The fit race 'cross and 'cross gets 'em filthy!

West Sac to go Big Time ‘Cross

13 June 2014

Le Seizième it is not but the western bank of the Sacramento River, just south of the confluence, is home for the latest cyclocross race coming into the NorCalNevada region. The River Walk Park is a narrow strip of land opposite Old Town Sacramento, with trees and grass, that becomes the venue for the West Sacramento Cyclocross Grand Prix on 6 September 2014. Race promoters are Matt Hargrove and Marty Woy of the recently founded NORCAL Cyclocross Association.

Striving for the big time, their intention is to also develop the event into a UCI race in a couple of years!

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

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

Through the connections of Matt Hargrove, the race has good local support and sponsorship from the city of West Sacramento and the West Sacramento Chamber of Commerce. “They’re really behind this race 100%,” reported organizer Emily Kachorek. “It’s just been awesome to work with them. The race probably wouldn’t be happening without their support. We certainly will have other sponsors; we have some in the works but none nailed down.”

The USAC race will feature a prize purse comparable to other UCI races. “It will be the biggest prize course in Northern California,” was one vaunt from Kachorek. Prizes will be distributed equally for both genders, if not tilted more toward double-xers.

Among the many motivations for putting on the event, such as community growth for the sport, municipal prestige, or promoting a West Coast ‘cross culture, bringing in a UCI race stands out. Along with the UCI plans of Tom Simpson and BASP/Pilarcitos Cyclesports, the region is certain to see more big ‘cross races. And just like BASP, the timing of the event revolves around ‘Cross Vegas; it could bring a traffic of top-notch cyclocross talent yo-yoing in and out of Northern California. The earlier West Sacramento GP will position itself well as a tune-up for ‘Cross Vegas.

The elongated course will see the mostly grass and some good off-camber pitch. It will be strung together with the forte of Cody and Bruce Kaiser and may see a portion go through a gigantic beer tent. The September, central-California date is not too much of a worry for organizers as the locale has plenty of shade from trees and sits right next to the river. It will benefit from the water’s cooling effect and probably avoid becoming a hot and dusty course, as is often the state of affairs for the region at that time of year.

Sitting on the opposite bank of the river is one of Sacramento’s popular tourist destinations. One could “finish the race, walk across the golden [Tower] Bridge, and be in Old Town [Sacramento],” remarked Kachorek. “Again, we’re hoping people from Old Town are also going to walk across the river to our race. We’re super excited about the venue.”

This added attention to spectators as well as cyclocross racers is another positive. The event should seem more like a festival with a cyclocross race, given the additional attractions of possibly one of the best bicycle-racing announcers, live music, local micro-breweries, and food trucks. (SactoMoFo regularly puts on street food events.) A large banner to tempt nearby tourists and separate community marketing all aim at bringing in the crowds.

For the regional bicycle-racing community, the West Sacramento Cyclocross Grand Prix, both this year and in the future, will provide an excellent way to break that 6-month fast from cyclocross racing.

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