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Paging Alex R.!!(20 posts)

Paging Alex R.!!rollo tommassi
Oct 16, 2002 6:43 AM
oh my god! what the Heck is going on in Rockford?
I haven't checked the board in about a week, so I'm just know reading about it!
Rockford park district has no news of a cancellationAlex-in-Evanston
Oct 16, 2002 7:29 AM
Neither Ron Butler, head of Rockford park district, or Jan Davis, public relations director for the park district, has heard of a cancellation. Since Ron is apparently the guy who works most closely with Larry, I take this as a very good sign.

I called Larry's home to inquire and left a message. I'd sure like to hear it from him, but right now I'm assuming this races are a go.

Are you coming?

Rockford park district has no news of a cancellationrollo tommassi
Oct 16, 2002 8:01 AM
Yes! I was so looking forward to it....with a vague idea of going to Nats, so this series would be my ONLY racing/training.

I think I may call the folks you listed earlier; sounds like there is a deeper issue here in regards to use of public park space. Probably the same reasons as usual...

at some point I imagine Larry should tack on a Park surcharge to registration to put a little cash into the Park District coffers?
Saturday ride.Alex-in-Evanston
Oct 16, 2002 8:13 AM
I'm going for a couple of hours of zero intensity riding Saturday on the trails. I just want to spin the wheels and make sure all the bolts are tight and such. I think Chris and others are probably like-minded.

Hope to see you there,

So we're on for Sunday?greg n
Oct 16, 2002 9:00 AM
Gosh, it sure would be nice to know for sure. I'm trying to make plans one way or another for Sunday.

So what's the deal here. We called Kegel's yesterday, and they said the series was cancelled, but they were trying to plan one race in November. Now the Park District is saying the race isn't cancelled. Could it be that the series is cancelled, but the one race they are planning is still a go?
Oct 16, 2002 9:40 AM
I called Kegels again and they said the races are definitely cancelled.

They are hoping to have one on Dec. 1. They said to call in 2 weeks to find out if that one is a go.

This really sucks.

Someone needs to revive the lakefront races. And maybe put one on at Washington Park since SuperCup isn't happening this year.
You are right though, Alexgreg n
Oct 16, 2002 9:49 AM
I just got a call from Jan Davis, and she said as far as she knew, the races were not cancelled. However, as of this last Friday, she nor Ron had heard back from Larry on alternate sites and dates.

So it sounds like there were scheduling conflicts that have not yet been resolved.

This is all too confusing. And apparently no one can get ahold of Larry.
What the Park District proposed to Larry...Alex-in-Evanston
Oct 16, 2002 9:56 AM
Jan Davis said the growth of the event made it impossible to hold in Blackhawk, Adler, and other venues used in the past. The Park District offered Page park as a venue for all 5 races. They say they are waiting to hear from Larry on whether this is acceptable.

From what Kegel's is saying, apparently it isn't.

I'm crushed,

So what would be so bad about that?greg n
Oct 16, 2002 10:25 AM
Yeah, it would be nice to have different venues, but the course can be changed around for variety at Page. Run it the opposite direction once or twice. Now there's something crazy.

I just don't get it. It's such a disappointment.
I wonder if Larry misunderstood themgreg n
Oct 16, 2002 10:34 AM
When they said he couldn't use the other venues, I wonder if he took that to mean he couldn't hold the races. Not realizing he could have all of them at Page.

Anyway, I guess it doesn't matter now.
Will you do the WI series?Alex-in-Evanston
Oct 16, 2002 10:43 AM
I figure I'll go to the WI races at Delafield, Cambridge and Milwaukee, and the IL state champs at Lake Villa. I had planned all along to head down to St. Louis for one or two of the Big Shark races in Queeney Park, perhaps now I'll go to more.

What kills me is that Larry's races are so damn good. Compare his courses to Lake Villa, or Supercup in Washington Park, or even the Big Shark courses. They are far and away more technical, more imaginative and more fun. We really owe him a debt of gratitude.

I can't really justify the drive to the WI racesgreg n
Oct 16, 2002 11:36 AM
Driving to those WI races to race for 45 minutes or whatever, and then head home. To much time in the car. Not enough time on the bike.

I'll do the Lake Villa race. Although one of my buddies did it last year and said it was poorly organized and the course was lame.

I'm actually going to be in St. Louis next weekend, so I'll probably try to do the race down there. It'll depend on what time we need to get home Sunday.
I can't really justify the drive to the WI racesbikerdude
Oct 17, 2002 1:42 PM
Before you start ripping on Leo for running the Lake Villa race, remember that he does not even live in Chicago anymore, yet he runs the event because no Illinois promoters want to run their own state cyclo-cross championship. In 2000, there wasn't a race, so Leo started it up again. Instead of complaining, why don't you try helping him?

Green Bay
You raise a good point...Steve_O
Oct 16, 2002 11:30 AM
Although I'm not a hardcore racer I would like to give CX a shot and Larry has the only game in town (with the exception of Lake Villa).

Earlier in the year Larry worked with the Rock Cut Trail Crew and put on a 50 miler mountain bike race that was very well attended and lots of fun (if not a little muddy).

