At that first sleep over when you were six it was the VCR light, momento coocoo clock, or another’s snore. On the eve of the season’s first race it is all nervs and excitement that similarly keeps you from sleep. Staring at the few lights that dot a drab hotel scape, you find yourself thinking of who else will show up, did you train properly, and will that cold pasta come to bight you back?
This years pilgrimage to Echo Oregon for the first race in the Oregon XC series was no different. Up at 4:30am, ready to kill it, my excitement was handily piqued. As in every previous year, the race was incredibly well organized and thought through. Promoters chose to reverse the overall direction this year, which turned out to be a lot more fun that anyone realized. The flop placed the one low muddy section of the race at the beginning when everyone was fresh, rather than waiting until the end of the race when the salt in our eyes prevents riders from hitting the lines between the ruts. The lower creek bed tracks traversed a series of six or ten wood ladders that crossed the healthy mountain spring. The remainder of the single track was as usual; exposed, corner-packed, never flat but never more than a deep power climb, and with fantastic traction.
Corsa Concepts cyclocross team rider Megan Chinburg had one of the best XC races of her life in the women’s Cat1 field, wining her category and taking home the bounty for 2nd place woman overall. Clad in her River City Bicycles team kit for fat tire season, Megan ripped up the tracks on her uber light Corsa Concepts Size 29 wheels and Racing Ralph rubber. She will undoubtedly be riding in the Pro cat in the near future.
As the sole Corsa Concepts kit in the Pro/Cat1 field, I rolled my sik prototype Size 29 wheels as hard as my legs would allow. Likely my best race to date, a 6th place finish showed me what weaknesses I need to train, and what strengths will be helpful this year.
I would like to shout out a huge thanks to the community of Echo Oregon for putting on a fantastic event once again! The turnout was 534 riders strong, and with temps above 60f degrees that meant 534 huge grinning smiles!
Corsa Concepts is happy to welcome Brian Gerow (Gerow for short) to our squad. Gerow comes to us with a history of experience in various local bike shops, as well as a wide variety of racing disciplines. He will be one of our key contacts for customer support, so plan on talking with him soon about that new set of wheels you need!
Gerow is an avid cross country mountain bike and cyclocross racer on the Corsa Concepts team, traveling all around the North Western US for weekend events, so if you see him on the trail be sure to say hello. His primary contact with Corsa will be email@example.com, so please hit him up with any questions.
A lot has happened since our last team update. The Halloween Cross Crusade weekend is always a highlight of the year. Michael Gallagher again led the way for the Corsa Concepts team, taking 11th on Saturday despite reporting having a tough time figuring out the course — “After crashing, I had a rough time out there and completely lost my rhythm and felt out of sync the rest of the way,” he reported — followed by a very solid sixth place the following day. Gallagher now sits in eighth place overall in the Cross Crusades Series.
Gallagher’s Corsa teammate, Josh Liberles, had similar problems figuring out the course on Day 1. Despite several miscues, he managed to battle his way to a respectable 27th place. On Sunday he had a cleaner — and stronger — ride, but slipped to 29th out of the 67 Elite competitors. He did do the team proud with his now famous “Pink Crusader” Halloween getup, as well.
Aaron Tuckerman elected to race closer to home, and took fourth in a smaller field at the Grand Prix Tina Brubaker David Douglas event.
The previous Sunday, October 21st, the Corsa kids assembled for the huge PIR Heron Lakes Cross Crusade — the world’s biggest one-day cyclocross race to date. Megan Chinburg put in a strong performance to snag 12th on the day in the Elite Women’s field, while the Corsa men took 5th (Gallagher), 12th (Tuckerman), 30th (Liberles) and 59th (Brian Gerow).
As is typical with cyclocross season, it comes on fast and furious, and it’s over before many folks get a chance to hit their rhythm. Cross Crusade #6 is this weekend at Barton Park, and only two Crusades remain after that. The USGP then descends on Bend in early December — one of the highlights of the year in the Northwest. Stay tuned for updates on those, as well as other Oregon race exploits and national-caliber races to follow!
Special thanks to Dave’s Killer Bread for fueling our passions and providing plenty of delicious whole-grain carbs to keep us putting power to the pedals throughout our cyclocross season. We’ve also shared your love with the community, and the praise has been universal!
