LAKE ASBURY - After a notably successful first run of bike races in Clay County, the Great American Road Race series in October which featured three disciplines of bicycle racing in three days, …
LAKE ASBURY - After a notably successful first run of bike races in Clay County, the Great American Road Race series in October which featured three disciplines of bicycle racing in three days, Velobrew Racing Team board member Jackie Morrison was almost giddy in her reaction to being asked about Sunday, January 10.
“We are totally excited about bring the Florida State Cyclocross Championships to Ronnie Van Zant Park in Lake Asbury because it’s a beautiful venue in the middle of a community of biking that is growing everyday,” said Morrison, herself a competing bike racer along with daughter Sam Morrison, a senior at Bishop Kenny and a commit to the Lee’s McRae College cycling team.
“Our board at Velobrew and Open Road Bicycles has combined with the Airstream Ventures people to get this event to be an annual event in Clay County.”
What exactly is cyclocross, one may ask?
“It is mountain bike racing and cross country running combined,” said Morrison. “We have set up a mile and half loop in the Van Zant park with log jumps, some water traps and even a fly over that is a big hump in the road. The athletes can get around the course anyway they can; on the bike, running with the bike and even carrying the bike on their shoulders.”
Morrison noted that Velobrew as an organization noted for state wide road cycling prowess has been progressing to expanding the youth part of the team which includes the cyclocross.
“We’ve been talking about not being just a big road racing club,” said Morrison. “The kids are all doing the cyclocross which can very easily transition to road racing.”
With the loop providing excellent spectator involvement in the racing, Morrison hopes the races; based on a time 30 minutes, 45 minutes 60 minutes on the loop to determine the final winner, racers will battle in multiple age groups and cycling Categories to provide top notch racing action. There is also a 25 minute race for Kids Mountain bikes.
“We had great feedback with the Great American Road Race and are already making plans for a better weekend next year and the community here has been great in making this event happen,” said Joel Lamp, director of events and tourism at Airstream Ventures. “We think Clay County is a great area to stage many types of top notch sporting events such as this cyclocross state championship.”
Ronnie Van Zant Park has become a mecca of sorts of numerous sporting events including high school cross country races; districts and regions, Frisbee Golf Tournaments and even the completion of a America Ninja Warrior type fitness course.
“Jackie, and Velobrew, called me because we need to have a sponsoring club for our events,” said Lamp. “Last year, Velobrew made the initial application; Jackie, after staging the event in Jacksonville, and are trying to make Clay County a cycling destination. We found a spot here and we think we can do something really cool.”
Lamp noted that USA Cycling has two more years to stage their National qualifier that was cancelled due to COVID in 2020. That cancellation was the impetus to stage the Great American Road Race, said Lamp, and that success has impressed the Clay County officials to maintain the momentum.
Morrison also noted that Pros will receive cash prizes with the amateurs and juniors looking to win the coveted state championship bike jersey.
“The money is nice ($1800 purse) but racers come to get that coveted jersey,” said Morrison. “We primes; money per lap, but the jersey is the thing. You get bragging rights with that and they all want to wear for the year.”
Racers can register online at BikeReg.com or visit Open Road Bicycles in San Marco, 4460 Hendricks Avenue.