Come out and cross the rock

Transfer Beach gearing up for first cyclocross race

Cyclocross is a fall/winter cycling race performed on a mountain or cyclocross bike. Participants go through an obstacle course of twists

It’s messy, muddy, and a whole lot of fun. It’s called cyclocross and it’s coming to Ladysmith on October 30.

Transfer Beach will be transformed into a mecca of jumps, twists, turns, and barrier tape for the sixth race of the 2011 Cross on the Rock series.

“We’ll be using a huge part of the Transfer Beach area; gravel, grass, pavement, beach, stairs, things like that,” said race co-ordinator Tara Pollock.

“It’s a really spectator-friendly event because it’s like a short track mountain bike race in that the course itself is between two to three kilometres in length, and they repeat laps of the course. The atmosphere of our races are really positive for beginners or anybody that just likes to ride a bike.”

Cyclocross is a cross-country-style of bike racing, performed on either a mountain or cyclocross bike.

“A typical cyclocross bike is like a road racing bike but it has nobby tires on it,” Pollock explained.

Cyclocross bikes are also geared differently and typically made with a lighter frame as riders need to carry the bike over jumps at certain points during the race.

“They may run through sand, and then they have to hop off their bike and put it on their shoulder and run up a flight of stairs, and that goes onto pavement so then they jump back on their bike and continue,” Pollock explained.

Cyclocross is a popular sport in Europe and particularly Belgium where huge festivals are held, Pollock said.

“It was meant to bridge the gap between the summer racing season into the winter time when the conditions get a little bit more mucky,” she said. “It’s a way to get some good racing in without having to go way into the hills or mountains when the conditions are not great.”

Cross on the Rock started six years ago and this year marks the first year it has been held in Ladysmith.

The first race (Beginners) starts at 11 a.m. Intermediate race starts at 12 p.m., the kids race at approximately 12:40 p.m., the open women and master’s men at 1 p.m. and the elite/expert race starts at 2:15 p.m.

Registration begins at 9 a.m. on race day and participants must register at least 30 minutes before their race. A special beginners clinic will take place at 10 a.m. and will include an introductory lesson and for those new to the sport.

The cost to register is $10 for beginners and $20 for intermediate to elite. Kids can register for free and all biking enthusiasts are encouraged to bring out their bikes and participate. Some of the proceeds from the event will be donated to a local charity.

“We’ve had participants in their late 70’s,” Pollock said. “It’s beginner friendly.”

For more information visit www.crossontherock.com or call 250-701-3064.

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