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Under sunny skies, 80-degree temperatures, and a rising breeze, the seventh annual Alpenrose Velodrome Challenge kicked off Friday in Portland, Oregon.
One of the richest track races in North America, the three-day meet is held on one of the continent’s quirkiest velodromes, a 268-meter concrete oval with 42-degree banks situated on the grounds of the Alpenrose Dairy. Friday was for the time trialists with riders competing in the 500 meter time trial, the kilometer time trial, and the pursuit, as well as a points-race qualifier.
One of the track’s oldest records, the women’s 3000-meter pursuit, fell to Athens Olympics bronze medalist Erin Mirabella (Bicycle Johns-Serious Cycling) in the morning session. Jen Evans set the old record of 4:00:64 in the 1997 EDS Cup; Mirabella trounced the field, and the record, in 3:57:78. Second was reigning national pursuit champion Annette Hanson (First Rate Mortgage) in 4:11:63, followed by Miranda Duff (Team Rubicon) in 4:15:22.
Kenny Williams (First Rate Mortgage), silver medalist in the 2004 national pursuit, triumphed in the men’s 4000-meter pursuit in 5:00.09. Scott Allen (Team Rubicon), a Kiwi transplanted to Portland, was second in 5:04.78 in front of Mike Garrett (Kahala-LaGrange) in 5:05.65.
With the breeze picking up and occasionally gusting, further records seemed unlikely despite the fierce competition. The women’s 500 meters saw Becky Quinn (Southbay Wheelmen) triumph in a blistering 38.96 over a deep and talented field. Auna-Brit Erickson (Independent) was second in 39.33 and the consistent Duff was close behind in 39.45. Mirabella’s fourth kept her on top of the omnium.
Midway through the men’s kilo, the best time was hovering around 1:13, until Leif Clarke (Benaroya Research Institute) scorched around the track in aerodynamic, ultra-smooth form, making it look easy in 1:10.75, one of the all-time bests at Alpenrose. Late starter Williams, faced with stiffer wind, fought to second in 1:11.61, with Allen rounding out the podium in 1:12.29.
With so many quality riders in attendance, not all could ride Sunday’s points-race final, so 18 locals and up-and-comers sought to earn their chance through a 70-lap qualifier. Adrien Hegyvary (Recycled Cycles Racing) stamped his authority all over the qualifier, lapping the field, winning on points with 50, and taking the final sprint in an incredible display of determination and strength. The local dynamic duo of James Adamson and Molly Cameron (Veloshop) earned second and third, respectively.
Fresh off Alpenrose’s six-day event, Adamson took a lap with Hegyvary, earning 32 points, while Cameron amassed 39 points with her impressive turns of speed a lap down in the field.
Racing resumes Saturday morning with the elite men’s sprint tournament and 10-mile scratch race, and the keirin and miss-and-out for the women.