Banana Belt returns for 3-week run

Mar 3, 2012 by

Henry Hagg Lake in Yamhill County sets the backdrop for the annual Banana Belt series. ©Pat Malach/FILE PHOTO

HAGG LAKE — The Banana Belt, OBRA’s long-running road race series, returns to Henry Hagg Lake in Yamhill County for three consecutive Sundays of racing on March 4, 11, and 18.

The scenic lake setting and surrounding forests mask a challenging course that twists and turns over rollers and up power climbs. Each 11-mile loop features 750 feet of climbing, and the series switches things up by changing directions for week two. Races #1 and #3 will run counter clockwise with an uphill finish that tends to break up fields and small groups that arrive there together. Race #2 will run clockwise with the speedy downhill run into the finish that can often get a bit crowded.

The Cat 1-2 men will start with five laps for race #1 and work up to seven by the final Sunday. The Cat 3 men will start at four laps and work up to six. Juniors race two laps each week, and all the other groups race three or four. The Cat 1-2 men leave the starting line first at 9 a.m., followed by 13 more groups throughout the day, with the Juniors taking off last at 1 p.m. For the first week, Wenzel Coaching is offering FREE beginners clinics for women and men before their races. The women’s clinic begins at 8:30 a.m. at the start line. The men’s clinic begins at 11:40.

Series overall points are awarded 15 riders deep at a each race, with the winner earning 20 points. Hot spot sprint points awarded three deep will also be available for the Cat 1-2 men, Cat 3 men and Masters Men 35+.

The series continues March 11 and concludes on March 18. The final race also serves as the first event of the 2012 Oregon Cup.

2011 Banana Belt Overall Winners

Juniors: Killian Bailey (Beaverton Bicycle Club)

Cat 1-2 Men: Ryan Carlson (Cyclepath)

Cat 1-2 Women: Jen Akeroyd (Sorella Forte)

Cat 3 Men: Erik Hofland (Therapeutic Associates Cycling/Sagebrush Cycles)

Cat 3 Women: Jessica Kaplan (Therapeutic Associates Cycling/Sagebrush Cycles)

Cat 4 Men: Brandon Macemon

Cat 4 Women: Kimberly Mullen

Cat 5 Men: Marcus Benton (Team Dirt/Mudslinger Events)

Masters Women 40+: Martina Ralle (Sorella Forte)

Masters Men 40+ Cat 1/2/3: Scott Browning (West End Bikes/Specialized)

Masters Men 40+ Cat 4/5: John Prosser (Taleo Racing)

Masters Men 50+: Scott Harman (HPChiro/Alpine Mortgage Planning)

Masters Men 60+: Ken Rodgers (Oregon Paddle Sports)

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