Bike racing is popular in Oregon in many forms. Cyclocross races combine elements of both road and mountain bike racing. The events usually occur in the fall and winter and take place on looped courses approximately 2 miles in length. The courses can include pavement, hills, grass, woods, trails, gravel and barriers that require expert bunny hops or for the rider to mount and dismount.
Although the event started in Europe, it is particularly popular in Belgium. Portland’s wet weather closely mimics that of this area and muddy races are standard. Races usually last around 50 minutes and are broken down into categories based on sex, age, and rider ability.
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Cyclocross bikes closely resemble that of road bikes. Key differences are brake layout and tires – unlike road slicks, tires in cyclocross races have knobs.
It is not usual to see beer being served to competitors on the side of the course, a tradition carried over from Europe. Although cyclocross is not without antics and is very beginner friendly, it’s still intensely competitive. Check out www.crosscrusade.com and www.obra.org for more on Oregon races.