Positive reviews for 1st-time Rock Ledge cyclocross event

       Supercross 2011, the first-ever cyclocross races Nov. 19 at the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site, “exceeded our expectations,” according to Bob Stellick.

Dismounted cyclists in the senior men's open race haul their bikes up a steep segment to the top of the reservoir dam as part of Supercross 2011 at the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site Nov. 19.
Westside Pioneer photo

Scenes from Supercross 2011, the first-time cyclocross event at Rock Ledge Ranch Nov. 19... Brad Cole glides past the Rock Ledge House (one of the ranch attractions) en route to winning the senior men’s open race.
Westside Pioneer photo

       A member of Pikes Peak Velo, the local bicycle racing team that organized the event, Stellick said his group heard good reviews afterward from competitors about the course, “because it was different, interesting, and very challenging.” PPV also appreciated the $600 in donations for Kids on Bikes (a nonprofit program that gives bikes to needy kids who improve in school) and liked the high level of local, family-oriented participation, Stellick said.
       “My personal favorite and the most fun for me was the lunchtime kids races,” he commented, “with all the parents and racers cheering on the little kids and them pushing it all out on their little bicycles. Awesome!”
       In all, 170 people competed, plus about 50 in the kids races. This compared to 137 at the previous Pikes Peak Velo race last year at Bear Creek Park. “Everyone we talked to really liked the course,” Stellick said, recalling one team's quote: “We already wish we could do the race again.”
       Especially gratifying was the number of new people from the area. “We had 22 men and 7 women 'first-timers' in the citizen categories,” he said. “A lot goes into learning and setting up a new venue and course. With all the great feedback, we are definitely considering a second annual event.”

Scenes from Supercross 2011, the first-time cyclocross event at Rock Ledge Ranch Nov. 19... ABOVE LEFT: Gage Hecht takes an early lead over his competitors in the 13-14 race. The national 13-14 champion, he would also overtake the entries in the 15-18 field, who'd started ahead of him.ABOVE RIGHT: Under-age-5 riders participate in the short kids’ “race.”
Westside Pioneer photo

       Supercross 2011 also attracted a couple of nationally prominent cyclists. Gage Hecht, 13, who has won national titles in ages 10-12 and 13-14, smoked the field, winning by 48 seconds. That included not just the four in his 13-14 race but all seven in the 15-18 division, which had started (by design) 10 seconds ahead of the younger riders.
       “It was a ton of fun,” Hecht said afterward, saying his only real difficulty was finding openings to pass other riders. “The course was fast.”
       Brad Cole, who had taken seventh in the 2009 collegiate cyclocross championships, sped to first in the senior men's open race.
       The senior women's open race was won by Sara Wisner.
       In all, there were 21 races, plus the two short kids' fun races (under age 5 and 5-12).

Scenes from Supercross 2011, the first-time cyclocross event at Rock Ledge Ranch Nov. 19... A dismounted racer passes a Rock Ledge animal pen, where Patches the Cow grazes.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Cyclocross is a type of trail racing that challenges riders by mixing in hills, obstacles (which force dismounts) and difficult terrain.
       Using established trails, the course went past some of the Rock Ledge attractions and looped around the old reservoir in a neighboring part of the Garden of the Gods. The finish line was by the hayfield, between the blacksmith shop and the Rock Ledge House.

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