When Corsa Concepts rider Josh Liberles met the Fountain brothers and learned about the annual Sky Ranch cyclocross race they promote every year on their family’s property, he knew that he had to attend and share the cool, unique story of grassroots ’cross at its best. There’s a brief write-up of the 2011 race on the Cyclocross Magazine website, but the full feature is in Issue 15 of Cyclocross Magazine.
Louie and JT Fountain grew up gettin’ rad on freestyle BMX bikes, and Louie went on to become a pro snowboarder while JT shot films. They worked together on Bikecar, the tale of a group of boarders piloting a handmade pedal-powered car to hit ski areas around the Northwest. After all that cycling action, before long they were racing singlespeed ’cross – and beating most geared guys while they were at it.
To hone their skills, they’ve carved out an amazing course on their property in Moscow, Idaho. Once the family’s crop dusting business shuts down for the year – and the planes stop zipping up and down the runway that bisects the race circuit – there’s a weekly evening training race, and one big sanctioned weekend event dubbed Sky Ranch Cyclocross. Josh made the trip last year, and the fun, twisty course combined with the overall vibe of the event will keep him coming back (even though the race seems to be his nemesis, with early mechanicals quickly handicapping him by a couple of minutes both times so far).
To get some good bang for his driving miles, Josh also hit the Riverside Cyclocross race in Spokane, Washington the day before. As he reports, the course is relatively flat and fast, with some fun, tight, bumpy corners thrown in, and a nice quick run-up to take you from threshold to eyes bleeding every
“Both races were really fun, and as a bonus I got to extend my nice weather streak another weekend – I guess it was raining pretty hard in Portland,” Josh says. “I actually managed to get to the front of the Riverside race and hold that spot for the first three laps. It’s been a while since I saw the front of a ’cross race – but I obviously shouldn’t have stayed there for so long. The three guys I was with in the
lead group punched it and gapped me midway through the race, and I chased hard but fruitlessly the
next several laps.”
Josh ended up taking fourth at Riverside, dangling between six and nine seconds off the leaders, but unable to close it down. On Sunday he took fifth after rolling a tire and finally getting it back on so he could get back on track. By then he was behind the entire men’s Cat 3 field, and most of the collegiates as well. Josh re-passed both groups as well as a couple of the A guys before the line.
“The fields here in the Inland Northwest series are pretty darned small, especially by Portland standards, but the level is really, really good,” Josh says. “I’m also a slow starter. In Portland, that means you maybe lose a row’s worth of spots off the line at worst. Here, a row of spots means you’re off the back of the field – there’s obviously nowhere to hide.”
“I’m definitely coming back again in 2013, assuming the event keeps going. This year a crew of folks from the very cool Trusty Switchblade team also made the trip out from Portland; I’d like to see some more folks from surrounding ’cross scenes make the trek to keep this really special race growing,” says Josh. “I’ve also been talking to the Fountain guys for a while about running a pre-season cyclocross
camp split between Moscow and Walla Walla, Washington, next year. It’ll be a mix between skills work, practice races on the permanent courses in each location, and some long, really amazing dirt-road rides. Stay tuned for details on that.”
The Corsa Concepts Cyclocross team got its first big test this past Sunday as the Cross Crusade season has officially kicked off in Oregon. The inaugural Cross Crusade at Portland’s Alpenrose Dairy has been the biggest-participation cyclocross race in the world for several years running, and with over
1,400 starters – and another almost 300 kiddie ’crossers – it’s always a mind-boggling, amazing site to behold. For a sense of the scene, check out the really cool video embedded below, which uses a camera mounted to a remote control helicopter.
Not only were the fields deep, they were stacked – particularly the Elite men’s race, where the Corsa Concepts guys would line up. In addition to the accomplished regional riders Oregon has to offer, reigning Canadian national champion Chris Sheppard, several-time former Worlds team member Alex Candelario and former USGP series winner and frequent Worlds team member Barry Wicks were there to add firepower and quicken the pace, not to mention Olympian Adam Craig and Carl Decker.
The Crusade staff crafted perhaps the best Alpenrose course to date, as it packed an extremely challenging, undulating, twisting, fun route into a relatively tight space. Team members Michael Gallagher and Aaron Tuckerman both got call-ups due to their early season results and winning last year’s Crusade series, respectively, but the mayhem of the hole-shot melee would quickly knock Tuckerman from pole position to chasing off the back of the field as a rider slammed into him, opening his rear quick release and removing the wheel from his bike – a tough way to ride, even for the talented Kiwi.
