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Double Cross race returns Sept. 14-15

Newcomers invited to compete; free kiddie race part of the action

The 12th-annual Double Cross returns to Hood River Valley High School next weekend for two days of cyclecross racing action that is expected to draw between 400 and 500 competitors from across the Northwest.

The Hood River-based event was traditionally held on the HRVHS campus and nearby Indian Creek Trail system, but organizers opted for a change of scenery last year and moved to Cascade Locks and its new Easy CLIMB trail system.

“Cycle Cross is a pretty high-impact sport, so we decided to take a year off from Hood River and move it to Cascade Locks,” said race director Jeff Lorenzen. “Cascade Locks was very accommodating. We’re glad to be back in Hood River — it’s a remarkable venue — and the staff at HRVHS has been extremely gracious in allowing us to hold the event on campus. A special thanks to Keith Bassham and Wynn Winfield for allowing us to return to HRVHS.”

Lorenzen said the race makes a donation to HRVHS athletics for use of the facilities and uses the school wrestling team as staff, which serves as an additional fundraiser for the team.

Racing starts at 8:40 a.m. both days and runs until about 4 p.m., with a variety of different age and experience levels running throughout the day. Each field is given a set amount of time (between 30 and 60 minutes) on the 2-mile course, with racers trying to complete as many laps as possible. The course covers a mix of terrain, from the grassy fields around HRVS to pavement to the forested single-track of the Indian Creek Trail system behind the school.

“People love the course; it’s such a great mix of terrain,” Lorenzen said. “Oregon has such a huge cyclecross scene, and we usually get a pretty big turnout because we’re the only race that weekend.”

Lorenzen said one thing he’s hoping for this year is an increase in local participation, especially for newcomers and kids.

“Any bike will do for the kids’ race,” he said. It will run for 25 minutes, starting at 12:20 p.m. both days, and is open to kids under 10 (who will not be 10 by Dec. 31). Registration is free, but donations will be accepted on behalf of Lila May Schow, a young Hood River girl who has cancer.

For kids over 10 and adults new to the cyclecross scene, a standard mountain bike will do, and junior and beginner categories help level the playing field. Participants can enter one or both days of racing and the course will be different each day, with Sunday’s course labeled as more “junior-friendly.”

“This is a great race to start with,” Lorenzen said. “And the great thing about cyclecross is, you never really know how bad you are doing.”

The course is a circuit, so once people are spread out it becomes difficult to tell who is in front and who is behind.

For the more serious competitors, Saturday’s race is the third of the Gran Prix Eric Tonkin series, which runs through the fall and accumulates points at various races around the Northwest. Along with cash prizes for the elite racers, all categories will have prizes like local fruit, wines and jams.

The Indian Creek Trail system around HRVHS will be closed to the public Sept. 14 and 15 for the event, and Double Cross staff will survey impacts of the race afterward to determine what rehab work is necessary.

For complete race information and links to advanced registration, see http://bit.ly/1dNdbN3. Day-of registration will also be accepted.

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