What is Cyclocross?
Simply put, it's a strenuous activity on road bikes that covers all kinds of surfaces; from gravel, sandpits and grass to wood bridges, loose dirt and hard-pack clay.
Locally, the Pacific Northwest has the largest Cyclocross community in the country, and this weekend's Hood River Double Cross brought a two-day total of 837 competitors to Hood River Valley High School for the annual race.
The talk of the track over the weekend was how much of a favorite the Hood River event is to competitors, many of whom travel and race on a constant basis through the season.
Race director and organizer Jeff Lorenzen was all smiles by the large turnout and was quick to acknowledge his team's effort to create a course that drives people to come back year after year.
In addition to two days of big-kid races, Saturday featured a fun youth event called the Packers Cookie Cross. A smaller, easier course was laid out for runner bikes where future racers went head-to-head for bragging rights and the grand prize of a huge cookie. In the end, all the kids were awarded a white ribbon and a free cookie for their efforts.
Saturday race highlights include Men's A winner Donald Reeb, who dominated the event's elite class. Crushing the field on the first day, Reeb said he would not be able to race the following day, which left the door open for the rest of the field.
Women's top winner Heather Clark earned her first cross win of the season, followed by several local racers who had podium finishes. Mountain View Cycles rider Tony Dirks won the Clydesdale class; 17-year-old Taylor Tyynismaa took the Junior Girls race, with Mountain View Cycles teammate Sarah Ralston close behind.
Susannah Parsons earned a respectable second place in Women's Master C class. Tre Hendricks dominated Men's Master A race, and first time Cyclocrosser Brad Rhylick earned a third place after crashing in Men's Master C race. Rhylick was all smiles before heading to Providence for some stitches.
"Cross racing is a blast," he said, walking to his car.
Sunday was forecasted to bring rain, and lots of it, so course designer Shane Wilson was busy re-routing the course and changing the dynamics to account for the conditions. Heavy rain didn't materialize, however, and Sunday's racing was another impressive day at the HRVHS campus.
The Junior Grand Prix divisions made an impressive debut at Double Cross, and the huge field of young racers was an inspiring show of motivated young racers looking to earn points for the national stage.
Highlights for Sunday racing included top finishers Brett Luelling and Heather Clark in the elite divisions, and local riders Tyynismaa, who dominated the junior girls class, Susannah Parsons, who repeated her win in Women's Master B class, and Laurie Middleton.
For complete Hood River Double Cross results visit these links:
Saturday results: www.obra.org/events/19694/results
Sunday results: www.obra.org/events/19695/results