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James Mason | all galleries >> Galleries >> Cycling in Portland, Oregon > In the Horse Heaven Hills
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May, 1979

In the Horse Heaven Hills

In 1979 I was working for a newspaper in the Tri-Cities, the first newspaper to fire me and definitely not the last. Grab-On, a Walla Walla company famous for bike grips, sponsored a race in the region with several great venues. One of them was the road course in the Horse Heaven Hills near Richland, Washington. In the photo Dave Auker of Portland leads Seattle's Tom Broznowski up one of the many seriously steep climbs. Tom, as usual, wears a Pro-Tec helmet. Auker rides a Merz, Tom a Davidson. Both Pacific Northwest framebuilders were to have a major impact on cycling in the US. Grab-On dabbled in cycling and then went back to its core product: a field marking device for crop dusters to make their dusting more accurate.

Canon F1,Canon 400 4.5

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Scott C. 26-Feb-2012 00:12
I think I was in that race. Remember trying to keep Broz under control on the flats and losing contact with the whole pack on the big climb as a result..
It's not the star thistle that cause the flats. It's the goatheads.
Wonder if you have any other photos of this race?
James Mason10-Feb-2011 05:23
I spent two years in the Tri-Cities and learned about the thistles the hard way. The first time I went for a ride I got 12 flats....I went to the local bike shop and bought some heavy Mavic rims with Schwinn tires and Schwinn thornproof tubes. Solved the problem, but it was like riding a 35-lb bike. One day I went for a ride and it was 115 degrees. Hottest ride ever for me.
John Beckman 10-Feb-2011 04:24
Great race, hilly. LOTS of yellow star thistle, though, which is a southwest Asia/eastern Europe "import." LOTS of flats that weekend.