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Monday night CX Skills n Drills at Oak Grove Park
Check out details on this and more: Team Finger Newsletter #4

Cascade Chainbreaker Race Report

By Jonathan Coy

Team Results:

  • Julie Lucas O’Brien CAT 1 – 3rd (4th overall woman)
  • Lora Melkonian CAT 2 50+ – 1st
  • Jonathan Coy CAT 2 19-39 – 3rd

The Chainbreaker is a 24 mile XC MTB race in Bend (race 3 of the Oregon XC Series).

Race/Course Overview:
Bend, Oregon sits at 3,623 feet which can have an impact on performance when all of us train essentially at sea level. Portions of the course exceed 4,500′ in elevation. Higher altitudes cause you to breathe more rapidly due to the decreased amount of oxygen in the air which increases dehydration. It is also easier to get sunburned at higher altitudes, because there is less of the earth’s atmosphere to block sunlight (especially on a cloudless sunny day in Bend). Make sure you bring sunscreen and are well hydrated prior to starting this race.

Pro Tip: make sure to apply sunscreen on your legs and not just your face and arms………fail

The race is hosted by Bend Endurance Academy and was very well run (chip timing, well marked course with volunteers at critical intersections, best podium swag bags of any race I’ve ever attended). The start of the race is a double track climb up a gravel road for about a mile before entering singletrack. I found that the climb sorted the field prior to entering the singletrack but position is important as the course overall has minimal locations to pass.

As mentioned, the course has a lot of singletrack. Many singletrack sections are lined with overgrown shrubs making passing impossible and the potential for your handlebars to catch causing a crash. The course also runs through an area that recently experienced a forest fire, so several of the trails were very primitive (fresh cut stumps, soft lose dirt) which didn’t make for the most enjoyable riding.

The course elevation gain was approximately 1,800′ (not too bad) and most climbs were gradual, not steep. With the amount of climbing we do riding around the Hood River area, use the climbs in this race to your advantage, this is where i was able to make the biggest gains against the competition.

Due to the course being so dry, dust is a factor to consider if you are sensitive. This also made the descents and turns on the course pretty sketch. Recommend a conservative approach to each turn and descent, and making gains on the climbs. The risk is not worth the reward, both Julie and I went over the handlebars and have the scars to show.

The end of the race is very confusing as there are several loops around the “stadium” area designed for spectating but resulted in confused riders wondering where the finish was and when. This section has several very steep short climbs and sharp turns. I found it difficult to finish strong due to the confusion of where the finish was. If you are competing against a rider that knows the finish course, they would certainly have an advantage in this portion of the race and would be something to consider.

Overall, good race, just wish it wasn’t so far away.

Race Website:
https://bendenduranceacademy.org/chainbreaker/

2019 Bear Springs Trap Race Report

by Jonathan Coy

This race is historically known for cold temps and wet weather but this year presented great conditions for racing. The team came out in full force and many riders, including myself, raced this course for the first time.

The race starts with an uphill climb on a paved road followed by a 90 degree turn onto singletrack approximately 1/2 mile into the race. Immediately following the turn is a steep technical climb where riders fight for position and often dismount during the climb. If you are not in good position at this juncture you can easily lose 30-60 seconds on the leaders.

Overall, the upper section of the course is flowy with small berms, short climbs and descents, some roots and large rocks to look out for, but nothing too technical. Passing can be challenging at times due to the single track but call out your passes and most will let you by.

The course changes significantly as you descend and get down by the river later in the race. There are several very technical sections of roots and rock gardens where it is not uncommon to “hike a bike.” There are additional sections were dismounting is required due to having to go through a fence and also cross over a wetland area where logs have been laid down for pedestrian traffic.

The course was very scenic but also poorly marked in several locations (a theme for this race that goes back many years). Many team members made wrong turns on the course as did others I spoke to after the race.

I recommend the race for those who are interested next year just be prepared to position yourself well at the front heading into the turn and be aware of the technical riding late in the race and that even the best of riders are likely dismounting some sections.

The course is friendly to all bikes depending on your preference. 29″ wheels will help your roll faster, and a full suspension will add some comfort but a hard tail is also completely fine.

Results

We had a crew of 20 come out for the race and Cinco de Mayo afterparty! As usual, the ladies squad took home the most hardware! Congrats on the great placings and to everyone for completing a tough course!

  • Julie O’Brien: 3rd Cat 1 Women
  • Pierce Martin: 2nd Cat 2 Men 19-39
  • Terry Mallon: 2nd Cat 2 Men 60+
  • Taylor Kennedy: 1st Cat 2 Women 19-39
  • Valerie Nussbaumer: 3rd Cat 2 Women 19-39
  • Megan Barton: 1st Cat 2 Women 40-49 (Her first MTB race and the first lady across the line in all categories!)
  • Lora Melkonian: 1st Cat 2 Women 50+
  • Ian Stromquist: 2nd Novice Men 40-49
  • Shawn Summersett: 1st Novice Men 50+ (first race!)
  • Danny Schwarz: 3rd Clydesdale
  • Holly LaRue 1st Singlespeed Women (needs more competition)
  • Full Results

Race photos courtesy of Edward Knight

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