The third Corsa member making the start, Josh Liberles, is just kicking off his ’cross season and the lottery-by-bib-number had him lined up in the second-to-last row of the huge field. Liberles moved all the way up from about 80th position into the mid-20s before an untimely flat had him running 1.5 miles to the pit, ending any chance for glory. Tuckerman, for his part, recovered really well from his misfortune to pass almost the whole field and crack the top-10 before a flat ruined his day. Again.
But all was not lost for Team Corsa Concepts – Michael Gallagher had a phenomenal ride, and was rubbing elbows with the field’s impressive heads of state. He sat comfortably just off the lead Wicks/ Sheppard duo. A rider crashed in front of Gallagher to knock him off the pace momentarily, but he gamely recovered and stormed back to finish fifth, just behind Candelario.
We polled the Corsa Concepts riders to see what they chose for wheel, tire and psi setups – all crucial components to a successful ’cross race. Here’s what they had to say:
Michael: “Challange Grifos 30 front and 32 rear (according to my pump gauge of course – not sure how accurate that is). It was a good tire choice for the course, but file treads would have worked just as well.” Gallagher rode his custom steel Ira Ryan bike painted in, appropriately enough, black and orange for an autumn/Halloween feel.
Aaron: Tuckerman dispelled Gallagher’s notion that file treads might have been a good choice, since he actually rode them. “I’m not sure where I ended up, but I started at 35 front and rear and then let air out twice on the pre-ride. They felt fine; I would’ve been better off with something on the front with more tread. The off-camber stuff was terrible on the files.” Tuckerman raced on the new Diamondback Steilacoom RCX Pro Disc with Chris King R45 disc hubs laced to Corsa Concepts 1.9T prototype disc rims.
Josh: Josh went two-for-two in the bad mechanical luck department this weekend; he raced the day before at Heiser Farms and was sitting comfortably in the lead quartet when his derailleur hanger snapped. Thanks to a replacement an hour before Sunday’s race start, he had a pit bike – which he’d unfortunately need. “I went pretty low pressure for me – something in the 28psi range – on Challenge Grifo 32mms. I’m always better having more control than trying to eek out every ounce of speed with more pressure, and the extra cush helped me on the bumps. Until my second time onto the velodrome, that is – the concrete lip as I entered the track destroyed my front tire when I hit it squarely. My fault, obviously, but it was discouraging that I didn’t get a chance to pre-ride the entire course and experience this beforehand since I showed up for the only pre-ride time of the day hours before my start, and it was shortened to the point that I didn’t get the chance to even complete a lap. That’s the one drawback to the huge success and awesome scene that the Crusade has created. ”
Josh rode the fantastic Veloforma CCX bike with Corsa Concepts 2.3T tubular wheel.
In addition to the new bike and wheel setups, the team also got to break in their new Castelli San Remo skinsuits – and they’re perhaps the sharpest dressed dudes in the peloton – and their various Rudy Project specs with photochromatic lenses. Thanks to a record-breaking dry spell, with 1/16″ of rain in
the last 60 days, glasses that blocked kicked up debris were key, and all of the riders reported that the glasses did a great job adjusting to the light conditions throughout the course.
Whether a headset, bottom bracket or hubs, Chris King has been on all of the team bikes over the years. They were on there because they’re the best. They’re also all serviceable which is a must for cyclocross and any part you want to last.
This year Chris King is a partner! We’ll have R45′s, ISO Classics, BB’s and headsets throughout the team bikes. In addition, with Aaron Tuckerman racing for us and working at Chris King we’ll get to see some special parts, like these R45 Disc hubs:
Since we’ll get to see them, so will you if you stop by at races and say hello.
We’re proud to announce that Corsa Concepts and Diamondback Bicycles have partnered to support Aaron Tuckerman for the 2012-14 seasons. Aaron’s focus will center around cyclocross, but he will also compete in road and mountain bike races. Aaron will race cyclocross on the 2013 Steilacoom RCX Pro and Pro Disc bikes with full PRO cockpits and Chris King prototype bits and hubs laced to Corsa Concepts rims. As they have for the past two seasons Castelli will continue to provide an unfair advantage.
