More than 1,000 cyclists will converge on Central Oregon this weekend for the fifth annual Halloween Cross Crusade, donning outrageous costumes while racing their bikes through grass, dirt and mud.

The event is mostly for fun, and that is why Bend’s top cyclocross racer will not be here.

Professional racer Ryan Trebon, 34, is getting back on track after suffering a broken back in a crash last year and missing much of last cyclocross season. He says he would love to race here at the Cross Crusade. But he makes a living in cyclocross, so he’ll be racing in the Cincy CX Pan-American Championships in Cincinnati this weekend.

“I always like racing the Cross Crusade, because it’s always really nice to race in Bend,” Trebon says. “I can only do them when there’s not a conflict with my schedule. If I could stay home and make a living just racing the Cross Crusade, that’d be pretty nice.”

A 15-year full-time pro and two-time national champion in cyclocross who has lived in Bend for 10 years, Trebon (pronounced truh-BONE) says he is back to 100 percent after the injury, and in mid-September he finished 12th overall and was the second American in Cross Vegas, a World Cup race in Las Vegas.

Trebon was injured at a race in Vancouver, Washington, in September 2014.

“I just crashed,” he recalls. “It didn’t seem like a big crash and I was able to get up, but I ended up with five compression fractures in my thoracic spine. I had 11 ribs fractured. I hit the ground pretty hard, it just didn’t feel that bad initially.”

Trebon says he competed in about five cyclocross races last year at “40 percent capacity,” but now he knows he tried to return to racing too soon.

“It just takes a while to heal, and sometimes you make the mistake no matter how experienced you are or how old you are, you just always think you can get back into it fast, or because you want to. Sometimes it doesn’t work like that. You have to heal before you can start doing things. I’ve made that mistake. I’ve done that about 10 times in my career, every time I got hurt, you’ll just force it. This was a little different than breaking your wrist, this was like, I can’t do anything because my back is broken.”

In cyclocross, riders race laps for about 60 to 70 minutes on mostly off-road courses, carrying their bikes over obstacles and passing other riders while reaching speeds of 20 mph. Cyclocross bikes are basically road bikes with knobbier tires.

Trebon, a gangly 6-foot-5-inches, 175 pounds, started racing mountain bikes when he was a freshman in high school living near Seattle. He did not take up cyclocross until one winter when he was living in North Carolina at the age of 21. He was signed by Kona Bikes in 2004, and he has been sponsored by Cannondale for the last several years.

In 2006, Trebon became the first rider to win the U.S. mountain bike cross-country championship and the U.S. cyclocross title in the same year. He won another cyclocross title in 2008, and he has finished second at nationals six times. Trebon finished 17th at the 2012 Cyclocross World Championships and he has several top-10 placings in World Cup races.

While Trebon still competes in mountain biking and road cycling, his main focus has long been cyclocross, whose season runs from late summer to early winter.

“As you get older, you can’t be 100 percent for 11 months out of the year, so you kind of have to pick and choose when you want to be good,” Trebon says. “So I try to be fast during the fall, August through February, which is a pretty long amount of time still. You need some time to relax.”

Trebon says cyclocross has always appealed to him because he is good at powerful 20-second efforts followed by a short recovery, repeated numerous times over the course of 60 to 70 minutes.

“I’m able to produce large amounts of power over and over again,” Trebon says. “I can sprint and recover really fast, and that’s kind of what you need for ’cross. Road racing you just need a really long, slow burn. That’s what’s great about cycling, there’s different disciplined for different types. Like track and field, there’s sprinters, middle-distance runners, and long-distance runners.”

After the race in Cincinnati this weekend, Trebon plans to compete in several more World Cup events, eying the U.S. Nationals in Asheville, North Carolina, on Jan. 10, 2016, and the Cyclocross World Championships in Belgium, Jan. 30-31.

“It was a horrible year last year, but things are really good now, and I’m just moving forward,” Trebon says. “I want to win every race we go to, because you always want to prove that you’re the best.”

— Reporter: 541-383-0318,