30 August 2014

The Central California Off-Road Cyclists, CCORC, otherwise affectionally pronounced as ‘cork’, put on Fresno’s Homegrown Cyclocross Series. This season will see three events at the Woodward Park venue: 9 November, 7 December, and 14 December, 2014. The locale is at the southern edge of the bicycle-racing district, or perhaps the northern edge of that district to the south. More than one person has described Fresno as an unwanted baby for both districts.

The small cyclocross series has its challenges yet does have a terrific place to race in Woodward Park. The layout has varying terrain, including grass, elevation changes, and a different course each race-day. It wants for an audience and wandering cyclocrossers would not meet with disappointment should they find themselves in Central California looking for a ‘cross race.

Picturesque Woodward Park

Picturesque Woodward Park

“The challenges are calendar, for one,” remarked Jeanae DuBois from the Homegrown Cyclocross Series. “We hold all our races on Sundays and that can be tricky from just regular weekend activities. We really cater to families with kid’s, junior’s, women’s, and men’s races. But we’re really trying to get more women and the youth involved. So the calendar can be a little bit tricky for us just exposing people to off-road cycling.

“We have large community of road cyclists in the valley but off-road is still coming of its own in the valley. Getting people to be brave enough to try it, and having the right equipment, continues to be a little bit of a challenge for us.”

“I would say most of our cyclocross athletes are roadies,” described DuBois. “They race road during spring and summer and then use cyclocross because they don’t want to get out of shape but they’re not ready to start training for the road season. They’re looking for something fun to do. We also have a Team Cup each year where there are series points teams can earn. That brings out the road teams as well.

“The comments we receive are our courses are a little bit more technical. We have a lot of varied terrain to work with out at Woodward Park. CCORC has garnered a really good relationship with the Park whereby we took an area of the park that was unused and unmanaged by the City. We have turned it into a recreation area and they allow us to do a lot more things in that area than might be the case otherwise. We are able to design our courses to have very varied terrain and provide people with challenges they wouldn’t see in other areas. We have gravel pits, we’re able to create water areas, and they allows us to put in barriers.

“One of the most common comments we hear is the courses are, if not more challenging, they are on par with other Norther California events.”

Edwin Rambuski Grits his Teeth at Woodward Park

Edwin Rambuski Grits his Teeth at Woodward Park

“This is my third year with the Homegrown Series,” continued DuBois. “I’ve tried to help the club really increase awareness of the event both from a local media perspective and also the local community. As I’ve become involved there is beginning to be a better awareness about the event. Using social media has been a huge tool for us to invite either new cyclists or families. We have people come out who don’t even ride or race bikes. The reception has been very good for cyclocross and really any cycling.”

“Our focus is really to attract children, women, and men to the sport of off-road riding. It’s really a fund-raiser for our organization. We’re mountain bikers so we’re really focused on getting trail access, trail advocacy, and maintaining trails. That’s what we use the money for. This is not a huge money-raiser for us but it’s our only organized fund-raiser for the year. The core and goal of Homegrown Cyclocross for CCORC is to introduce amateurs to the sport and help raise awareness and funds for off-road cycling while maintaining trail access.

“If people decide that off-road cycling is not for them then at least we got them on a bicycle.”

There is a refreshing aspect to Homegrown in its bent to bring in more and new cyclocross racers. The whole approach differs from some others that seem to want to carve away a portion of the pie yet only hope that the size of the pastry dish expands.

“There’s really something for everyone out there,” said DuBois in closing. “Our goal is to get entire families to come out, try it out, experience it, and have a good time.”

Who’s Lou?

29 August 2014

Unlike the stadium lighting at BASP Sierra Point and SCPS Spooky Kross, the Lou Fest Cyclocross Night Race is (mostly) lit by flashing course lights and lamps on bikes. In its tenth year, The Lou Fest is held at Fresno’s Woodward Park and this year runs in the evening of 8 November 2014.

“The Lou Night Fest is a race that I do in honor of my best friend that passed away in 2004 and that was Lou Casiano,” said event organizer JP Sickler of Sick Promotions. “He was the one that started promoting cycling many years ago here in the valley. He got me into promoting and I ended becoming USA Cycling’s Trials manager. I set up all the Nationals through the nineties and up until 2004. We used to build some pretty crazy stuff.

“Louie always liked to have unique events. He liked to have something a little bit different.”


“There are the 12-hour and 24-hour [mountain bike] races where they race out there at night and they have to have lights on their bikes,” continued Sickler. “I wanted the same thing. We decided to go with a cyclocross night race. I line the course with flashing lights barrier lights, about 250 of them. But you have to have lights on you [the racer] and your bike. So, the better lights you have the faster you can go.

“It just turned out so fun when we did this. It’s hard to explain but the aura, the atmosphere we have at that night is so unique. Everybody just turns into ‘Let’s have fun’, the racers go at it but it’s all about fun, and the crowd gets into it completely. It turns into a big party. Everybody has a great time. I hand out the awards when we’re all done so we can all celebrate together. It turns in mayhem at that point too.”

“We started off the first six or 7 years with about fifty or sixty riders. Two years ago we hit 100 riders and this past year we went up to 156. We probably had over 750 people watching. This year I have the OK from the Park to put it in a whole different spot. [From there] you could stand at the start finish line and watch 60% of the race. I’m excited about the site change.

