noun, often attributive \kə-myü-nə-tē\
1: a unified body of individuals:
a : state, commonwealth
b : the people with common interests living in a particular area; broadly
c : an interacting population of various kinds of individuals (as species) in a common location
Each of us, no matter our role, contributes to the cyclocross community. Race organizers create races; racers provide competition; fans heckle & cheer; family, friends and coaches offer support on & off the bike. In December I took a hiatus from my community of Bozeman, Montana to race and spent time with dear friends in Oregon. First stop: Bob’s Red Mill World Headquarters!
On my tour of Bob’s Red Mill in Milwaukie, Oregon, I got to see first hand Bob’s crew in action milling, testing, packaging and distributing the finest whole grains and best gluten free products. The facility was impressive—clean and efficient—but what was most impressive was the sense of community that resonated throughout company headquarters.
Cassidy Stockton, Social Media Specialist, was my tour guide. She knew everyone working the processing and packaging lines, the chemist testing foods, and of course she knew Bob Moore, “the Bob.” I got to meet Bob. He was in the office on a Monday afternoon working side by side with his staff, at age 82.
Bob, Cassidy and I chatted about the Train with Grain program (http://www.bobsredmill.com/blog/category/train-with-grain/), Oregon cross racing and Bob’s love of community, dedication to supporting cyclists and his 30 year mission of promoting healthy diets and lifestyles by making the best whole grains and gluten free products.
In addition to making fantastic products, Bob exemplifies community. After 30 years in the business, Bob Moore recently gave his employees a gift: total ownership of Bob’s Red Mill through an Employee Share Ownership Program. If that isn’t community, I don’t know what is.
Racing cross in Oregonia is fantastic. Mud, slippery wet leaves, twisty-turny courses through the trees, heckling fans and kind souls. On a sunny December day I raced the last of the Grand Prix Molly Cameron Cross series at the Washougal, Washington Motocross Track.
The race course was super fun, fans were out in force at the top of the run up and I was having a great race…until my chain got caked in mud. Dropped chain, turned into a broken chain, a long run to the pits and a bike exchange. Roll with it, mechanicals happen.
I finished the race on my B bike then headed to the pits. When I got to pit the chain on my bike was not broken. Weird, my bike chain was broken 20 minutes ago. Did someone put a new chain on my bike? YES! There was no neutral support at this race, but some kind soul mysteriously replaced the chain on my bike. I am still grateful and continue to pay it forward.
After a week in Portland I headed to Bend. The drive through the Mount Hood National Forest was beautiful—an early morning fog burned off and gave way to sunshine. Huge pines lightly covered in powdery snow dotted the landscape. I dropped down into the valley, the snow disappeared and the high desert stretched out in front of me.
The Exergy US Gran Prix of Cyclocross is a four weekend, eight race series. The USGP kicked off in Madison, WI in September and concluded in Bend, OR in December with stops in Ft Collins, CO and Louisville, KY in between.
The USGP attracts the top cyclocross racers from the United States and the world. The women’s field in Bend was stacked.
The races were super fast. The course was fantastic. The fans were energetic. My results weren’t great, but I got in two clean races, was consistent, stayed positive, built race confidence, rebuilt some speed and used the weekend to help me prepare for Nationals in January.
The scene in Bend was top notch. Visit Bend welcomed racers to town, Deschutes Brewery beer and Stumptown Coffee were flowing and a group of local carolers sang at the race venue.
There is a tremendous amount of energy that goes into putting on a weekend of cyclocross races. I am grateful to the cyclocross community and the broader community in which I exist for being able to race my bike.
Each race brings opportunities for me to learn new skills, connect with friend and simply enjoy life.
I look forward to my next race. Madison, Wisconsin, January 2012. I hear it’s lovely in Madison in January. Regardless of the conditions, I’ll be ready!