Monday, March 5, 2012

Echo Red 2 Red

Bike racing in Oregon never ceases to amaze me.  An incredible number of 550 mountain bikers raced this weekend's Echo Red 2 Red cross-country event.  With the huge turnout, Whitney, my dad Craig, my sister Ariel, and I all had tons of competition in our categories, which really added to the experience.  The small town of Echo in NE Oregon hosted the event and the start/finish was right on their main drag.  Riders were treated to a one-lap style race that consisted mostly of singletrack that twisted and turned through the undulating and exposed Palouse hills.  When I say exposed, I mean that everyone was completely at the mercy of a steady powerful wind that made for some very interesting riding.  Think something like riding twisty singletrack inside a wind-tunnel.  The sort of wind that could take your wheels out from under you if you weren't careful.  The raging breeze was made up for by the sunshine and 60 degree temperatures.  Such a nice change from 38 degrees and raining.

The race started out with a neutral rollout on the highway leaving town.  After a mile, we turned left and the real race was under way.  The next mile or two were chaotic as 30+ pros and all of the experts/singlespeeders fought for position in the strong cross-wind.  Bellingham friend Brian Ecker made an early solo move (on his cross bike no less), but was reeled back in.  It wasn't until we took another 90 degree left onto a doubletrack that the front of the pack really started to string out.  Now with a tailwind, it was a 30 mph battle to be first into the singletrack.  Barry Wicks (Kona Factory Team), Patrick Means (Kona S&M racer and college buddy), and I were the first three into the singletrack.  For the next few miles we fought to stay with Barry.  That guy is a machine.  He simply rode hard until nobody was on his wheel anymore.  I was the final victim to be spat out the back of his draft.
Start of Pro/Cat1/SS.  Can you find me?  Photo credit:  NW Epic Series.
For the rest of the 30 mile race I settled in to my own pace and enjoyed the fast and flowy singletrack.  There were a bunch of points on the course where you could see other riders around you on all sides.  Reminded me of the Tapeworm trail in Renton, except completely out in the open.  There was even a flyover bridge where the route crossed back over itself.  One section really mixed things up and went along a small river, weaving between trees and onto wooden bridges above the water.
Whitney had a great race!
Photo credit: Oregon Velo Photos.

Photo credit:  Deanna Lloyd. 
The last few miles seemed to really drag on.  Is it just me, or was it all uphill and into the wind?  I ended up holding on for second place and Patrick came in for a super strong 3rd place.  Barry made the win look easy.  I definitely want to race Echo again in the years to come.  A really well-run and memorable event that I could see becoming something of an early season classic.

Oregon Cycling Action article and results:  here


  1. Man, so many excellent events and only so much time. :( But thanks to you I have put a few more MTB races on my 2012 calendar so yeah for me.

  2. Great ride there Logan! See you at Mudslinger if not before!