You’ll find community, costumes and cyclocross this Sunday at Transfer Beach.
Ladysmith hosts Crosstoberfest, the fourth race in the Cross on the Rock series, Sunday, Oct. 27, starting at 11 a.m.
This will be the third year Cross on the Rock cyclocross series comes to Ladysmith.
“It’s by far our most beautiful venue we use,” said Normon Thibault, who organizes the race series with Wendy Simms and the Council of Cross. “Even if it’s bad weather, it’s very picturesque. We have a great course mapped out. Every year, Mike and Tara Pollock refine the course, and it’s just been getting better and better.”
Thibault says the kids’ course at Transfer Beach is one of the better ones because it’s so central, and the atmosphere is fun because the race is so close to Halloween.
“A lot of people race in costumes; there’s been some crazy costumes over the years, which makes it a little more fun too,” he said.
Crosstoberfest was the second-most popular race in the Cross on the Rock series in 2012, with 208 racers.
The Cross on the Rocks series as a whole has been growing each year. The first Island Cup Series was held in 2006 with 159 riders and has increased each year. There were 331 participants in 2011, and that number jumped to 438 in 2012.
Thibault thinks the family-friendly and competitive-but-not-cutthroat atmosphere helps makes cyclocross popular.
“The races are hard, but they’re not super long so you don’t have to train a lot,” he said. “You can do a race with minimal fitness. You can do well without a lot of training. People make fun of themselves, but they also want to do well. It accommodates such a wide range of people, and nobody really cares. It’s competitive, but that’s not the main focus. The main focus is just going out and having fun. It’s just not cutthroat.”
“We just want to keep the focus on fun events, a safe environment and atmosphere where families can come,” he added. “We have families where all four or five people are racing throughout the day. That to us is super, super cool since both Wendy and I have kids. It provides a really cool introductory environment for more families to get into bike racing.”
Pollock, the local organizer of the event, says Crosstoberfest has grown over the years, and with the way the Cross on the Rocks races have been going so far this year, she thinks it’s going to be another big number.
Pollock thinks the location has a lot to do with Crosstoberfest’s popularity.
“Transfer Beach is absolutely beautiful, so when people come to race, they’re racing by the ocean and all kinds of terrain,” she said. “The location is also very central. We’ve gotten rave reviews of Transfer Beach overall as a course — it has beach, hills, mud, everything the racers like.”
This year, a number of new sponsors have come on board to make Crosstoberfest even more of a community event.
Old Town Bakery will supply cinnamon buns as prizes, and the Ladysmith Lions Club will serve bratwurst to fit the Crosstoberfest theme — and they’ll be using meat from Bouma Meats.
Wolf Brewing in Nanaimo is sponsoring the beer garden, while Black and White Coffee in Crofton and Cowichan Cycles are also involved.
“It’s really a community-driven event,” said Pollock. “The Town of Ladysmith has been great too in putting this together.”
Crosstoberfest takes place Sunday, Oct. 27 at 11 a.m. at Transfer Beach. A beginner clinic will take place at 10:15 a.m. Once the racing gets going, there will be categories for beginner men and women, youth men and women, intermediate men and women, children younger than 12, masters men, open women, and expert.
Anyone interested in participating can register online. There is registration on the day of the race at 10 a.m., but Pollock encourages people to pre-register, as it will make everything go quicker.