Monday, August 20, 2007

New this year: Nor*Cal Cyclocross Cup

With the start of our cyclocross season just a couple of weeks away (with its earliest start in NorCal history, at the 9/1 Livermore race), the powers that be at Cross Babble are pleased to announce a new regional premier series, working title: The Nor*Cal Cyclocross Cup.

The general idea is a "Best of the West" virtual series composed of the best individual events (in one editor's subjective opinion) from across the region collected into one season-long program. For you die-hard Babble readers, you might recall that this idea originated in a blog thread last season discussing what makes a Really Great Race. Well, the masses were heard, and this year a coalition of local promoters has banded together to make this happen.

This program is designed for all of you riders who enjoy your local race series, but would also travel to events from the other series around the region if you only knew which ones were the best to attend. We've cherry picked popular events from the best venues and set up the calendar so these Cup races will be the only game in town on that particular day and guaranteed to get a great turnout. There will be no calendar conflicts that force you to choose between a Cup race and your local series. There will also be perks to make things more interesting for everyone, like season points tracking, weekly race start call-ups, end of season raffle, T-shirts and other merchandise, and so on.

Here's a few details on how things are shaping up. Your comments are welcome. As this is intended to be the "People's Series" we are very eager to hear from riders as to how to make this thing work better for everyone.

Tentative calendar - Here's the races we have lined up so far. We're also thinking about adding one more event but not sure yet.
9/29 Lion of Fairfax - Marin
10/14 Sacramento Cyclocross
10/28 Velo Bella Surf City - Watsonville
11/11 Central Coast CX
11/25 Bay Area SuperPrestige - Golden Gate Park

Race Sponsors - A number of sponsors have already signed on behind the scenes to support the series, but we're looking for more. Sponsorship could be anything from merchandise schwag to food and beverages to cold hard cash. An anonymous commenter last year indicated they had a Silicon Valley sponsor in mind - make yourself known, friend.

Series Name - The working title right now is the "Nor*Cal Cyclocross Cup" - descriptive but not particularly innovative. An alternative choice is the "Mud Cup" - short and sweet and a retro throwback to a series of the same name (and same concept) run locally more than a decade ago. Do you have a preference? Got a better idea? Throw down in the comment section.

Merchandise - We are planning to offer T-shirts and socks for sale, so participants can represent for the series and also to raise some cash for the prize pot. We need volunteers to help with merchandise sales - see below.

Volunteers - Since this is a virtual series the staffing requirements are pretty minor but we do need help with a few things. Something that would really help out is to find someone who plans to attend, but not race, most of the events in the series and could help with merchandise sales. For example, if you have a bike related business and were planning to put up a booth at events, you'd be in a position to help with this. Another task that we're bound to need help with is website maintenance - uploading and maintaining the weekly scoring every Monday so riders can check out the standings, and promoters can call up leaders at the next week's race.

Race Categories - We are still working out the logistics on this one. The short story is, there will be a race for every rider at every event in the series. We can guarantee that the Cup events will be well attended and you'll have plenty of folks to compete against. However, the specific categories that are offered on each day will depend on the individual promoter; some events will have more age and grade divisions available than other events. Tracking points for all riders across different divisions may prove to be tricky. But for you, the instructions are simple: Go race, and pick whatever category is most appropriate for you on each day.

There's still a few other details to work out, but everyone involved is very excited about this new program, and we're already getting great feedback from riders who have been told about it. Let us know your comments and we should be officially kicking this off in a week or so. Throw your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below.

Happy 'crossing...
Dave Carr

Photo: Chris Patterson