Cyclocross racers can double up

NANAIMO – The Cross on the Rock series will hold a local doubleheader, starting with the Kona Kup race Saturday (Nov. 7) at Beban Park.

This is the weekend cyclocross racers wait for all year.

The Cross on the Rock series will hold a local doubleheader, with the Kona Kup provincial championship race Saturday (Nov. 7) at Beban Park, then the My Little Pony Cross the following day at Nanoose Bay’s Arbutus Meadows Equestrian Centre.

Organizers are anticipating lots of willing riders.

“Our last three races were all our biggest out of any of the races we’ve put on, and bigger than anything else that’s ever happened in Canada,” said Norm Thibault, race director.

The Nanaimo event will be back at Beban. Organizers wanted to mix things up after a few years down the road at Bowen Park, and like the amenities available at Beban. The course has been “tightened up” to make it more spectator-friendly.

“It’s deceptively difficult,” Thibault said. “It’s kind of rough. It’s in a park, but it’s not a groomed park like Bowen is … so it’s just a little bit rougher, a little bit more jungle-cross style.”

The conditions are sure to be challenging, and that’s how cyclocross racers like it.

“A lot of people have been looking forward to just a little bit more true cyclocross winter conditions. I know I’m looking forward to it,” Thibault said. “The more mud the better, the harder the better, the more challenging the better. But you also don’t want to discourage the family aspect and the beginners.”

Newcomers are always welcome and the there are now two different kids’ divisions to better suit a range of skill levels. As for the beginners’ racing, Thibault said at the last event, the male beginners’ race featured riders aged eight to 69, while the female race included riders aged 10 to 55.

“All racing against each other. So it’s super cool,” he said.

For both the Kona Kup race and the My Little Pony Cross, registration will be held on site starting at 9:15 a.m. and the main-event races go at 2:15 p.m. For more information or to pre-register online, please visit www.crossontherock.com.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com