The races we’re missing: Deschutes Brewery

Deschutes brewery Halloween race 2017: me as a purple people eater, Iris as a tiger, Orion as an exposed-organs-thing, Ada as a bunny
Published 2020-11-01

Photo at top: Deschutes brewery Halloween race 2017: me as a purple people eater, Iris as a tiger, Orion as a… dayglo zombie?, Ada as a bunny. Photo by Leonard Johnson, Hotfoot Photo

So this is never my favorite weekend of racing but it is reliably one of my favorite weekends of the year.

For my entire racing “career” this one was in Bend, at the Deschutes Brewery, and always had racing on two days. Saturday is traditionally the “real” race day, and Sunday is the Halloween race. With costumes. Because my mother-in-law lived in Bend, this was a race we could always attend as a family, and she would always join us. This race is the only reason I have bothered to make myself a Halloween costume in the past decade.

Before 2017, this was always a fun/unfun weekend — fun for the spectating, and fun for the kids, but unfun because it meant structuring a whole weekend around it, with travel. Something I’m kind of grumpy about to begin with. 2014 was especially difficult: my father was in poor health and I was really depressed about my racing results. I remember racing on Saturday in terrible sleety cold weather; we returned Sunday morning and I outright refused even to stage. Not a high point.

But after 2017 the kids had sufficient independence that weekend travel was not such a chore, and it got significantly more fun. And by that year, the Cross Crusade crew would stage a “mini-junior” style Kiddie Kross with a full or partial lap on the for-real course, which was great fun for Iris in 2017 and 2018. She (and Orion) raced here as a Junior in 2019.

This is not my favorite race, by a long shot. The conditions are almost always dry and dusty, with one or two big MTB-style drops, and always at least one massive runup. But it proves the maxim that even a lousy cyclocross race is amazing fun, if only for spectating (and this one is fantastic for spectating: it’s a brewery for crying out loud).

One of the interesting things about having done this race for the past decade is watching the area around the Brewery (and Les Schwab amphitheater) develop. In 2011 this was one of those wide-open suburban type venues, with plenty of elbow room to move around. The course ran up through the grounds of the Amphitheater, and through several interesting vacant lots. Every year some new thing (office park, hotel, parking lot) would spring up, and the venue would get tighter and tighter.

Year Category Result
2011 (Saturday) Masters 35+ C 58/109
2011 (Sunday) Masters 35+ C 49/91
2013 (Saturday) Masters 35+ C 15/117
2013 (Sunday) Masters 35+ C 14/103
2014 (Saturday) Masters 35+ B 69/116
2017 (Sunday) Masters 35+ Category 3 63/84
2018 (Saturday) Masters 35+ Category 3 76/83
2018 (Sunday) Masters 35+ Category 3 53/62
2019 (Saturday) Category 3 Masters 35+ 58/66
2019 (Sunday) Category 3 Masters 35+ 41/54

Videos from the 2010 races in Astoria, by Burk Webb

In 2010 (and probably earlier), the Halloween weekend race happened in Astoria. I never raced at this venue, but Burk Webb shot two of my favorite ’Cross videos here. His video for Chapter 1 (with the theme from Conan the Barbarian) convinced me to finally start racing.

Videos from Deschutes, by Kevin Dickson

So many Photos!

Many by my mother-in-law. This is obviously a photogenic race.