Well, we did it. We seem to have timed it perfectly. The intent was to hold off on hosting at Bellingham BMX until we got some moisture. And after several weeks of work parties with tractors and chain harrows and dozens of shovels, Mother Nature did to our dry, bumpy ground on Wednesday what twenty people and their machines could not. It simply rained.
A women's practice clinic was held that evening and they had a fantastic time playing in the mud (see our Facebook page for some photos), with Kristi Berg coming up last minute to coach. They reported, after a day of solid rain, that it was just enough mud to make it interesting. Not that it wasn't interesting already! We've got rolling hills, twisty turns, tight forest with tacky dirt, stairs, barriers, sand... a bunch of cool & classic elements to make for an interesting & challenging lap. However, this is cyclocross, a fall sport, and we want it squishy and mucky and cool, and that's what we've finally got!
Do not be concerned that this is going to turn into a derailleur-sucking nightmare as we have experienced in the past after a month-long drenching. 2015 has been an epic drought year for Washington (and much of the West). You do not turn a desert into a swamp overnight! So we are in fact ecstatic to have possibly the first true cyclocross conditions for our 2015 Bellingham BMX debut this weekend!
That being said, the forecast is for about 1/2 inch of rain on Saturday. So come prepared with your knobby tires, your real fall clothes, your tent, your AWD drive vehicle to get out of the field (if you have one)... it could be a very interesting day! When that top layer of clay gets slick, it can fill your tires quickly and make cornering like riding on an ice rink. Now, we have a bunch of grass which will offset that pure, hardpack dirt experience. We also have a short section of fresh trail in the woods that has not been packed yet (that's your job), so be prepared for the real deal out there!
There is much more detail on the race page, including updated maps and images for you to peruse.
I'm also excited to have our act followed by the ever-popular WMBC Shoot the Trails event on Saturday night, a fundraiser for all the massive trail building efforts in Whatcom County. This show often sells out (even though they're now at an expanded venue at Bellingham Tech College), so here's what I'm going to do. I am bringing 12 event tickets to Bellingham BMX. There will be a holeshot prize for each adult category, from the start line at the BMX track up until the tight 180 degree turn in the woods - essentially, the top of the course. There is orange fencing there to indicate the corner. I will have a representative there dangling the ticket. First tire over the tight root line gets the ticket! You may grab and pocket it or collect it at Registration. And do not drive off with this ticket unused in your pocket -- they are too valuable at that point! Trade it for Kulshan Beer in the beer garden!
Now a word from our sponsors...
Darren Clark, former vice-president of the WMBC for over a decade and stalwart of the forest on many build projects, has stepped up with his Farmers Insurance agency to become the season sponsor of the CX track at Bellingham BMX. His wife Caroline will be out on race day to check out the scene (he's also a crab fisherman and it's peak season), but you can bet Darren will be out with us next spring adding features to the venue to support future projects such as short-track mountain bike racing, kids mountain bike clinics, and maybe even some dirt jumps! Once a trail builder, always a trail builder. We appreciate the years of dedication Darren has put in to our bike community and his continued support for off-road cycling. I personally have my renter's insurance and home owners insurance serviced through his office in Fairhaven, so I can honestly recommend them!
Next up, I'd like to introduce to you dangerous bike racers our new medic and body-working volunteer on staff, Dr. Adam Phaneuf!
Adam has just moved to Bellingham and joined the staff at Performance Health Northwest (also where I have received great physical therapy from Erik DeRoche, himself a bike racer). He enjoys the race atmosphere and supporting athletes. You can visit his tent if you want some overall body care, talk about a particular issue, or if you receive damages from the race course for a medical assessment. He already helped patch up a few riders who did not handle the gravel corners well at Woolley Cross, so Adam has become a huge asset by becoming a regular support person for us! Thank you, Adam!
Lastly, but not least, I want to talk about Charlie Heggem and his company, Cirrus Cycles. He has been hopping around the cycling scene for decades as a pro racer and promoter, but now with this product he is introducing something pretty revolutionary. It is an isolation seat post called the BodyFloat. He put one under me on my Trek Crockett just a few weeks ago when I was working on the summer-hardened turf at Bellingham BMX. It immediately made a difference in comfort & control. I raced it at Woolley Cross which, for me (not traveling to the early season MFGs), felt like a bumpy nightmare. It did not eliminate the bumps, but it certainly took some edge off! If this unseasonably warm & dry fall weather continues in the Pacific Northwest, this may become mandatory early 'cross season equipment! And since I use my 'cross bike to ride mountain trails and gravel roads with washboards- and potholes-galore, I will be keeping this demo unit on my bike as long as Charlie allows me.
Charlie is going to be helping out at the races this year with timing, parking, coffee running, and anything else needed. He also raced very well pretty much off the couch and flew by me like I didn't know what I was doing, earning himself 2nd place in a stacked Master Men B field. You can stop by his tent and learn more about the physics behind his product (not my domain, I just enjoy riding it). He is also donating several of these to our prize coffers which we give away at the end of the season party, often awarded to those who race all the races and survive a gauntlet of competitions at the end of the night!
Thanks to everyone who is stepping up to support the series and keep it healthy & fun for everyone. I'm going to get back to learning this Orbiter timing system on top of prepping the course. See you out there!