Cyclocross National Championships

December 22, 2008 2:04:31 PM PST
Dozens of bike racers took advantage of some recent changes to Woodward Park.They competed in the Cyclocross National Championships.

But organizers say there are still some challenges getting racers to the Valley. Tanner Harvey, Six Year Old Racer: "I get to go up the table tops and loops, and it's really fun."

Shane Huntoon, 45 Year Old Racer: "The dirt the mud- kids love...boys..we love mud..we love playing in the dirt."

75 racers from all over the Valley and state competed in a Cyclocross at Woodward Park...a sport of endurance that's a hybrid of road racing and mountain biking.

33 year old Steve Ray from Clovis has been racing for half his life.

Steve Ray, Clovis Racer: "It's almost like Cyclocross is like you said, kind of a niche sport..so it's hard to get people into it..you have to not only ride your bike fast, but you have to jump off your bike..run with it, and hop back on it."

And it can be tough.

The best racers jump obstacles...while others carry their bikes over the hurdles.

Local enthusiasts say they have their own hurdle getting more racers to come to their events.

JP Sickler, Organizer: "About 80-20..80 are mostly local and another 20 percent from out of town or out of state. A lot of people don't understand that we're trying to change things in Fresno and make a reason to come here."

Fresno's Parks and Rec. Department hoped to draw more outdoor enthusiasts with a new BMX Track...Mountain Bike Park and jumping course in Woodward Park.

Sunday's race did draw in one of the biggest name pro-mountain bikers.

Four time World Champion Brian Lopes...who's excelled in downhill more than Cyclocross.

Brian Lopes: "In the disciplines I compete in are not really endurance events, so this is pretty much out of my realm, but I do a lot of training and by no means the type of training for a race like this..but hopefully I'll be able to hang for a couple laps."

Not only did he hang...he won.

This was the fifth race the group has held since October.

They used part of the new mountain bike park which is open for riders, but will be officially dedicated this spring.


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