It is Go Time for Cascade Cross 2015! We're back in 'cross promoting action - refreshed and revitalized! Now is the moment where I lay down a bunch of exciting information to carry you into the series opener and beyond! So please pay attention - this is more than marketing fluff!

Woolley Cross starts us off with a classic course favorited by many long-time riders in the region. We are very excited to work with several organizations to launch our season in a fantastic way. First and foremost, Skagit County Parks for cooperating with us in hosting what can be a less-than-popular activity on public lands, especially when shared on a daily basis by many user groups with potentially conflicting interests -- e.g. dog walkers, frisbee golf players, horseback riders, bird watchers and other wildlife enthusiasts, cross-country runners, cyclists...

We always appreciate being allowed into any public park year after year, and we always do what we can to accommodate any concerns to continue that cycle. Do your part to minimize impact by removing garbage, using proper facilities, changing in your car and other discretions, don't stick your car in the mud, etc. - anything & everything that reflects respect for the park and its other users - and you can help ensure we get invited back next year!

Secondly, we have the debut of Team Racepace as your Woolley Cross hosts, assisting with course building, mowing & brushing, parking, kids racing, registration, scoring, and all the other little details we need a solid group of volunteers to help with and make the day run smooth! Thank you in advance, Collin and crew!

In fact, Collin helped me inspect the course this very morning before our ‘day jobs’ and help get all areas cleared with the Parks Maintenance Supervisor Mike McCutchin. Here's a panoramic view from the top of the “big” climb on the course, where it turns and becomes a twisting gravel descent. There is only a 85’ elevation gain/loss over one course lap (according to the Strava segment), but it wears on you, especially with the thick grass slowing you down in spots where you hope to recover. You have to stay on the gas a lot on this wide open course. Let's just hope there's no wind!

The gravel descents can catch you off guard at race speeds, so while there may not be much mud to require aggressive knobs, don't skimp on the cornering tread, or back off a little bit on your speed in those sections (or take a line closer to the grass). You can also see here some of the fog that typically hangs in the Skagit River Valley early in the morning this time of year, so come prepared for cool weather if you race early in the day, even if the forecast for later in the day is warmer. Your feet will get wet walking around in the grass, so think spare shoes & spare socks! The map on the event page also indicates a nice dike road on the hospital side of Hansen Creek that connects back to Hwy 20 or Fruitdale Rd. It's obvious in a Google satellite view and seems like a good place for your warmup!

Thirdly, we have the Whatcom Women of Cross clinic at 8:30am with Cycle U's Kristi Berg coming up north to coach/usher a bunch of new ladies into the cyclocross family fold, as well as forwarded registrations from the wind-affected WACX Festival in late August, making for a killer Women's Only race at 10:30am! Many of these women also bring their young children who will be excited to ride the skills park provided by Chris Mellick's RRAD Program then hop into their own Youth Race at 11:30am. We should be hearing a heck of a lot of cowbell during these two races from support dads, partners, family, friends, and everyone else. The great thing about cyclocross is you can make a day of enjoying your own race as a participant, then enjoying everyone else's experience as a spectator!

The kids love to ride Chris' obstacles over and over all day long. If they don't get enough, you can bring them up to Lake Padden on Sunday, Oct. 4th for Take A Kids MTB Day. It's pure awesome to witness women and children developing to incredible new levels in this sport - a sure sign of successful adoption of more aggressive styles of bike riding & racing into our culture. Good bike handling ability is a skill for life!

I'm also very excited (and a little bit apprehensive) about announcing my new friend called YANTS - Yet Another New Timing System! I want to inform you on how it will work, and also the motivation for switching from Red Tent Timing who did a fine job for us last year in our debut of using a chip system over hand scoring.

Cascade Cross has always provided our own results software except for the analog scoring at the finish line. We have the capability just not the equipment. Now we will be running our own chip timing system with rented hardware and volunteer operators, basically to save money since our field sizes barely justify chip timing and certainly don't cover the cost of hiring a professional timing company. However, rather than going back to hand scoring (which often is as close to a perfectionist's nightmare as you can come), we are going to try and trim costs by running our own system, as well as bumping up the race fee by $5 (plus another $5 deposit for the chip).

Woolley Cross is the test run, but it should be relatively seamless except for the $5 chip deposit which is good until you lose and need to replace your chip. That means it's good for the entire season! We plan to affix these to the backside of your normal jersey bib so you can pin them on like normal. The readers will NOT be overhead like other PNW series but instead recording data from the LEFT SIDE. So it's very important that, like always, you pin your number on your LEFT SIDE! Especially since there is a run-up on this course and you are likely to shoulder your muddy bike with sharp, hooking parts on your right side possibly dislodging your number and the chip with it, always pin your bib on the LEFT SIDE!

So pin it like this, with 'BELLINGHAM CX' at the bottom of the number lining up to your jersey's side seam. Just add bike clothes underneath for a more pleasant cyclocross experience. However, if you're training for SSCXWC in Victoria, pin it just as shown, direct to your flesh:

There is more to the story, but that will do for now. Recognize that Day Of Registration is now $35 plus a $5 chip deposit good for the whole season, so bring a pair of twenties and you should be set. Better yet, help support this series and treat yourself to a Series Pass!

We are also throwing a work party at the Bellingham BMX venue on Oct. 3rd from 10am to 2pm to dial in some new features, clean up and possibly add some bridges, thread course tape (actually rope) and other details in advance of the BBMX Race on Oct. 10th. Come on out! We might even through a practice race that afternoon!

Get dialed, stay tuned, and see you soon!