It seems that with the number of cycling clubs and shops in Chicago that a yearly race series could be developed. Challenge Park and Knoch Knolls in Naperville both hosted MTB events this year and could be good venues for a CX race. Other alternatives could be Gilberts Farm (No Twist and Turn race this year) and even LaBagh Woods (rumored to have USCF sanctioned CX races years ago)...

It's a shame that a major city like this with so many cyclists has such a lack of racing opportunities.

Steve-O (wish I had the time to be a race promoter)
Local races...rollo tommassi
Oct 16, 2002 12:25 PM
It's probably too late to get something going at Washington Park.

There were, nearly ten years ago (I'm dating myself!) cross races at LaBaugh and then later, Caldwell Woods, in the city. Nestor, of course, ran these, and they were a lot of fun.

It all came to a crashing end one year when the Cook County Park District suddenly realised that there was prize money (had been for 3years!) and invoked a "rule" stating that "vending" could not take place on Park District grounds. This of course was all bullsht, but it was convenient for them. Better to have the druggies running around in the Park instead of amateur athletes. Even when Nestor offered to no longer give prizes of any kind (not even medals!) the Park District said no.

The Illinois Cycling Association tried every other park district in three counties to no avail, always the same litany: "trail degradation" (don't walk on the grass), "liability", "local residents don't want the park used for private groups".

I wonder how long Rock Cut will continue to host any bike event - they kaboshed the road races there by way of simply not cooperating to ensure safety.

I think there are enough promoters - what we really need are advocates. Hopefully Larry will continue to try to work something out.
You raise a good point...bikerdude
Oct 17, 2002 1:56 PM
Dear Steve:

If you really wanted to be a race promoter, you would do it. All race promoters that I know have regular jobs, yet they manage to put on their USCF and NORBA races because without them the sport would die. Our club runs more than its fair share of USAC events, even though it is an inconvenience in our regular lives.

Velo Club Olé
More info from LarrySteve_O
Oct 17, 2002 6:20 AM
Larry posted this response to questions about the series on message board on

Sorry to announce: but as of Oct. 10 the Rockford Park District has kicked us out of the Parks. So, for now the 2002 Series as origianally oked by the Park District is non-existent. We hope to still to salvage a race in December after the Wis series is over. We will be having training rides at the parks on the origianal dates. Time trials at noon."
words from rockfordpsycha
Oct 17, 2002 9:53 AM
I just wanted to put me two cents in on this. I live in the Rockford area and have worked cleanup at several of the races. We often times leave the parks cleaner than they were before the races. Portable toilets are brought in for the races. These are not nature preserves nor grass museums. I believe our level of impact has been small and in no way permanent. This series was on of the best around and am truly pissed at the park department's response in the matter. They claim the series hasn't been cancelled because they are allowing racing at one venue. I would urge you to speak out and let the Rockford Park District know that we believe this is a bad decision. The people to contact have been listed in previous messages. Here are the e-mail addresses:

These are our parks and we need to have a voice in how they are used.
one other thought...Steve_O
Oct 17, 2002 10:27 AM
Let's see.

1) Cold October and November days. Is the picnic crowd going to be filling the park? Would the race threaten the masses?

2) Environmental impact? Isn't winter almost here? Is the grass still alive?

This doesn't seem to add up to me. It seems if you were the manager of the park district you would be excited about people making use of your facilities The public's facilities year around. Especially if the users were involved in an organized sport that had occurred there in the past... How does the park district lose on this one?
re:one other thought...TWD
Oct 17, 2002 12:24 PM
Unfortunately "logical thought" isn't what your up against. You're more likely dealing with the emotional pleas of the squeaky wheels that are bending the ears of the park managers. Everybody has to be a victim you know.

Some people just don't want to share what they think that only THEY are entitled to.

I think we as cyclist have just as much right to use the resources that our tax dollars are paying for as long as we do it responsibly. And we need to let those responsible for managing those resources know it, becuase obviously those on the opposite side of the issue aren't afraid to do the same.

It sounds like people are taking the best course of action -respectfully let the Park managers know how you feel about their decision, and try to understand their concerns and work with them to address each one.

If environmental impact is the concern, try to work with them to design courses that minimizes impact. Unfortunately cross races are held in late fall/early winter which can be the worst time for erosion impact. If you get muddy conditions that chew up the trail or grass, it'll sit that way until spring when the snow melts and the rains come. The erosion will happen before the grass grows back in the spring.

Picking up trash after the race is a great start, don't forget to remind them of that. I know of at least one MTB race venue that was lost out here in Oregon due to the trash people left after a race. I know of another instance here where Park Managers have said that they won't allow a cross race at a local park that has hosted CX races in the past even though the local neighborhood association (those obviously most likely to use the park) supports the races.

Another thing to ask about is whether or not the Park district has any policies limiting the number of participants for an event. One of the previous posters mentioned that someone from the park district stated that they couldn't hold the events at some of the locations becuase of the "events increasing popularity". I know of another MTB race venue in Oregon that was lost since the local Forest manager had a policy that an event couldn't have more than 200 participants. Kinda silly considering they do active clear cutting in that forest.

Best of luck turning things around. I'd love to see CX racing grow in that region. I grew up in southeast WI, and hope to move back someday, and would love to have all the CX racing options that we have here in Oregon (I counted 28 races on the CX calender in OR this year).