Earlier today, I learned that the race would not be held in 2009, apparently because the parks department had decided that bikes are bad for parks. This is fair criticism, but it still stinks, especially after all the effort that volunteers put in to cleaning the park up after the race.
On a similar note, I went for a very wet and not-so-warm ride this afternoon with Mark Sumner of Clifton Park. On the way from 9P to Lake Desolation, we had a chance to mourn the Empire State Games. (Mark went to the games in 2007, with me in 2008, and quite possibly in years previous as well, I'm not sure.) With another race now canceled, I can only help but say "Another one bites the dust."
In lieu of today's post, here is an email sent from race promoter Dave Beals, explaining what's become of this staple of upstate 'cross:
I regret to inform everyone that the 2009 Schenectady Central Park Cyclocross Race has been canceled. The Commissioner of Parks with the City of Schenectady has decided that this type of activity no longer fits in with the type of activities that the Park management wishes to promote. The Commissioner also stated that the cyclocross race does too much damage to the Park during a time of the year where subsequent activities are adversely affected. The Commissioner's decision was final.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Back in September, I kicked off my 'cross season at the Central Park 'Cross race in Schenectady's Central Park. It was a brief season, ending the second weekend in November, but I had fun with it, and the chill vibe at Schenectady certainly helped convince me to stick with it.
As the promoter for the Central Park race for the last 6 years, I admit i have a bias, but I will truly miss this race. The course layout was one of my favorites.
Q: So Dave, you've run the race for 6 years and the City of Schenectady was always so supportive. What happened?
A: The personality of the of the Park is changing. The City is really making an effort to upgrade the Park, putting in sidewalks, curbing, and traffic control barriers to limit the vehicular traffic in the Park. The City has completely upgraded the playground area and planted a lot of grass in areas that were previously left in a natural state. There is a concerted effort to transform the Park from its more Natural state to a more groomed Park for the City residents.
Q: What kind of damage was done?
A: There was some tearing of grass as is common with any cyclocross race. The sandy Central Park race course supported our volume of racers quite well. A good portion of the race is in natural areas where there is no grass. Two grassy areas that suffered a bit of damage was in "Spectator Field" around the barriers and in the "Beelzabub Bowl" which had the 180 degree turn at the bottom of the dip that then went back up. I took some pictures of those areas a week or two after the race and i will post those soon.
Q: Was the damage long lasting?
A: I don't believe so, but i will take some more pictures this Spring and post those as well. The race takes place early enough in the season that grass will continue to grow after the race and prior to the first hard freeze. The Commissioner was also concerned about erosion issues that could occur in the sandy areas where the wooden steps forced riders off the bike. I will post some pictures of that area as well.
Q: Dave, did you offer to make repairs?
A: Yes, in fact, with the help of Chuck Quackenbush i contacted Nan Lanahan, Director of the Bethlehem Town Park to ask if Nan would be a reference that the Schenectady Park Commissioner could speak to. Nan could vouch for the superb restoration job performed by Chris McBurnie and his band of CBRC volunteers. The City was not interested and like i said earlier the Commissioner's decision was quite firm.
It was a great run and a great race while it lasted.
Please come out to Schenectady's Central Park this weekend for the 2009 Ice Race on Iroquois Pond, Saturday, February 14. Races and other events from Noon to 4 PM. Registration starts at 11 AM. Free for all, great prizes. Look for the Plaine and Son trailers near the Casino. Bike Race starts at 1 PM. There will be a Chili Contest, Cross Country Ski Demos and more.
Posted by Andrew J. Bernstein at 6:01 PM