Record Number of Women Race Cross in SoCal, Ohio Valley
Cyclocross has exploded due to the efforts of SoCalCross.com’s Dorothy Wong and Jeff Herring. Over the past few years, races have grown from around 150 to 400 yesterday at Oak Canyon Park, near Irvine Lake in Orange County. The race, number 3 in the SoCalCross Prestige Series, was produced by Team Velocity of Fullerton, California.
What made the Velocity Cross so much different than any other Cyclocross race in Southern California was the number of women to show up and race, 40 women toed the line in the amateur categories consisting of Category 3 and 4 women and Master’s 35+. “It was crazy! bumping, pile ups, traffic jams, but no crashes!” exclaims Carlyn Oropez of Team SoCalCross.
At the start of the race, Dorothy Wong took to the mic to rouse the fans and racers. ”Thank you Ladies!” Thanks need to go out to Wong, however, for her undying love and evangelism for the sport of Cyclocross. For the past 2 years, Dorothy has produced a Cyclocross “Early Bird Happy Hour Tour”. The Tour consists of visits to bike shops who host clinics and informational sessions. Some weeks 3 Happy Hours fill the schedule, and the tent meetings go from Ventura all the way to San Diego. Special clinics on the weekend have also produced large numbers of not only racers and neophytes in general, but women.
SoCal is not the only area seeing a huge surge in women’s Cyclocross numbers. The Bay Area California has long been a hotbed for female ‘crossers, but the MidWest is seeing large increases as well. Karen Wells-Hamilton of Bio-Wheels Racing comments, “The Ohio Valley Cyclocross series is busting at the seams! We had a great turnout for the ladies 3/4 field – only had 3 juniors pass me – now thats a good race.”
Cross is alluring to women because the race is short, the courses are rideable (meaning no treacherous technical sections) and the atmosphere is laid back and fun. “I died a thousand deaths out there,” claims Wells-Hamilton, “but kept backing off & regrouping to charge again. Its amazing how tired you can get and still make it to the finish!” For all of us out there, we share the sentiment that it hurts, but it is likely the most fun you will ever have in pain.
Most Cross racers are ending their serious seasons in mountain biking and road racing to kick back and socialize and have fun. For the serious racers, the Category 1,2,3 races offer intense competition between Pros, retired Pros and the future Pros. For Master’s 35+ winner Sue Thompson (PAA), she thinks “it’s great this sport keeps growing each year, especially in the women’s field. ” For Thompson, SoCal Mountain Bike Champion, it’s certainly a boost to see the fields grow, improving the competition.
Stay tuned for more information and stories about Velocity Cross!