Get ready for Crosstoberfest at Transfer Beach

Expect to see a few Halloween costumes when Ladysmith hosts a Cross on the Rock cyclocross race Sun., Oct. 28.

Cyclists can prepare their tires for the upcoming Crosstoberfest Race Sun., Oct. 28 at Transfer Beach.

This event, which is part of the Cross on the Rock series, is for all levels of cyclists who want to come out to compete, have fun and dress up. With Halloween just a few days away, competitors are encouraged to dress up –— no need for a broomstick if a witch can have a bike!

“People tend to dress up in costumes and race hard. It’s really just a lot of fun, and because it is Halloween, it is a unique feature for people who race around Halloween,” said Tara Pollock, the local organizer of the event.

The race is great for people who want to challenge their bodies and have fun. The 2.5-kilometre route at Transfer Beach incorporates obstacles, stairs and the playground.

“It is not as intimidating as other cycling races that might be longer in length. It’s just a lot of fun, and it’s a big range of ages. There are grandmas and grandpas out there racing as well,” said Pollock, who says a team of volunteers have been working hard to make this year’s event great.

Cross on the Rock was started in 2005 by Normon Thibault, who has been racing for 10 years. He says cyclocross racing can occur on any terrain and include many different challenges.

“Cyclocross is a shorter race … it is basically a cross between road biking and mountain biking. It’s been around for over 100 years, but it’s only the last decade that it’s gotten more popular,” said Thibault, the series organizer. “We push that family event atmosphere, and it is very inclusive and we try to eliminate any negative attitude — it is just really friendly.”

Each year, participation numbers have increased. The biggest growth has been in the women’s and men over 50 categories, but Thibault says those groups are still underrepresented.

“We had a 45-per-cent increase, which was really cool, but it is showing that it is really underrepresented area and if we concentrate on it, we will see more people out. Female racing is typically really small,” he said.

A father himself, Thibault is happy to see how family-friendly the races have become. His three-year-old son participates in the races, along with his wife.

“It is exciting to see how family-oriented it has become. I can go out with my little guy, and he can race and my wife races and I race … it’s become a real community fixture in some places,” he said.

In celebration of Oktoberfest, bratwurst and beverages will be served to all the racers as part of their registration fee.

Competitors can register online.

Spectators are encouraged to come down and watch the Frankensteins, witches and other ghouly characters race.