I often feel like we should talk a lot more about Portland’s bike racing scene and the people who make it tick. After all, our region has a dynamic community of people who love competitive cycling in all its forms.
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At this point in the season, many of those folks are switching gears from road and track racing to cyclocross. Before we embark on another muddy season, I want to share a few racing-related tidbits on my list…
Rathe takes talent off-road
It’s been 11 years since we first introduced readers to Portlander Jacob Rathe. Back then he was a 17-year-old “cycling prodigy” at Lincoln High School headed to represent Team USA at the Road World Championships. Rathe signed a professional contract in 2011 and has bounced around different teams on the pro circuit ever since. After winning the climber’s jersey at the 2017 Tour of Utah and finishing third at the US National Championship road race last year, Rathe took his cycling talents off-road in 2019.
Riding a bike from Beaverton-based Sage Titanium Bicycles as a member of the Ottolock Adventure Squad, Rathe has chalked up a very impressive list of results. So far this year he’s dominated the burgeoning gravel race scene with wins at the Gorge Gravel Grinder, the Skull 120, a stage of the Oregon Trail Gravel Grinder (4th overall), and a 3rd place at Steamboat Gravel (in a field full of world-class riders). On his mountain bike he won the Six Hours of Mt. Hood and the High Cascades 100.
Since it’s unlikely you can follow Rathe on a bike, you can read his recap of the Oregon Trail stage win here. You can also find Rathe at Endurance PDX Cycling Studio & Physical Therapy on North Williams Avenue where he works as a bike fitter and coach.
Brenna Wrye-Simpson gets her due
One of those busy at work is Brenna Wrye-Simpson of Portland’s Team S&M CX. Wrye-Simpson is manager, mechanic, planner and many other things for the team that supports Clara Honsinger, Beth Ann Orton and Sophie Russenberger. This coming season will be her third full season keeping things running smoothly for Team S&M, and even though it is a lot of work, Wrye-Simpson still enjoys the experience.
“I pinch myself a little bit on a regular basis thinking about this opportunity as it pertains to supporting the athletes and giving them the opportunity to ride in a positive caring environment that allows them to achieve their goals,” she said. “It’s also a huge opportunity for me in the development of my career and the various aspects I try to balance.”
Wrye-Simpson, an accomplished bike racer herself, is the glue that holds the Sellwood Cycle Repair-based Team S&M CX together. This is a team that came out of nowhere and took the national cyclocross scene by storm last year. With a new season around the corner, we can’t wait to see what’s in store. Good luck Brenna and Team S&M!
Point S Nokian gets Colorado Classic nod
The Colorado Classic stands alone as the only professional road race in the Western Hemisphere that features only women’s teams. The four-stage race isn’t just a major stop on the UCI calendar, it represents the broader push for equality in professional sports. Among the select group of international teams that will compete this year is the Portland-based Point S Nokian squad.
Managed by Portlander and former bike shop owner Molly Cameron of Portland Sports Group, Point S Nokian will get major exposure in this race thanks to free livestreams that will be provided via the official race website and their Facebook page. Follow along and root for the home team!
I’ve got more racing coverage to share in the days and weeks to come. Stay tuned for a guide to the cyclocross season, a story on the impending sale of Alpenrose Dairy (yes, again), and an in-depth interview with Portland resident and Costa Rican National Road Race Champion Felipe Nystrom.
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