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Thousands visit Rainier for annual cyclocross race

by: Pat Malach DRIVE – Kurt Robinson of Portland gives it his all at Sunday’s Cross Crusade bike race stop in Rainier. Robinson, riding for the bicycleattorney.com team, finished third in the Masters 50+ race.

Nearly 1,000 racers descended on Rainier High School Oct. 9 for the second round of the world-famous 2011 Cross Crusade bicycle racing series.

Cyclocross is a hybrid form of racing that merges road and off-road bikes. The sport takes place on a closed course usually 1.5 to two miles long. Riders compete on grass, asphalt, gravel and singletrack and must carry their bicycles over groups of 18-inch tall barriers scattered in places along the course.

The Portland-based Cross Crusade, one of the most popular participatory cyclocross races in the world, is an eight-race series that started Oct. 2 on the Alpenrose Dairy course in Southwest Portland. The race travels to Portland International Raceway next Sunday. Other stops include Washington County, Bend and Estacada.

The Cross Crusade has been using Rainier High School as a venue since 2007. Parking fees help support the Rainier High School Booster Club's scholarship fund.

Pat Malach is a Scappoose biking enthusiast. He runs the bicycle racing news website Oregon.CyclingAction.com.