The cyclocross scene in Bend continues to grow.
The Thrilla Cyclocross Series, now in its 11th season, is moving to Wednesdays and has added an extra race after last year’s events drew almost 200 competitors each night. Mount Bachelor Sports Education Foundation takes over the event from WebCyclery, the Thrilla’s creator and longtime organizer.
“They know we put on events really well,” MBSEF event coordinator Molly Cogswell-Kelley says about WebCyclery, which willingly handed off the series after it grew too big for the Bend bike shop to handle. “We have the infrastructure, we have the expertise, and we have the support and volunteer base.”
Racing, which will again be held at the Athletic Club of Bend this year — the venue has moved several times since its debut in 2004 — starts this Wednesday evening. Juniors, beginners and category C riders go off at 5:15 p.m. and all other racers start at 6 p.m. Cogswell-Kelley says cyclists will notice little to no change with how the event is run under MBSEF’s direction. Prizes will be awarded to the top finishers in all categories in the overall series.
“It’s the same volunteers and same people doing the results and timing,” she says. “The only change is, the course will be a little different because we have different course designers. But that’s part of the beauty and thrill of cyclocross. The course should change year to year. There should always be that element of surprise.”
The bigger changes come in the scheduling. The move from Thursdays to Wednesdays is designed to give cyclists more time off from their Thrilla race and any weekend events in which they may be competing.
“It’s just another day to recover,” says Cogswell-Kelley, herself an avid cyclocross racer.
MBSEF’s other big change is expanding the series from four to five races. The fifth and final event of the series is scheduled for Oct. 1, 10 days before the start of the Portland-based Cross Crusade series.
“Our series beings a lot earlier than other series,” Cogswell-Kelley says. “With Cross Crusades starting Oct. 11, the Thrilla gives you a month to get your head wrapped around cross, especially if it’s your first time racing.”
The Thrilla is popular with rookies and veterans alike, Cogswell-Kelley notes.
“It’s great for beginners because it’s a relatively moderate course,” she says about the Thrilla. “And for other riders, it gets your fitness and confidence down. We’ll have everything on the course — sand pits, lots of barriers, hills and lots of turns.
“People coming off the mountain bike and road riding season sometimes forget some of those key skills about cross,” Cogswell-Kelley adds. “Instead of just jumping right into Cross Crusades, you can get a whole month of cross conditioning with the Thrilla.”
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