Marayah Deese

1. Hometown:  Portland, OR/Adelberg, Germany

2. Current:  PDX

3. Occupation: Coffee Roasting/Barista

4. How did you start racing? I needed something to pour my competitive energy into after tearing most of my right knee ligaments snowboarding. The doctor advised cycling after surgery and recovery, and I’d been encouraged by friends that raced to try my hand at Cyclocross. I did and was hooked.

5. Number of years racing? Twoish.

6. Which disciplines do you race? CX, Road, MTB

7. Which is your favorite? Cross

8. What keeps you racing? The community. There’s a billion things I love about bike races (in roles both on and off the bike). Taking jackets at the start line and giving parting words of encouragement, seeing a teammate win in a sprint finish after working hard for them, having my husband praise my performance regardless of the result, playing pit support at big races and screaming till your face turns blue with everyone else in there doing the same thing, dressing up in ridiculous halloween costumes, racing, and then getting to look at photos afterwards, shared beers after the finish, nailing technical sections and the invincible feeling that comes after when someone noticed, muddy bearhugs after hard, sloppy cx races-the feeling of being part of a family-there’s just nothing like it.

9. Favorite/proudest cycling moment:  Proudest? Not much beats winning a race. There was a CX race where our field started third with a time gap of maybe a couple minutes, and I somehow ended up passing the fields up front and won as race leader. But in terms of favorite? Can’t pick one. There are way too many.

10. Favorite post race recovery meal? BEER.

11. The best thing about racing my bike is: More or less the answers to questions 8 and 9. And 10.

12. Funniest race story: Last year at Wintercross there was a muddy trough-like section after a downhill that was pretty hairy, but manageable during pre-ride. Lap 1 I took the same line I’d ridden a few times already by riding down the middle and cutting right, only to find a deep rift that instantly grabbed my front wheel. I was on my face with my bike on top of me, completely submerged in a small pond, before I even knew what happened. The funny part was more that someone had caught all this on video (including the falls of more than a few other racers), and the commentary on it is pretty comical. That video got over 2,000 views on Youtube, thanks to our collective theatrical performances.

13. Memory from your first race: The PIR infield Cross Crusade 2012 was the thickest, peanutbutteriest mud I’ve experienced to date. Someone later told me that race claimed derailleur numbers well into the hundreds. It was the last local race of the season and I remember being totally bummed about having to wait another full year to do it again.

Photo credit: Matthew Lasala