Pat's Acres Racing Complex 6255 S Arndt Rd, Canby, OR 97013
Words by Jeanne Biko
Located on a nationally-renown go kart track, the Canby Crossword Challenge at Pats Acres is one of the few cyclocross races on the calendar that I look forward to. True to its name, Pat’s Acres is a “Racing Complex”. It’s home to a number of disciplines of speed for all levels. I believe that this is one of the few cross races out there that connects our little niche of a niche sport to something much bigger. For me, that’s what makes Pat’s Acres the perfect cyclocross race venue. The proximity to speed.
For those of you who have ever had the (mis)fortune of seeing me in a cross race, you know just how I feel about 'cross 90% of the time. As my grimacing visage usually suggests I mostly hate racing cyclocross, however, I come back week after week. Mostly to see my friends, my elusive sister and to give my dad an excuse to drink beer while using turkey/elk calls / spend time with his adult daughters.
Canby Crossword Challenge is the rare exception where I actually enjoy myself come race day. In 2011, Canby was my second 'cross race ever and my first glorious victory. I thrashed the whole course in the big ring and felt great doing so. Canby's terrain is pretty flat, but it's a full-gas race through wooded singletrack, river crossings, sand, MX jumps, and even a bermed-out turn. You may even forget what bike you are on and get a wee too rad, followed up by a landing that almost breaks your fork.
I was looking forward to this year's edition because I knew my teammates on the Pistols would design a fun and fast course, especially after a season off last year due to a broken elbow (ehem, Patty). They did not disappoint. Following a very fast skirt and long braids (one Susannah Hart) through the pre-ride motivated me to give the race a real shot instead of my usual grit-my-teeth-and-frown-while-getting-lapped-by-half-the-field approach. After a horrible start, I regrouped and tried NOT to frown. Once I got to the back MX stretch I was having legit fun; I reconnected with my big ring (maybe the first time in a race all year) and in the words of Patrick Reedy "let it rip". Not only did I capture a sweet third place medal but a gift certificate to come try the 50mph go-karts at Pat's Acres. Yes please!
Everyone seemed to share my enjoyment. AND While the Women's A race was pretty small, we enjoyed the biggest general-categories women's race ever at Canby. Marginal gains, people. A huge thank you to Randy Word (the man with the plan!) for getting this race off the ground, Lisa from Pat’s Acres for the race day hospitality, the Hart Family for their continued dedication to building this race up from the ground, Western Bikeworks for the huge amount of raceday support, the CX Pistols for sticking around and helping clean up and to all of our racers and spectators for making this the best year yet. We crushed our previous participant record and have some big plans for the race in the future. We will, of course, enhance the rustic, natural-vibe Randy’s built over the years. If you missed it this year, don't make the same mistake next.
Jeanne Badger out.