Roanoke’s annual SeptemberCross cyclocross race series just finished this week. Races took place on Wednesday nights at Fallon Park, where cyclists sped around a one-mile mixed surface course. Their goal was to complete the course as many times as possible within 35 minutes. The three-week series achieved a record attendance with 168 riders competing overall, and organizers credit local partners who helped make the races more appealing.
“It has been great to change up the series this year. We wanted to make it more of a festival scene with active spectators, food from Dojo Grill, and Deschutes Beer,” said Renee Powers, Greenways and Trails Supervisor, Roanoke Parks and Recreation. “We couldn’t have put on such a successful event without the help of our sponsors and dedicated volunteers.”
Powers partnered with Wesley Best from East Coasters Bike Shop to organize this year’s series. For years, Best has been on the forefront of the Roanoke cyclocross scene. In fact, he’s captain of the Roanoke Deschutes Cyclocross Team and is instrumental in organizing GoCross, another popular annual cyclocross race that takes place at Fallon Park on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, 2017.
“One of the biggest goals of our Roanoke Deschutes Cyclocross Team is building the sport locally and I think we made some pretty great strides with that at SeptemberCross,” said Wesley Best, Captain of the Deschutes Cyclocross Team – Roanoke and Co-Owner of East Coasters Bike Shop. “We’re super excited to see what happens at GoCross at the end of the month.”
The series was also sponsored by the Deschutes Brewery Cyclocross Team, Star City Cycling Team, Cardinal Bike Shop, and Specialized Bikes. Proceeds from the beer sales benefitted Star City Cycling, a local cycling team. The race also ended up generating $1,206 in revenue from race registrations alone and 100% of those proceeds will be invested in Roanoke’s trails. Specifically, proceeds from SeptemberCross will cover the costs to develop and maintain signage along Roanoke’s 100+ miles of trails and greenways.
Roanoke’s Rising Cycling Talent
To race cyclocross, you need to be tough and determined. On the course at Fallon, you’ll encounter obstacles, sand pits, mud, grit, and grime. Riders will frequently dismount their bikes to hop over barriers or charge up a flight of stairs. Even though elite riders competed in this year’s race, SeptemberCross is a great opportunity for new cyclocross riders to give the sport a try. This year, thirty-two SeptemberCross racers were under the age of 18, which shows that Roanoke’s cyclocross community is growing.
“Cyclocross is exploding in Roanoke and SeptemberCross is the bomb,” said Robert Issem, a SeptemberCross participant, and local cycling enthusiast. “The race is family-friendly and is a great chance for kids to rip around a fun, interesting course while building skills, fitness, and confidence with loads of encouragement and camaraderie.”
Two of those youth riders, Tyler Smith and Anna Sortore, are just 17 years old and show true cyclocross superstar potential. Smith was the overall male series winner and Sortore was one of the fastest females in both of the races that she competed in. Leah Sortore, Anna’s sister, is also on the rise and won the overall women’s junior category for the series. LanaDayle Roach was the top beginner women’s rider. Everyone who participated in the series was positive, supportive, and excited to share their passion for ‘cross with other riders.
Want to give cyclocross a try?
SeptemberCross Race Results
More Photos submitted by Troy Smith
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