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!

OH NO!!! Brakes never work on the 'Cross bike! Karen Wells-Hamilton careening towards the off-camber in Louisville! (We're always having fun!)
OH NO!!! Brakes never work on the 'Cross bike! Karen Wells-Hamilton careening towards the off-camber in Louisville! (We're always having fun!)
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SoCalCross Race #1 Unification Cup @ Bonelli Park in San Dimas, CA

sccxHomeLogoShimanoThe first race of the season is always a shocker to the system, however, at least we had the voice of mountain biking Larry Longo to soothe our burning brains.  Putting all of the pieces together- the new bike, the mounts and dismounts, the running, the gearing, the brakes that don’t stop.  Add sweltering 95 degree heat, and some grass, and a slippery run up, and you have SoCalCross race #1.

My race went a little like this: start hard and fast, break up the field, then… overheat.  Stop in the wheel pit for some water, cool down, and do it all over again.  This race was so hard. And not because of anything except the heat. I was never able to get back in to my groove.  I stopped in the wheel pit twice each lap to get water, which cost me plenty of time, but I was all to happy to take 3rd behind Coryn Rivera and Kendall Ryan- our best juniors who just returned from racing in Europe.  Keeping it in perspective: these girls are in race fitness, regardless of it being their first cross race of the season.  My friend Dorothy Wong, the Queen of Cross, finished just behind me in 4th.

The women’s 3/4, 35+ field had over 30 racers toe the line, them most women I have seen racing cyclocross in SoCal.  Mountain Biker Christina Probert Turner handily won the women’s 3/4 race on the technical course, with Angela Wimberly (IE Bikes) and Sarah Brodsky (Bicycle John’s Serious Cycling) in second and third. Rounding out the podium were Hannah Rae Finchap and Time Trial specialist Becky Siegel.

Kahala Lagrange rider Amy Hutner ended second behind Maria Fahie in the women’s 35+.  Robin McDonald Foley made a strong showing against the younger ladies in 3rd, with Celo Pacific’s mom and cross racer Denorah Lawson taking 4th. The podium was rounded out by 5th place Christine Lisnock.

Full race results can be found here

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In San Diego, Women Ride Cyclocross : CX Clinic for women by LunaChix and SoCalCross

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Cyclocross Bike P*rn: Cannondale CX9

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Brown Mountain and El Prieto after 2009 Station Fire in Angeles National Forest

Sun sets on charred trees on Brown Mountain, Angeles National Forest.
Sun sets on charred trees on Brown Mountain, Angeles National Forest.
Sunset on Brown Mountain after the Station Fire.
Sunset on Brown Mountain after the Station Fire.
the Cannondale CX9 looks out over the burn on Brown Mountain.
the Cannondale CX9 looks out over the burn on Brown Mountain.
Millard campground, saved! from the Station Fire! Great work, firefighters!
Millard campground, saved! from the Station Fire! Great work, firefighters!
Brown Mountain, our most popular fire road climb in the Angeles National Forest, burned to bits by the Station Fire 2009.
Brown Mountain, our most popular fire road climb in the Angeles National Forest, burned to bits by the Station Fire 2009.

Looking into the burn on Brown Mountain, Los Angeles National Forest, Station Fire

Looking into the burn on Brown Mountain, Los Angeles National Forest, Station Fire
El Prieto, where we drop in.
El Prieto, where we drop in.
El Prieto mountain bike trail in the Angeles National Forest after the Station Fire.
El Prieto mountain bike trail in the Angeles National Forest after the Station Fire.
Brown Saddle, Brown Mountain, Angeles National Forest after the 2009 Station Fire.
Brown Saddle, Brown Mountain, Angeles National Forest after the 2009 Station Fire.
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Bob Roll to headline CycleFest Gala and Benefit Dinner

SoCalLogo

The SoCal Interscholastic Cycling League is proud to announce that Bob Roll will headline the CycleFest Gala and Benefit Dinner at the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California on 21 November 2009.  The SoCal League was officially launched in 2008 during Interbike, the bicycle industry trade show that ensonces Las Vegas for a week each September. The League founders and leaders, including now President Matt Gunnell, were hoping to have 4 teams for the 2008-2009 season, however, demand for the League snowballed and the final race saw almost one hundred riders from 16 teams.

Matt Fritzinger started the NorCal High School Mountain Bike League 7 years ago as a high school math teacher at Berkeley High School. Since that year, the league has grown to 40 teams and several hundred students. The model of the league is to create a family festival atmosphere and give students alternatives to high school sports. Most high school sports have try-outs, mountain biking is inclusive to everyone, making it a great way to involve more students who would otherwise never participate in a sport in school.  In 2008, Fritzinger met both Quintin Easton and Matt Gunnell, who helped bring the dream to Southern California.  Fritzinger is now the Executive Director of both the NorCal League and the newly formed National League.

The CycleFest Dinner is designed to raise awareness and funds to run the Leagues programs, including rider camps, races and more.

For more information visit socaldirt.org

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SoCal Cross Happy Hour @ JensonUSA

The tent meetings continue to draw record numbers of ‘crossers new and old to get pumped about cyclocross.  What is cyclocross? It is essentially a cross between road and mountain bike racing.  The bike looks like a road bike from afar, yet up close you will see thick knobby tires, smaller gearing, a more upright position and mud-clearing brakes.  The course is usually around about 1 mile, and racers ride the course for a designated period of time. The one with the most laps in the fastest time, wins.

My good friend and neighbor, Dorothy Wong, is the most profound Cyclocross Evangelist I know.  Most ‘crossers are dedicated to their sport, and do not hesitate to spread the good word to all they know.  However, Dorothy is a special breed of cyclovangelist.  She dedicates her entire life to ‘Cross, and it is for one reason only= her pure love of the sport.

Last night I joined along for the ride to Ontario for the SoCalCross Happy Hour at JensonUSA.  Along with the JensonUSA team who were beautifully poised on Yeti cross bikes, beginners and experienced racers alike rode the streets of Ontario and practiced in a local schoolyard the skills and art of cross. We practiced our mounts, dismounts, run ups and barriers, and everyone rejoiced.

If you live in SoCal, and have not yet been to one of the SoCalCross Happy Hour events, here is a calendar so you can see when and where we will be!

namaste
-mtbchick

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Have questions about cycling, mountain biking, equipment, or anything bike-life related? Send it over to mtbchick, and we’ll get you dialed in!

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