Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Greetings, mud fans. I hope the steady rainstorms the past few weeks have made you as excited for genuine 'cross conditions as they have made me! I've got some key information for the upcoming races over the next two Saturdays.
First, if you missed the memo, we are headed back to Bellingham BMX this weekend for our 2nd race of the season. Why? Because after an excellent season opener there in mostly dry conditions, everyone asked for it! The track is in such good shape, and we put so much work into it over the past 1.5 years (including Mother Nature's own conditioning), it seemed like a crying shame to leave it alone for another year. We don't know what the soil will be like in the middle of winter - as we saw last November, it can get pretty saturated out there - but for now it's running solid! The dirt is still firm and holding up well, along with all the grass that came in, and water is moving off the grounds quickly. With the unseasonably warm weather we've been seeing, it's also just plain drying out.
Here's a nice write-up from Oct. 4th with photos from the Naked Racing Team out of Victoria, BC who came down to dominate some single-speed categories for the weekend. Contrast those conditions with late September 2013 when we first tested out the track. It was too wet to document, but it was comparable to #derailleurgate 2013 in Buffalo, NY. We've come a long ways from that anomaly of conditions!
This photo is from last Sunday in a swampy section we had to cover late last season because it was completely unrideable. Now we're ripping up the janky old plywood bridges to actually uncover some moist, loose dirt for you to play with!
So come on out and enjoy this track for another round, in the other direction. We're holding onto the Northern State Recreation Area in Sedro Woolley as a backup in our quiver of excellent venues should something fall through later in the season. Or even add a bonus date in January to help push the PNW season into the real 'cross weather. Stay tuned for that news!
The next item is concerning our new chip system from Red Tent Timing. We had some misreads at the last race and want to get that resolved. The theory is the disposable chips embedded on the back of the shoulder number were getting wrinkled depending on how they were pinned, and it ruined the signal. So the good team at Red Tent upgraded their hardware and ran some tests with multiple units on helmets and trailer bikes in the rain (pictured below). These chips are not disposable! They are actually $10 a piece. But they're pretty much weatherproof and the signal is proving rock solid in all conditions. So we'll be mounting these bad boys to your helmets for the next race. Please re-use your big bib for your back if you already have one. We will still be doing back-up hand scoring. The shoulder numbers are out for now. We could only afford to order about 300 of these, so not enough for everyone to use once and take home this season. So we will be asking for a $10 deposit at registration to make sure you come back after your race and return it. Thanks for working with us on this new system, and thanks to Trey & Camille for stepping up their game to make their system work for cyclocross!
Now, to get those elusive same-day, accurate results that we seek, we're going to have to ask you to pre-register, or register early on the Day Of! We need a half-hour before your race to get everyone into the timing system. Can you do that? Good, I knew you could.
Other new rules I gotta lay down - a little squirrel out on the Guide Meridian told me some locals have been poaching the cyclocross permacourse when the facility is closed. That's not kewl, folks! This is private property, not a public park. You need to pay to play or we can't cover the dang rent! Furthermore, parking at neighboring businesses or residences is definitely not cool! Some of these neighbors were negative about the county permitting this facility in the first place. They were worried about noise, lights, and... rogue vehicles in their driveway!? Do you really want to be the guy that made Bellingham BMX lose their permit? The rules for practicing are stated on this weekend's race page and are pretty simple - when the gate is open for either BMX racing/practice, or we're out their working for CX. No freeloading! We'll work on a club-type access if that's what people are really clamoring for, but I had not heard many requests of this type. I thought I made this rule pretty clear - please honor it.
What else? We've got the Jack's Bicycle Center/Homegrown Racing Team working hard to organize our Border Clash out at the Transition Bikes headquarters. That venue has become another favorite we have right here in our home county - lots of good interesting features to challenge you. I'm excited to see what they've mixed up out there while I've been busy dialing down the BBMX venue. Of course, you probably figured out it's not a double-header anymore. I wrote about that extensively in the Sept. 12th post below. We're going with the flow here - dropping races that don't quite fit, but as I said above, adding new ones when the opportunity arises.
Speaking of which - we're tentatively adding a race, so those 2014 Series Passes which are on sale until this Friday are still looking like a great price for consistent racers out there! To further sweeten the deal, we arranged a group discount for Series Pass holders to go see a bike-centric circus act called Cirque Mechanics: Pedal Punk at the Mount Baker Theatre last week. So we're finding ways to show that membership has its privileges.
Keeping it fresh, keeping it rich, keeping it real - that's Cascade Cross!
See you out there,