I took a digger on the last 1/2 lap, was passed by 5 folks when I dropped my chain, and gained just one of those back by the finish. Sloppy.
It was a great learning experience, overall, and an excellent time bike racing.  The boys were met by even colder temperatures and constantly freezing pedals, but they all put out excellent rides.
Blah, blah, blah.  Missed you guys there.
Read her official race report with photos here: