For a city so fixated on bikes, Portland pays surprisingly little attention to bike racing. Maybe that's because all Portland's potential racers are, at present, using biking mainly as an alternative to drunken driving. Or perhaps there's a correlation between our lack of interest in competition and our hippie-dippy, no-enemy collective ethos.
We'll leave these questions to the sociologists, and the bike racing to about 150 cyclists expected to compete in the Alpenrose Velodrome Challenge this weekend. The Challenge is one of the biggest velodrome competitions in the country, drawing cyclists from all over North America to race in oddly named events like the Keirin, the Madison and the Flying Lap on the nearly 50-year-old Alpenrose Velodrome's exceptionally steep track. Riding on fixed-gear bikes at an approximately 43-degree angle, cyclists must maintain a pace of at least 12.5 mph to stay upright. For most, that shouldn't be a problem: Top riders can attain speeds of at least 40 mph. Don't know a velodrome from a Thunderdome? Don't sweat it: There's a YouTube-annotated "Track Racing 101" guide to velodrome events on the competition's website (alpenrosechallenge.com), and here, courtesy of race organizer Charlie Warner, is a list of the top three riders to watch.
GO: The Alpenrose Velodrome Challenge takes place at the Alpenrose Velodrome, 6149 SW Shattuck Road, 246-0330, alpenrosechallenge.com. Friday-Sunday, July 15-17. Free. For full competition schedule, visit alpenrosechallenge.com. Warner says the most exciting events, including the men's team sprint, will take place in Session 4, which starts at 4 pm Saturday.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 13
[MUSIC] EARTH, ANGELO SPENCER ET LES HAUTS SOMMETS
Earth's new album Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light spells doom the same way a sunset in the desert does. This is heavy instrumental rock music that builds like sediment in stone. Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside St., 231-9663. 9 pm. $12 advance, $15 day of show. 21+.
THURSDAY, JULY 14
[VIDEO GAMES AS ART] ARCADE-O-VISION: TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES
Ground Kontrol and Filmusik join forces to present the TMNT arcade game with a live soundtrack composed and played by two local ensembles. After a screening of the Turtles' 1990 movie, Electric Opera Company will perform Levels 1-4, and Cosmic Fluke will perform levels 4-6. Tubular. Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy Blvd., 281-4215. 7 pm. $8.
FRIDAY, JULY 15
Portland novelist Patrick deWitt has written a movie about a fat kid's school days, and it is a balm for anyone who's ever felt inadequate to getting through this thing called life. Regal Fox Tower Stadium 10, 846 SW Park Ave., 221-3280. Multiple showtimes. $10.50.
[THEATER] MY MIND IS LIKE AN OPEN MEADOW
Memory, old age and the importance of living life to the fullest are the themes of this solo performance by Hand2Mouth Theatre member Erin Leddy, which was honored five times over at this year's Drammy Awards. The Headwaters, 55 NE Farragut St., No. 9, the1festival.com. 7 pm. $15. All ages.
SATURDAY, JULY 16
[VIVE LA FRANCE] PIX'S BASTILLE DAY BLOCK PARTY
Pix throws an epic, oddball bash featuring everything from a wine-drinking fun run through Northeast Portland to live bands and a bike scavenger hunt for le quatorze Juillet. Pix Patisserie-North, 3901 N Williams Ave., 282-6539. 3 pm-midnight. Free entry; two cans of food for the Oregon Food Bank. Event schedule at pixpatisserie.com.
[FOOD/MUSIC] BACON CUP
Wombstretcha hosts an evening devoted to baconphilia, including a bacon competition, bacon art and lady bacon wrestling. Ash Street Saloon, 225 SW Ash St., 226-0430. 8 pm. $5-$10. Info at baconcup.com. 21+.
[GIRLFIGHT] RUMBLE AT THE ROSELAND
Portland hosts the first-ever 200-plus-pound female fight in the Full Contact Fighting Federation's history, among other cage-fight clinches. Roseland Theater, 8 NW 6th Ave., 224-8499. 7 pm. $29-$59.