In Oregon, gravel racing is back on, and Breakaway Promotions just hosted a three-day omnium this past weekend featuring a Merckx-style time trial (with no aero bars allowed), followed by two gravel road stages.
The Merckx-style time trial was a 5-mile effort on Friday afternoon. There was only 200 feet of climbing, but a fast and bumpy descent gave brave riders a chance to gain time, too.
Rebecca Fahringer (Kona-Maxxis-Shimano) and Jonathan Baker (Rodeo Labs) took the win in the time trial, and both ended up winning their respective omniums, too.
Unlike a stage race where riders must complete each stage to advance to the next, in an omnium, riders can pick and choose which stages they want to participate in. Race organizer Chad Sperry said this format works well for many people, allowing them to work around family and work schedules.
The second stage featured 2,000 feet of climbing and road tactics until a downed tree and some technical sections splintered the field, with Jonathan Baker, Stephen Mull (Canyon-Velocio), and Kyle Trudeau (CZRacing) contesting the win.
“Trudeau caught us with 800m to go and I was able to counter with 200 and get the slight win over Mull,” Baker said.
Fahringer swept all three stages in the women’s race, including the 70-mile queen stage with 5,500 feet of climbing.
“Jen Luebke knew that one of the first sections of the course was rocky and she drilled it going into it and when we turned around after the climb and there were just four of us left,” Fahringer said.
Mull won the men’s third stage. Check out the gallery below for a visual taste of gravel omnium racing in Oregon.
The Cascade Gravel Grinder Omnium featured three days of racing in Central Oregon.
Unlike a stage race, where every rider must do every stage, in an omnium riders can pick and choose stages. Overall winners are still determined by the best results over the three days.
Rebecca Fahringer (Kona-Maxxis-Shimano) and Shayna Powless (Team Twenty24) on day three, where they finished 1-2, respectively.
The race opened Friday with an individual time trial, ‘Merckx-style’, where aerobars were not allowed.
Everyone complained about all the cars.
All three days of racing were held outside Bend, Oregon.
Jen Luebke (Team Twenty24) leading the women’s field on day 2.
Coffee! Zero dollars!
Race organizer Chad Sperry recommended tires in the 32-40mm range, depending on the weather and rider’s comfort level.
Jonathan Baker won the overall men’s division.
Next up from race organizer Chad Sperry? The Oregon Trail Gravel Stage Race, a five-day ride/race through the Cascade Mountains.