Last year, Thurston on her way to her first cyclocross win in the Socal vs. Norcal Cyclocross Championships. © Tim Westmore
With $5000 in cash and prizes on the line, a state champ jersey, a drum line, beer tent and more fun than one can fit into a weekend, the California ’cross season comes to a resounding finale for riders in the golden state as the Nor Cal vs. So Cal State Cyclocross Championships takes place January 20th, in Bakersfield, CA. The event came to fruition about 10 years ago in the mind of Sam Ames (race director) as a way to bring riders from the state together to celebrate ’cross, have a bit of a throw down, but mostly have a good time. “We have a fantastic venue and course. I wanted to share it with as many riders and fans as I could. I love ’cross so I wanted to create a big, cool event and celebrate the deep talent California has in the sport” says Ames. “I used to go north way back then, that was the only ’cross racing. I’d think nothing of driving to Santa Cruz for a Sunday race, get beat to death and come home and wish I could share my stomping ground with other riders. ’Cross has grown so much in all parts of the state, it was time to bring this thing to life!” Along with partner Keith Barnden, SAMBARN promotions and the Kern Wheelmen Bicycle Club is hosting the two day event. Hart Park is the location which has a world class ’cross course and venue and has hosted ’cross races since 1991. “This course can be prepared many ways and serves up a whole lotta pain. We like courses that balances rider vs. rider and rider vs. course. I think we found a nice balance of the terrain for the showdown race. Things will be nice and green and we’ll deliver a great product” Sam said. Last year’s race saw an appearance by Andy Jacques Maynes and Gina Hall along with several other high profile riders from both regions. “Great course!” was Andy’s first words off the bike.
The weekend of fun also hosts a time trial “hot lap” race on Saturday afternoon, gourmet pasta dinner Saturday evening and a 5K run on the course on Sunday AM before the cyclocross event. And the ever popular Bidart and Ablin Hill Climb challenge for $100 cash takes place Sunday after the elite race. Race flyer and details can be found at the SAMBARN Facebook page, SCNCA.org
and USA Cycling for online registration. Ames feels the riders who have attended are his biggest fans and help to build the event. “Last year we had about 300 riders…I had like 50 emails from folks who came and were so appreciative of what we did and the quality of the race. And the cool part was all the carpooling the riders did to attend. We want to see this grow into an annual event for riders from the each region and as long as they come, we will put more money into the prize list and production. Our motto? Quality bike races, by bike racers for bike racers..they are our customers and the ’cross champs is not to be missed!”