i have been wanting to write something about the IRA RYAN CYCLES CROSS TEAM since the first race a couple of months back but alas. i have raced cross for a long time in portland and had a chance to see the scene grow leaps and bounds in the 12 years i have lived here. the level of enthusiasm in the team this year has been great and most of the people who started as b’s have upgraded and are now racing in the a’s against the local legends and regional pros.
in sponsoring a team, i have always wanted to offer some support for like-minded riders who enjoy competition and want to develop their skills on the bike. i have never wanted to have a team of cutthroat athletes who will stop at nothing to win (ok, maybe a few times i have wanted that) nor a team of cyclo cross culture club hipsters who just want to drink beer (sometimes this is good too) but instead some solid folks who like to ride bikes, race to their highest potential and are genuine about making racing open to more people. we all have a lot to offer to each other whether it’s teaching someone how to rotate in a paceline or step over a barrier. we are a team of cross riders but we are roadies, mountain bikers, commuters, trackies and sometimes explorers on bicycles. we strive to ride, race, refine and develop ourselves as cyclists and show how accessible bike racing can be.
the team has grown this year and i am proud to have some good people as racers and some great local companies as sponsors for the cross season.
ryan king got his start in bicycle racing in athens, ga. as a founding member of the loose nuts racing team, a group of young and spirited riders based who banded together to suffer in solidarity, crush the competition, heckle the overly serious, drain beverage containers and inject some fun and life into the stodgy georgia cyclocross scene. cyclocross south of the mason-dixon line has never been the same and ‘cross in the northwest still doesn’t know what’s coming. when he isn’t racing, ryan talks to cats, listens to music on cassette tapes, eats pizza and still gets a little misty-eyed when he thinks about the passing of jacques-yves cousteau.
india king, 27, graduate student, transplanted to portland from georgia. cyclocross was my gateway drug to bike racing and i got hooked. i raced one season of cross in ga. before moving to portland. for me, racing, riding, and commuting are fun as long as they do not impact my ability to eat and drink whatever i want. racing allows me the chance to push the limits of my abilities; i love the adrenaline rush at the start of each race, the ache in my legs that tells me that my body is primed and ready. i feel lucky to have found like-minded people who are willing to work hard, but make no bones about embracing other areas of their life. as a newbie to the bike-racing scene, i look forward to exploring various types of bike racing.
jen powell moved to portland from the heartland of dairy country where she has raced mountain bikes and commuted in sub-freezing temperatures. when asked why i race:
she says the main reason i started racing cross was b/c i didn’t like the imbalance between the women’s and men’s fields. i really sucked at cross and i thought that if other women saw me racing they would think “if she can do it so can i.” now i’m addicted to it. she just moved up to the women’s a field by the way.
rachel bagley has raced cross for years and can sometimes be found joking about how she started cross in portland. born near the mormon belt buckle in utah, she has always loved mountains over valleys, sunrises over movies and trails over roads. rachel moved back from south america six years ago and has since raced two cascade creampuff 100 mile mountain bike races, done a couple of road races, ridden her first double century and been racing in the ladies a field in cyclocross for a couple of seasons. her adventures can be found here.
matt hall. cat lover, muse, racer, artist, legend, all round good guy. 20 years ago, matt could be found in his front yard bunny hopping empty cereal boxes that he and his brothers just polished off eating. matt left the dusty town of klamath falls for art school in portland where he found espresso, creativity and a group of people to ride with. after a long career with the veloshop team, he joined the IRA RYAN CYCLES CROSS “TEAM” in 2006. i say “team” since for years it was just matt hall and myself showing up to race wet and soggy cross races. after years of racing, we finally have our own tent to hide under every weekend. matt’s drawings and artwork are amazing and some of his work can be found on his tumblr site.
i also race cross when i am not working to build some killer bicycle frames but i always wish the races were about 4 hours longer.
in addition to the riders, i am proud to have some great partners this year. portland design works (pdw) is a locally own company that makes the best gear for commuting and everyday riding. offering great lights, fenders and mini pumps we are guaranteed to roll dry and safe to and from the cross races this season. dan can be found making grilled cheese and coffee under the castelli tent at the local cross races. come and say hello.
corsa concepts is another portland company that builds bicycle wheels for training and racing. with options for carbon and alloy hoops and hubs they are great wheels built by hand in the heart of the northwest cyclo cross country. these wheels take a beating and keep on tick’n.
dumonde tech makes the best bicycle chain lube and even offers a coffee flavored version. weird but strangely portland. light lube for dry races, heavier lubes for wet days and the best liquid grease for rebuilding freehubs and overhauled hubs. i first used dumonde for chain lube years ago as a messenger and will never go back.