“About half of the spectators last year don’t race bikes. This year we’re going to be plugged in a lot more to get even more spectators out there. We’re going to doing a lot of PR on [social media]. I am getting on TV locally with three morning shows. That way we’ll have a lot of people out there watching, getting some experience, and seeing what cycling’s all about. The Lou has turned into an incredible event.”

This year sees the inaugural California State Cyclocross Series that includes The Lou Fest on its schedule. “It’s all the events that are the most fun,” remarked Sickler. “Dorothy Wong is putting together a whole California series that is more about the events than the sanctioning. She’s been wanting to do something like this and now seems the right time.”

The Lou Fest has a $2,000 purse with equal prize monies for both genders. Talley Timing will provide chip timing as keeping track of racers is hard enough even during daylight.

More information on The Lou Fest is available at the event’s web site.

Details for The California State Cyclocross Series appears at their web site.

Guess Who’s Coming Out to Play

28 August 2014

A new team on the block…introducing CX Nation. Return soon for an announcement from Brian Staby and company. Stay tuned also for news on this season’s ‘cross series, Chris Neher, Lou Night Fest, Squids, a really nifty Masters team, and more.

Just the spot to contemplate NorCalNevada Cyclocross for 2014

Just the spot to contemplate NorCalNevada Cyclocross for 2014

Sagebrush Cyclocross – Brief Update

13 August 2014

Erica Greif and the Sagebrush Cyclocross Series updated their season’s calendar today. The information will appear soon on their website but is relayed here and on the Fit and Filthy Calendar page. ‘Cross clinics on 13 September open the account for Sagebrush with the first of six weekend events at Reno’s Peavine Creek Dam on 20 September. The series includes a 2-day USAC omnium at Hidden Valley and Truckee Bike Park, respectively on 11 and 12 October, and a night race back in Reno.

Peavine Creek Dam, Reno – 20 September 2014
Hidden Valley (2-day omnium), Reno – 11 October 2014
Truckee Bike Park (2-day omnium), Truckee – 12 October 2014
Mayor’s Park Night Race sponsored by JetLites, Reno – 25 October 2014
Davis Creek, New Washoe City – 8 November 2014
Clayton Middle School, Reno – 22 November 2014

Gird Your Loins West Sac

12 August 2014

California’s capital has a terrific cyclocross scene: it has a season-long series in SacCX and mid-week pick-ups. Past years have seen terrific events came out of the area with the LangeTwins venue, naked ‘cross racing, and racing under lights.

One may say almost out of nowhere but this district’s season begins with the inaugural West Sacramento Cyclocross Grand Prix presented by Cedaron. The 6 September event, dreamed up and put into place by Matthew Hargrove and cohorts, plans to go big with UCI racing in the future. Along with the Clark Natwick Grand Prix and Tom Simpson striving for a Pilarcitos Cyclesports/Bay Area Super Prestige Cyclocross-UCI event, Northern California may well see two UCI races, one either side of ‘Cross Vegas.

Sacramento's "Golden" Tower Bridge - Photo Credit Jeff Namba

Sacramento’s “Golden” Tower Bridge – Photo Credit Jeff Namba

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Cyclocross Abbondanza!

11 August 2014

This is Mega! This season will see a California Cyclocross Championship Series!

Dorothy ‘Dot’ Wong is putting together a pan-California series with an emphasis on the flavors of cyclocross events across the State. Already signed up and opening the series is the West Sacramento Cyclocross Grand Prix presented by Cedaron on 6 September 2014 with BASP/Pilarcitos Cyclesports’ Clark Natwick GP (21 September) the second event on the schedule. For now, a complete schedule remains under development but could see up to eight events. New events may come from either end of the state.

Current California Cyclocross Championship
6 September – West Sacramento Grand Prix presented by Cedaron, West Sacramento (USAC)
21 September – Clark Natwick Grand Prix, BASP, Candlestick Point (USAC)
26 October – Spooky Kross, SoCalCross Prestige Series/SCPS, Orange
8 November – The Lou Fest CX Night Race, Fresno
16 November – SLO Cross Weekend, SCPS, Luis Obispo (USAC)
29 November – UCI CXLA Weekend, SCPS, Los Angeles (USAC)

One Bear to Rule Them All

One Bear to Rule Them All

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Karen Brems Continues to Race, Continues to Win

7 August 2014

Across Northern California, rainbow-stripes graced many an event during last season’s cyclocross racing, such is the strength and depth of racers from the region. One rider to sport a Masters World Champion jersey was Karen Brems (Team Rambuski Law). A college gymnast and former Directeur Sportif at Webcor, Brems became the 1994 Time Trial World Champion at the inaugural Women’s event in Italy. Brems was also an olympian at the 2000 Sydney games and has won two consecutive 50+ Masters World Championships (2012, 2013) and a Master 50-54 National Championship at Verona, Wisconsin (2013).

A search on the interwebs may take one to the Wiki site for Karen Kurreck. There Brems is described as “a retired female racing cyclist from the United States”. Clearly not the case, the TRL racer is a superb and oft-winning member of the regional cyclocross community.

Still Cycling, Still Racing, Brems Approaches the Belgium Farm Wall at Stafford Lake

Still Cycling, Still Racing, Brems Approaches the Belgium Farm Wall at Stafford Lake

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