Sisters Style: Right Down to the Galloping Horse Leadout

Gerow takes advantage of great course conditions to push the pace. Photo Courtesy of Oregon Velo and Sisters StampedeVeloforma rider Brian Gerow sent this mid-season update from the dirt world. Gerow races mountain bike and cyclocross for Portland's Corsa Concepts team aboard the Veloforma Rival TWO9R carbon hartail 29er mountain bike, and he's launching an exciting new Junior development program in conjunction with coaching outfit Upper Echelon Fitness (more details on that coming soon!).


by Brian Gerow

Both seasoned race spectators and those who just happened upon the Sisters Stampede race venue last weekend in Sisters, Oregon (outside of Bend) witnessed an unusual spectacle: Lycra-wrapped mountain biking muscle heads shot off the line and through the desert hot on the heels on a cowboy-piloted horse's full-sprint leadout. As one of the marquee events of the Oregon Cross Country series, Sisters Stampede provided a great opportunity for dirt racers of all ages and skill levels to get their feet dusty. The race took place between Sisters' city center and the famed rodeo grounds on its south east perimeter. Soil conditions this year were better than ever before, and that made for relentless, high-speed racing all day. Often Central Oregon races are summarized by their dry dust drifts, making riders' abilities to carve deep powder a race-wining skill, but the late snow melt this season left us with optimal shred.

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Ironclad's Walle and Christiansen Rule San Jose Omnium and Nature Valley Pro Chase Qualifier

Anna and Brie brought the heat down to California. Photo by Thomas PreiselJust after the feature on Portland's Ironclad Performance Wear cycling team appeared on BikePortland.com, two of the squad's top women made the drive down to San Jose for the historic (and, as the title implies, hilly!) Mount Hamilton road race and the Memorial Crit the next day. Anna Grace Christiansen and Brianna Walle provided a lethal one-two punch, with Christiansen getting in a long two-woman break in the criterium and doing a lioness' share of the work in the road race on behalf of her teammate. And Walle delivered the goods, winning the road race and taking a close second in the criterium. In the process, there were two Ironclad team edition black and yellow Veloformas turning heads at the sharp end of two Elite California races.

Walle opens up the sprint and drives to the line. Photo by Thomas PreiselThe two events comprise the San Jose Omnium, which serves as a qualifying event for the Nature Valley Grand Prix Pro Chase. Winner in each Pro Chase event around the country get a fully-sponsored ride on a composite team in the Nature Valley Grand Prix in June. Walle will be joining the crew and proudly representing Ironclad (and Veloforma!). Christiansen ended up in fifth place overall, and second best amateur, behind her teammate. There are discretionary picks for the Pro Chase squad, and we have our fingers crossed that the wo stellar Ironclad women will have the chance to race the event together.



Ironclad Team Profiled in BikePortland

The Ironclad Performace Wear Cycling team does a great job of mixing the bike-racing business with lots of pleasure, and they're a key ingredient that gives the Portland racing community its distinct flavor. Veloforma is proud to continue to support the Ironclad program – we've been there from the squads humble beginnings, and we plan to stick with them for years to come. BikePortland just profiled the team in the sites first in a series of features on Portland teams; go check it out!

Team Profile: Ironclad's Lighthearted, Winning Ways

And for more insight, if you haven't seen Ironclad's Summer Behind Bars video, you really should:


To Clown or Not to Clown: Cinque Terre Giro Stage

Matteo and I definitely took the "clowning around" approach. It was all business in today's Giro d'Italia stage that wound along the Italian Riviera and above Cinque Terre. I pedaled along these very roads about a month ago, and watching the peloton scamper across the same course today at twice the speed was pretty cool. Of course, beyond just the speed difference, my experience was a heck of a lot different that these guys'.

These guys might have pushed the pace a little more than we did. Photo courtesy RCS SportFor one thing, while these guys were strung out single file for a tough, undulating day in the saddle, I definitely had plenty of time for clowning around, quite literally. In fact, one of my rides to Cinque Terre was with my buddy Matteo, who is a clown – or perhaps a street performer, to be more precise.

On the Med in Cinque TerreMatteo and his wife, Elena, are hosting an amazing festival of street performers in Gragnola, Tuscany. I was a little bummed that my trip to Italy didn't overlap with the Giro but, truth be told, I'm even more disappointed that I missed out on their Borgo Matto festivities It's this coming weekend, May 19th and 20th. If you happen to be in Italy, GO! If not, there's always next year. I'm already scheming to organize a Veloforma trip that will end with Borgo Matto 2013... But here's something to hold us over – my friends Elena and Matteo, doing their thing:

Do I wish that I were fast enough to be zipping through this terrain in the Giro today? Well, certainly! But I wouldn't be happy about trading the opportunity for my own personal joy ride Giros, complete with sciacchetrà (awesome, strong wine made from sun-dried grapes and found only in Cinque Terre), farinata (a delectable chick pea flower tort often served with pesto) and gelato. Until I get my World Tour call up, I'll try to keep embarking on as many of these adventures as I can, and will keep coming back to my (very) amateur local racing life and watching the fast guys on TV, glass of vino in hand.


Giro d'Italia: Straight Through, Bastardo

Right this way, Giro Bastardos!It's all in the comma, apparently, but we were psyched to see that today's stage went through the town of Bastardo in Umbria. The British announcers who cover the early parts of the race tiptoed around the town's name a bit, and said that they actually got clearance before uttering it. Of course Josh, who had the chance to ride some of these roads a little over a month ago, had the exact opposite reaction and proudly posed next to an incriminating sign bearing the name.

Tom Bereiter (behind) shepherding Josh around Umbria (and offering choice, sudsy recovery beverages).Tom Bereiter, who possesses the rare mix of being both a quick climber and an incredible beer maker (and therefore an excellent person to know!), took a break from his brewing and imbibing ways to cheer on the peloton as they neared the finish in Assisi. If you're ever in Umbria and in search of top-notch suds, make sure to check out Birra Camiano!

The Giro's halfway over, and it's been a real treat thus far. Of course we love reliving the amazing roads while embarking on our own more local adventures, and it (along with the recent hot weather) also somehow mentally rings in the meat of cycling season.


It looked just like this when we rolled into town too! Photo courtesy RAI Sport