The races we’re missing: Ninkrossi

Orion in the rain at Ninkrossi, 2018

On Saturday — a glorious sun-rainy late September Oregon day — I said to Jenny: “this weekend would have been Ninkrossi.” Ninkrossi is one of my favorite races. Thus was born a new series on the web-log: The races we’re missing. I will try to write a bit about the races we would be racing, if we were racing this year. If I have free time (ha!) I may rewind, so to speak, and backfill other races to the beginning of the season — traditionally the Saturday before Labor Day.

This weekend was the third weekend after Labor Day, so if we were racing this year, we would have raced at Ninkrossi.

Ninkrossi is one of my favorite venues despite being historically one of my worst races.

“Worst” of course is relative. Before I upgraded at the end of 2013, this was the first race where I realized that I could podium in Cat C.

The course earns its fearsome reputation as one of the most gruelling. There are (at least) two massive climbs, one of which is broken up by the wicked “N” feature. It always arrives around the same time as the early fall rains — so temps are not too bad, but the likelihood of mud is high. Back when I was in the top third of the field in fitness, I could out-fitness the competition here. I even held my own after upgrading, maintaining mediocrity if nothing else. After 2013, Ninkrossi was always on the Grand Prix [Insert Local Hero Here] series. I never raced here before that.

The venue itself is glorious. It requires a long drive out of Portland, but much of that is along the Columbia and then into the woods up the Washougal river. It’s at the backside of the Washougal Motocross course, and there is plenty of room. This isn’t one of those (sub)urban venues crammed into the corners of a golf course. Plenty of room to park, close to the tents, with an excellent vantage for spectators, of almost the entire course.

The sponsor is Ninkasi Brewing so there is free beer.

Beginning in 2017, Orion started joining me at this race. He raced here in 2017, 2018, and 2019. I’m bummed that Jenny and the girls have never been to this venue. Last year Iris began racing (on her commuter bike!), but she didn’t start until the following week, at Heiser Farms. Ada was really psyched to race this year, and this one would have played to her strengths, I think.

Year Category Result
2013 Cat C 35+ 6/56
2014 Cat B 35+ 27/50
2016 Cat 3 35+ 29/40
2017 Cat 3 35+ 35/43
2018 Cat 3 35+ 28/36
2019 Cat 3 35+ 39/43

Ninkrossi Cyclocross Race 2012 from kent johnston on Vimeo.

GPCM NINKROSSI 2017 from Kevin Dickson on Vimeo.

a little look at Ninkrossy from Burk Webb on Vimeo.