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

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

Sowing the Seed
Cyclocross is undoubtedly growing as a sport in the region yet the local ‘cross community may retain a nagging feeling that this is still little known and a less appreciated discipline of bicycle-racing. In its inaugural year, though, WSCXGP will catch the uninitiated by surprise. There is little else for spectators to witness a family-centric occasion, plus sportpersonship that swings quickly from the remorseless to the embracing, yet has huge tinges from the edges of social order.

The West Sac CXGP promises to become an local ambassador for the sport and those that have yet to witness a ‘cross event will do well to gird up their loins.

“We created the opportunity,” remarked Hargrove, “when myself, Emily Kachorek, Patrick, Marty Woy, and Pete Knudsen talked last year about it would be fun to put together a race. I took the idea to the Parks and Rec Department of West Sacramento who immediately embraced the idea. They said they would not only support the idea but co-sponsor the event. They just welcomed it with open arms.

“I grew up in West Sacramento so I think any positive opportunity that this race presents we hope the city will run with it. West Sac has a very active city council and a bunch of folks like myself who live there. West Sac is doing a lot of cool stuff and this just fits within that, being an up and coming active city.

“A big piece of why the event looks the way it does is specifically to draw in new people to watch the sport. My friends and I who race ‘cross wanted to put together a fun race. The River Walk Park is going to be a really fun place with that urban feel. We’re having a hospitality tent that is sponsored by the local nano-brewery Bike Dog, several of them are out at the Gheto ‘Cross races on Wednesday nights.

“We’re also partnered with the Chamber of Commerce for a food truck ‘festival’ including three or four food trucks. We’re trying to have a stage with live bands playing during the Pro races.”

Nice Punk
“All of those elements were thought of because we thought it would be fun,” continued Hargrove, “and ‘cross offers that opportunity to get creative and do fun things. We also know that all of those elements, the nano-brewery culture, the food-truck culture, the live bands, all have their own [following]. As they’re now part of this event the participants will get the word out to their own fans and followers who will come to the River Walk Park

“They’ll hear some nice (Ed. comment: ‘nice?’) Punk Rock playing down at the race, they’ll have a pita from a food truck in their hand, and a Bike Dog beer. They’ll watch all these crazy folks going by on bicycles. I think that would be so much fun to have just a band up there playing some fast, fun punk music and Pro racers flying by at the same time. We think it’s going to be a natural, fun fit. We’re consciously trying to bring in folks with a natural affinity for liking the sport.

“If we get a good turn-out of racers who walk away thinking it was a super tough course, that in and of itself is a success. Above and beyond that, it is a success if we get spectators out to this who have never been to a ‘cross race and get exposed to the sport. The real test is if the City of West Sac and the West Sac Chamber of Commerce, who have gone out on a limb and never seen cyclocross before, say let’s do this again.”

And there’s the anticipation. At the event, spectators and supporters of the event alike will discover all about the magnificent spectacle of cyclocross for the first time. This event is expected to have a festival atmosphere, the regions racers will show their mettle, and long-time ‘cross fans will parade high jinks, hand-ups, and heckling in front of newcomers. Hitch up those loose garments the West Sac GP is coming!

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