Muddy, grassroots affordable cyclocross racing, free racing for first-time cyclocrossers, new course features and no license required. Sound like a dream? It’s a reality for six more Sundays in Fairfield, California. Read on for the full details.
We’ve been doing this long enough to notice a few annual traditions in cyclocross.
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Each August, some racers complain about the hot, dry, dusty, cross-cough inducing start of the season, especially in locales like California, while lamenting the fact that most racing ends before “true ’cross conditions” kick in. Cancel August and September cyclocross, and add January and February, some diehard cyclocross racers argue.
There are also the annual complaints about the cost of racing, especially in Northern California, one of the most expensive places in the country to live. Fifty dollars ($40 plus a $10 one-day license) for 40 minutes of racing isn’t cheap. Yes, that’s cheaper than a day spent at most downhill ski resorts, a competing form of recreation this time of year, but cyclocross probably shouldn’t use a declining, weather-dependent sport as a benchmark to keep its numbers healthy, even if fans, petition-signing racers and anyone born on April 1 have dreams of Olympic glory.
A third annual tradition we’ve noticed is the genuine surprise, and then confusion, when people get wind that cyclocross racing continues in the greater Bay Area through February. Where? When? How do I pre-register? What’s the average USA Cycling race quality score? While it’s on John Simmon’s excellent cyclocross calendar and the official NCNCA event listing here, John Silva’s Rockville races haven’t yet made it onto the Google cyclocross calendar many use and thus for many is an undiscovered gem.
So here comes our somewhat annual announcement that cyclocross racing continues in Norcal. From now through the end of February, it’s Throwback Thursday every Sunday at Solano Community College. Promoter and Rockville Bike owner John Silva lays out his cones, decides on course direction, often sets up barriers, adds some course tape and readies for a steadily-growing group of dedicated cyclocross racers to play in the mud, all for just $20.
His short course offers one short technical descent and climb, a fun, twisty, slippery jaunt through a eucalyptus forest, a Mother Nature-built jungle cross barrier, and a pavement finale for your finishing kick.
You won’t see a single trainer, team tent or safety pin. Numbers are mounted on your handlebars. What about warm-ups? There’s a huge vacant parking lot, and as long as you don’t interfere with the current race, you can check out the course.
Show up for the final race, and you’re in for a special day. The schedule changes with one mass-start race. After that’s over, Silva and his wife Esther will assign you to a relay team and then feed you with a season-ending barbeque. Where else does that happen?
What better chance to show off your mud skills? Shed a few holiday pounds? Or simply have some good, old-fashioned grassroots cyclocross fun with little pressure or pretention.
We’ve called Rockville Cyclocross the unintentional Fight Club, and Silva certainly doesn’t make discovery of his race series very easy. He doesn’t even have an official website.
There is a public Facebook page for the series, and that’s the default form of communication. You don’t need a Facebook account to scrape the essential details.
The Facebook events have the relevant info.
Here are the essential details:
When: Every Sunday through February 23, 2020
Solano Community College
4000 Suisun Valley Road
Fairfield, CA 94534
9:00 a.m.: Juniors, C men and women
10:00 a.m.: A & B men and women
$20 gets you one race, $10 for a second race. If you’ve never raced cyclocross, try before you buy! The team is sure you’ll have a blast and want to come back. The proof? Your first race is free. Yes, the race is insured, but no, you don’t need a USA Cycling license.
While Rockville’s entry fee hasn’t gone up in the last seven years, it has recently hit the big time. Thanks to volunteer Lloyd Davies, the results are for the first time impacting rider scores on crossresults.com.
If you’ve ever complained about the early start of cyclocross season, the hot and dry conditions, or the cost of racing, Silva has heard your complaints and offers up a solution every Sunday through February.
Will you take the leap and give it a try?
Silva hopes so, and is ready to capture your ride as he doubles as official race photographer and readily shares his photos without charge. Photographer Jorge Flores of JustPedal also often shares hundreds of photos of the racing action.
You might even see newly-crowned National Champion John Elgart showing off his new jersey in the B race while taking advantage of racing close to home.
’Cross isn’t coming. It’s still here.
See you there.
More info: Rockville Bike Cyclocross Facebook page