HAYHURST - Three days of intense cycle racing awaited spectators at the 11th annual Alpenrose Velodrome Challenge, July 17 to 19, at the Alpenrose Dairy on Southwest Shattuck Road.
To understand what drives these athletes (besides the more than $12,000 in prizes) The Connection talked with just one of about 100 track racers who competed.
California native Adam Duvendeck is a two-time Olympian with a track record of impressive finishes, including three national championship first places in the keirin, team sprint and kilometer time trial events.
In this interview, edited for length and clarity, he talks about the Olympics, drugs and why he has to laugh at ABC's The Bachelorette.
Why did you decide to come to race at the Alpenrose track?
My teammate (Travis Smith) did it last year and just raved about how good it was and so I was excited to put this on my calendar. I wasn't planning on racing much this summer. It's just been nice to spend some time at home and just enjoy myself a bit more.
So this is the only race you'll do this season?
This is pretty much it. There's the national championships here in L.A. at the end of September. That'll probably be the only race that I do.
A lot of the races that we do during the year, there's so much relying on these races it almost becomes difficult to enjoy. Racing is supposed to be fun. I mean, you always want to win, so there's nothing we're holding back there. But I think the overall energy of the whole race is more laid back.
How did the 2004 Athens Olympics and 2008 Beijing Olympics compare?
It's interesting, they're so similar in some regards and so different in others. The feeling - being around all those athletes, living in the Olympic Village, the cafeteria - is all very similar. But the overall set up of the games was different, and, obviously, being in two very different countries.
But, for me personally, I don't think anything could compare with Athens. That was my first games and the emotions involved in making the Olympic team were very strong. It would be hard to compare that with anything.
For me, my time in Athens was so much about the experience of the Olympics, so much more than the actual race. But Beijing was much more results-driven, I think. I would say that it was much more important for me to do well in Beijing than in Athens and that's what led to the disappointment. I mean, I don't know how other people saw it. We rode well, we were 11th in Athens and in Beijing we were eighth. But although the placing was much better, I don't think we rode to our potential and that was a little hard to deal with.
You've made several commitments throughout your career to anti-doping teams and campaigns. Why is it so important to you to get drugs out of cycling?
It's no secret that our sport has been riddled with drug scandals. We're kind of the black sheep of sports when it comes to that. It's crappy because cycling is such a beautiful thing and it's really taken down a few levels when this drug thing comes out.
I'm currently involved in the ATF, the American Track Foundation, where all athletes are drug-free and have made a commitment to be part of this anti-doping campaign. We submit to random drug testing at any time. Our interest is taking our sport back to what it should be.
So, you were on ABC's The Bachelorette?
Yeah, I was, on the first show (of the fifth season, airing now) and I didn't get a rose, which is fine by me. I've continued to watch, though. It's funny having been a part of it and meeting those guys. You make your own opinions about people and how they're going to react. Having watched it, I'm very glad I'm not a part of that show. But it's definitely a riot to see things unfold.
Why should people watch cycle racing?
First and foremost, while it's not a very well-known sport, track cycling is action-packed, super-high-speed and everything is right there. It's not like the Tour de France where you have to sit and wait four hours for them to pass by and then they're gone. Everything is right in front of you, it's high-speed and it's high-contact. As much as I don't want to crash, there happens to be a decent amount of crashes that happen.
Particularly in Portland, being a cycling community, if people have not seen this before, they should definitely come out. It's unlike anything you've ever seen before.