12 November 2012
Bay Area Super Prestige and Tom Simpson announced on the Bay Area Cyclocross News Group today that, with new permitting requirements, “we can’t do it.” The unfortunate news had already been met with disappointment even before the circumstances became official.
The venue for the 25 November event is now Candlestick Point. Tom Simpson’s invitation to the ‘cross community reads [I] “hope whoever has enjoyed the Park since 2004 and our first event will keep those great memories alive and transfer them to all other existing Cyclocross venues.”
Here is an excerpt from the News Group statement:
If you don’t know your San Francisco history, Golden Gate Park was built by John McLaren in the latter part of the nineteenth century, way out in the sandy hinterlands of SF. The barren space was ¾ sand dunes and those gazillions of trees you enjoy today were planted to help stabilize the dunes. But in 2012, the sandy and delicate nature of the Park means we can no longer race – the Park is showing too much impact and can’t withstand the amount of wheeled traffic we pour onto it both every Thanksgiving weekend and during the frequent training sessions. The trails, the new plantings designed to continue to anchor the underlying dunes – they are all in jeopardy from an overabundance of our wheeled traffic.
NorCal Cycling News asked Tom Simpson a few questions about the venue change.
NCCN – With the news coming on the back of the Clif Bar Sierra Point Night Race, have you ever had such a disappointing way follow up that event?
Tom Simpson – We had the news several weeks prior but didn’t want to distract both our staff and riders during the run up to Sierra Point. It’s history now so we are optimistically looking forward to more racing in 2 weeks – just at a different but familiar venue close by.
NCCN – How much notice did you receive from SF Park and Rec about the possibility of losing the venue?
Tom Simpson – I got a call a month ago from their Special Events permit administrator asking for a meeting to discuss possible solutions to the impact that off road training was taking on the area.
NCCN – Will the loss of GGP as a venue continue past this season?
Tom Simpson – Yup – they will not consider another permitted off-road event.
NCCN – Some people may fail to understand the impact of an annual event with training rides. Can you provide more details about the damage and its long term detriment to Golden Gate Park?
Tom Simpson – The park’s subsoil is very sandy and therefore very fragile – it doesn’t take many wheel impacts to cut through the topsoil and erosion begins. We have had a work party following the race for the past 3 years to mitigate damage to the course areas – to cover over with a variety of gardening/landscaping materials supplied by park staff in the affected areas – but this eventually proved to be ineffective. When too many wheels track through planted and even non-planted areas, ruts are formed that channel rainwater in undesired paths with bad consequences for other parts of the park ecosystem.
NCCN – What was the significant obstacle to overcome – convincing Park and Rec to allow the event or the cost to meet their requirements? Or, both?
Tom Simpso – Both, permit costs would be between $7-9,000.00 and additional staff requirements were added to notify riders in the race course area in the park during the week prior to the event. We’ve all got day jobs so that was a pretty significant obstacle to overcome. We couldn’t see a way to do it.
NCCN – Did you consider running the 25 November races at Sierra Point or Coyote Point?
Tom Simpson – We didn’t want to press our luck with Sierra Point or Coyote Point – each location is fine with a single visit but more visits geometrically increases the chances of more wind/dust into the marina at Sierra Point and more terrain impact at Coyote Point. Either of them could become a deal breaker for the location.
NCCN – Fans and cyclocrossers are understandably disappointed. What can they look forward to with a third trip to Candlestick Point?
Tom Simpson – The Bridge is back up and running – it will make an appearance. If we have any amount of rain, Candlestick will not be recognized by anyone who competed in Candlestick V1.0 and Candlestick V2.0. and excuuuuse me but what do I see on the forecast for this weekend? And we’ll see how we can both incorporate some of the usual features and something with new terrain – plus barricades don’t have to be in the same place 3 times, you know?
NCCN – Looking forward to next season, is there another venue that could replace Golden Gate Park?
Tom Simpson – We are always on the lookout for locations that could answer our basic requirements of geographic access, parking, distance from our warehouse, etc. We don’t have an answer, yet. Murphy [Mack] may have some now ones percolating, however.
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