Following a 2011 breakout season which included wins at five Cross Crusade individual races, the Cross Crusade Series Overall and the Oregon State Cyclocross Championship, Aaron 2012 program will focus mostly on national calendar races. As this is being written Aaron is preparing to kick-off the season at Cross Vegas.
You heard right, there is a galloping horse leadout
Forget the alien’s eye view, anyone not directly involved saw something strange in a bunch of lycra
wrapped muscle heads rolling around in the desert this spring. Situated in the latter third of the Oregon
Cross Country series, Sisters Stampede provided a great opportunity for dirt racers of all ages and
skill levels to get their feet dusty. The race took place between Sisters’ city center and the famed rodeo
grounds on its south east perimeter. Soil conditions this year were better than ever before, and made for
relentless high speed racing all day. Often Central Oregon races are summarized by their dry dust drifts
and riders ability to carve deep powder is a race wining skill, but the late snow melt this season left us
with optimal shred.
The pro races were blown open early by Bend’s Sabrina Gordon and Chris Shepard. Both riders began
their attack in the first 10k, and were then followed at less than two minutes by River City’s Sue Butler
and Giant Factory Team rider Carl Decker. With 20 percent fire roads spaced out every few miles, and
the solid traction rich single track to break it up, racers had to pass and attack strategically to avoid
lunch lines on the trail. This was certainly one of the only races of the series where we will see pro
level riders drafting one another to get a break.
At over fifteen minutes behind the famed Canadian, my race was a slightly different narrative. I have
raced single speed for the past several years, and now relearning to ride geared, seated, spinning, and
with front suspension has provided loads of exciting practice this season. I have certainly never been on
a better fitting bike than my Veloforma Rival TWO9R, which is helping with the re-learning process
immensely. I ride the smaller 15” version, and I really love how the tight geometry allows me to toss
the bike where I need it to be. In years past I have had a bad taste for this course as it is all about power
and I greatly prefer a race that requires a mixture of fitness and technical ability. Well that’s all well
and good, but the fact is that we need a variety of courses to suit everyone’s preferences and strengths.
This go ’round I decided to latch on and pass the strongest rider in front of me for as long as I could,
rather than lazily dreaming of baby heads and root drops. This perspective seemed to make it all much
more enjoyable, and will likely serve me well in the future.
The Stampede is a stellar race for junior and beginner mountain bike racers, as there are no overly
technical sections, none of the heinous climbs that characterize many other xc races in the state, and
younger riders compete on a shorter corse than other fields. The Bend Endurance Academy had the
largest turnout of juniors, and several other local teams had a good showing as well. Upper Echelon
Fitness (UEF) will be launching a similar juniors development program in the next month which will
include coaching, clinics, and pro level race support for kids in the Portland area. UEF plans to have
juniors out on the road, track and trails this summer in preparation for an exciting cyclocross season.
With the strong backing of all of OBRA, these and several other juniors programs will be instrumental
in developing Oregon’s burgeoning juniors cycling program.
As for the remaining cross country season, there are two series races left on the Oregon XC calendar,
and more than twenty other dirt races leading up to the USAC marathon national championship event
on September 15th. Between the numerous short track, Enduro, Marathon, Downhill and Super-D series
across the state, Oregon has dirt competition available nearly every week this summer. Enjoy!
To be clear, we got a hello from Japan. I’m not in Japan, but I want to go…
Anyway, we built these custom 1.2ACR Lite’s with Chris King R45 for Campagnolo’s recently. We were asked to match the decals to a Speedvagen Road Machine from a couple of years ago. Judging from the pictures we got it!
I love thinking about the places our wheels will take there owner, but not having been to Japan it’s difficult. I imagine lush scenery with rolling hills and a fine mist…maybe I’m thinking of Seattle though. I hope the photos continue to come in from time-to-time.
John McCaffrey of Kesho Bicycles came to us deep in the heart of winter (no, not this morning) looking for some wheels for a cross bike he was building for himself. Always willing to do custom work, we were all in.
We quickly settled on a set of 1.9T wheels, built with CX Ray spokes and brass nipples, the easy part. John has a keen sense of detail, so we went back and forth on the design for weeks. Generally builders have a very specific idea in mind, which always make it a fun challenge.
In the end John decided that less was more, which also happened to be one of the first ideas we started with. Here are a few of the ideas that went back-and-forth during the process and then the final product.
If you have a something in mind for your bike let us know, we’d love to work with you on it.