Weekend of exciting competitive cyclocross on tap
Rocklin, Calif.- The Northern California Nevada Cycling Association Cyclocross District Championship on Sunday will attract hundreds of cyclocross athletes – including some of the best-known racers in the sport – and highlights the weekend of races at the Sunset Whitney Recreation Area, 4201 Midas Ave. in Rocklin.
On Saturday, Clipped In for Life is hosting the third race of its eight-race Sacramento Cyclocross season at Sunset Whitney, an opening act for the headliner race Sunday. The first race for the Sacramento Cyclocross is 9:15 a.m. Saturday, with the final race scheduled for 3 p.m.
The Cyclocross District Championship – one of the largest cyclocross races in California – starts 9 a.m. Sunday, with the last race at 2:30 p.m.
Both days of racing will feature riders from about 9 to 75-plus years old and with varying skill levels, from beginners to elite riders. Racers can sign-up online for the Cyclocross District Championship, but they must have a USA Cycling license. More details are available on the Clipped In for Life website.
Both days of racing are free for spectators, and a coffee cart, food truck and beer garden are available.
The former Sunset Whitney Golf Course-turned-recreation area is just the latest example of how Placer Valley Tourism makes the most of what the region has to offer athletes and sports event organizers.
“We’re always looking to bring more sports-related events to the region and introduce new sports, like cyclocross, to residents,” said Kim Summers, CEO of Placer Valley Tourism and @the Grounds, home of the Roebbelen Center.
“Cyclocross is a one-of-a-kind sport that combines elements of other forms of bike racing, but has a feeling all its own. There is a lot of action, it is so much fun to watch.”Kim Summers, CEO Placer Valley Tourism
Cyclocross combines the challenges of mountain bike races with the speed of road races with some obstacles – such as logs, stairs and steep hills – added along the 1.5- to 2-mile course. Racers carry or push their bikes over or through the obstacles during the 30- to 60-minute races.
Cyclocross demands a “high-energy burst of endurance,” said Jenn Fuss, Community Relations and Outreach Director for Clipped In for Life. The El Dorado Hills-based organization hosts the long-standing Sacramento Cyclocross series and other off-road cycling events in the region. “It’s like steeplechase on a bike in the rain.”
The course challenges, from the obstacles to the weather, make cyclocross a fun sport for racers – and spectators.
“You never know what you’re going to get, it’s mayhem,” said former cyclocross racer Bruce Kaiser, owner of Kinetic Cycles in Sacramento and father of elite racer Cody Kaiser, who will compete Sunday. “It’s full (energy) from the go. You will see lots of lead changes.” And that is the beauty of cyclocross for fans – they can see the races, every lap, from the start to the finish line.
“Most mountain bike and road races, you see the (riders) at the start, and then they’re gone for a couple of hours,” Kaiser said. “Cyclocross is so entertaining for spectators because you can see multiple spots on the course. You will see people run from one side of the course to another.”
Fans will cheer, and some will make a lot more noise. Cowbells are common during cyclocross races. Fans will also often handout candy – from Gummy Worms to Red Vines – or even money to passing riders. Some racers and fans will even wear eye-catching costumes to add some fun.
“Cyclocross is a really spectator-friendly sport,” Fuss said. “It’s a very unique and fun atmosphere.” But very competitive. Racers in the Cyclocross District Championship could qualify for the national championship in December in Louisville, Kentucky.
“It’s the hardest form of racing, it’s all out,” Kaiser said. “There are so many things that make up the sport, from tire selection to gear selection.”
And Mother Nature often plays a part during the cyclocross season, which starts in the early fall and ends in the late winter.
“Hopefully, we will get some good, wet muddy conditions,” Kaiser said. “Sometimes (the course) is just a quagmire. The worst conditions, the better.” But the best part of cyclocross races? “You’re going to see adults act like kids,” Fuss said.