Outdoors

Washington’s oldest cyclocross series is rebranding, bringing race to Graham

Answers to important questions nobody has asked me yet:

Who’s talking about a revolution?

Seattle Cyclocross, Washington’s oldest cyclocross racing series, is undergoing major changes entering this season.

The series that helped spark the Northwest cyclocross craze is now going by Cross Revolution.

Series founders Dan Norton and Jerry Baker are retiring, and leaving the series in the hands of a fellow founder, a man who goes only by Wick, and others.

Cyclocross is a combination of road and mountain biking, and draws huge fields in the Northwest. Seattle Cyclocross, which despite its name held many of its events in the South Sound, drew more than 500 riders per event last season. MFG, another Seattle-based series, drew considerably more. And Portland’s series, Cross Crusade, draws more than 1,000.

The rebranding of the race series, Wick hopes, will also boost participation. A six-race schedule that has no conflicts with MFG’s schedule won’t hurt either.

Cross Revolution has bagged its relationship with USA Cycling, meaning participants will no longer have to pay an extra $15 per race for a one-day license. This is a practice Cross Crusade and MFG adopted several years ago.

Wick also says “the most important thing is that people are having fun.” He’s well aware that in recent years MFG has developed a reputation as the fun circuit, while his is known for being for more serious races.

He says Cross Revolution will still set up challenging courses. “But every course is tough,” Wick said, “because you go as hard as you can go.”

Cross Revolution also plans to unveil a new course during its six-race season when it comes to Graham’s Frontier Park on Nov. 16. Other South Sound stops this season will include Sprinker Recreation Center on Oct. 16 and the Enumclaw Fairgrounds on Nov. 23.

The season begins Sept. 21 at Everett’s Silver Lake. The MFG series starts Sept. 7 at Lake Sammamish State Park.

Both series welcome first-timers and a cyclocross bike isn’t required. First-timers often race on mountain bikes. For more information on these series, visit mfgcyclocross.com and cross-revolution.com.

There are three adventure races around the Puget Sound next weekend. The Electric Run in Puyallup on Aug. 9 and The Color Run in Tacoma and Mud Factor at Lake Sammamish State Park on Aug. 10. Which one should I choose?

Well, for starters, what kind of dirty do you like? Coated with muddy guck? Then try Mud Factor. Plastered with colorful paint? Then go for The Color Run. Want to get sweaty and look at pretty lights? Then try The Electric Run.

As for which one is best, theactivetimes.com recently released its ranking of the top 45 adventure race series in the country.

The ranking weighed factors such as finisher medals, post-race parties, the size of the race’s national tour, cost and whether the races work with a charity.

The Spartan Race topped the list, followed by the Warrior Dash, then Tough Mudder. Most of these have already visited the area for the year, but Tough Mudder is Sept. 27-28 in Black Diamond.

As for next weekend’s races: The Color Run came in at No. 6, the Electric Run was No. 10 and Mud Factor was No. 25.

The Foothills B&O Half Marathon was last weekend with more than 100 runners racing from Buckley to Orting to raise money and attention for the Foothills Rails-to-Trails Coalition. Isn’t there an easier, knee-friendly way to support the cause?

The coalition recently received a check for $918 from Fred Meyer’s Community Rewards program. A check for the second quarter of 2014 could be coming soon.

The donations from Fred Meyer are based on shoppers enrolled in the store’s incentive program (the “Rewards Card”) and how much they spend. In order for their purchases to generate donations for the coalition they must link their reward card account to the community rewards program at fredmeyer.com/communityrewards.

There, they can choose from hundreds of community organizations to support including the coalition. Registering won’t change the “rewards” shoppers earn for themselves.

Loras Gassmann, the coalition’s treasurer, said “we have no idea how much to expect.” But he says the amount could decrease as more nonprofit organizations join the program.

In addition to supporting the Foothills Trails linking Puyallup with South Prairie and eventually Buckley and Mount Rainier National Park, the coalition provides matching funds to other projects. These include grant project applications recently submitted by Pierce County, Puyallup and Sumner, said coalition board member Bryan Bowden.

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