January’s U.S. Cyclocross Nationals in Reno will be the last January edition of the event before it moves back to December in Louisville at the end of 2018. The organizers of the event are hoping for a successful January send-off before the move.
To learn more about this year’s Nationals, we reached out to Coby Rowe, who is the Director of the Reno local organizing committee. He helped provide insight on how USA Cycling works with local Nationals organizers, dispel some myths about Reno we learned from Reno 911 and more.
Interview with Coby Rowe, 2018 Reno Nationals Organizer
Cyclocross Magazine: It sounds like you’re pulling out all the stops to make this Nationals more than just age group and UCI racing for titles. What’s unique about the Reno event in terms of events you’re planning?
Coby Rowe: Reno will be a great event for more than just the racing. We have a unique situation in Reno. Our venue is only one mile from downtown, where there are casino hotels and fantastic restaurants. We have a complete line up of evening events throughout the week for people to attend. We want people to really enjoy being here and taking advantage of all our area has to offer.
CXM: For folks still on the fence about attending, what’s your pitch to make the trip?
CR: In addition to all the amazing things happening around Cyclocross Nationals, Reno is inexpensive and with the venue one mile from downtown, it’s very convenient. Just one mile!
An aerial view of Rancho San Rafael Park, home of the Great Reno Balloon Race:
CXM: One of the touted benefits about Reno is that everything will be within close proximity. How feasible is it for a racer or team to make the trip without renting a car?
CR: More than feasible. The City of Reno is making a dedicated bike lane for the one-mile ride from our host hotels to the venue, so if you’re traveling without a car you can easily ride up to the venue. The downtown is near our host hotels and is full of great restaurants, a thriving Midtown district and really fun nightlife.
CXM: You’ve got the last January Nationals. What are your thoughts on the change back to December?
CR: The people spoke. For us in Reno, January allows us to get room rates at four-star properties for $59 a night. The January dates also bring the chance for better cyclocross weather.
CXM: We’re often still working when they’re going on, but post-Nationals parties have at times become memorable experiences. What’s in store this year?
CR: We have some great events this year. Wednesday is a Women’s night to be held at Patagonia; Thursday night Giddy Up Films is doing an Amy D Foundation fundraiser; Friday night is the Mechanics National Championships; Saturday is Juniors night and also an event party at the Silver Legacy, and Sunday is our wrap party. We are still finalizing a few details on some of these events but remember that Reno is a 24-hour town so the expectations are for a good time.
CXM: For some, their only impression of Reno is Comedy Central’s Reno 911, sadly. What can you say to dispel or confirm such an impression?
CR: Reno is nothing like the city is portrayed in Reno 911. We have seen a lot of changes downtown and our Midtown district has sprouted a bunch of new restaurants and bars. We have seen a change from attracting people who want to come and gamble to a town that has become a destination for great events and amazing outdoor activities.
If it’s dry in January there is singletrack within two miles of downtown that goes on forever. Skiing at Mt. Rose is only 30 minutes from Reno, and you can hit the big resorts like Squaw Valley in less than an hour.
CXM: What do you do with the Glacier Glove company and does the company have any official presence at Nationals? Do you predict weather that will make racers or mechanics want a pair?
CR: We still have the company in the family, but I moved on a few years ago. I created the company Glacier Cycling to promote cycling races, and I am also the Branch Manager of the Truckee California Branch for Western Nevada Supply. If the weather is miserable we will have Glacier Gloves on hand.
As far as weather predictions from the Magic 8-Ball? I really don’t know. Even the 10-day forecasts change. Reno is at the base of the Sierras and they can provide shadowing from storms that could leave us dry or like last year we could pick up record rainfall that almost closed the airport.
CXM: Most events like Nationals rely heavily on a mass of volunteers. How do people get involved, how many people are you looking for, and is the rumor that you were finding a way to get them front row call-ups in races true?
CR: Front row call-ups for the volunteers are for the boat races in the beer tents. We have a need for a lot of volunteers. People can register at www.renocx.com/volunteer/.
We have a need for Registration, Race Operations and Expo help. We kept the volunteer shifts to three hours so people don’t get overwhelmed. If people are coming to town to watch a friend or spouse race, they could sign up and get all the perks the volunteers get plus the good karma for helping out.
CXM: Over the years the roles USA Cycling and local promoters have played in Nationals have evolved. For a number of years, our understanding is USA Cycling has owned and promoted the event, and as a result, is in a position to profit or take a loss from the event. They then team up with a local team like yours to make sure it happens smoothly. Is that an accurate description?
You seem to have more responsibility than typical as the local organizer. Besides pride and satisfaction, what opportunities are there to participate in the upside of a well-attended event?
CR: This is a great question! To start off, we did not pay a fee to get Cyclocross Nationals to Reno. Our revenue to cover the costs of the event comes directly from Expo sales, team area sales and access wristbands. The more people that attend the race, the more the local organizing committee will benefit and the better we can make the event.
As part of the original bid, we made the commitment to take care of all the details in Reno. We arranged everything from securing and permitting the venue to host housing and infrastructure. We are also responsible for covering the cost of the infrastructure as well as EMTs, restrooms, sanitation, pressure washers, water, permitting and all the fees and park remediation.
I will say USA Cycling has been great to work with. We talk weekly and they have been more than willing to cooperate and adapt as challenges have arisen. They have been an active partner since the beginning, and I think they are making a concerted effort to understand our position and help us show you how great Reno can be.
CXM: Finally, casinos are famous for buffets. Recommendation for a post-Nationals pigout?
CR: Mmmmm, gravy! Loosen up the waistband because we have great food everywhere. Who doesn’t love a good steak and eggs for $5.99? And our buffets are top-notch!
For more info about the 2018 U.S. Cyclocross Nationals, including registration, visit usacycling.org. Stay tuned for a course preview and more on the special events to be held at Nationals.