Sandy Events Planner Carol Cohen is accustomed to overcoming obstacles. The former competitive bicycle racer has been trying to bring a major racing event to the area for years, and now she has done it.

The event? Cyclocross. In certain circles, the sport is as big as the Indianapolis 500 and the Kentucky Derby. The sport is less about straight riding and more about moving through an adverse, hilly and muddy course while also carrying or using a bike. Imagine a mix of mountain biking, an obstacle course, running, mud bogging and technical terrain negotiation, blended with robust spectator participation in a festival atmosphere. The sport has exploded in popularity in recent years, drawing thousands of racers and spectators to racing events.

“I can recall when we were thrilled to have 700 people show up, and now we get thousands,” said Oregon Bike Racing Association representative Dan Carlson, “In fact we sometimes need to put a cap on it because if it gets too big we can’t handle the crowds.”

Cohen first approached the Oregon Trail School District with hopes to hold an event at the new high school, but to no avail. After some searching, she found a venue at Liepold Farms in Boring.

The event, named “Corn Cross,” is slated for Nov. 2. Already, Cohen has lined up a small battalion of sponsors, including Otto’s Ski and Bike Shop, The Beer Den, Wraptitude, and the Best Western Motel in Sandy.

Also, Cohen said, the racing association has signed on to officiate the event. This, she said, is key to success.

“Having the OBRA name on the event will draw tons of people,” she said.

Cohen said she envisions Corn Cross to be an annual event that will appeal to racers as well as the general public, offering food, beer and entertainment, centered around the competition.

“I want us to be like Bend,” she said. “Because Bend is about major mountain biking. And really, cyclocross is something everyone can do.”

Corn Cross will be open to competitors from all skill levels. In fact, there will also be a race for kids. This inclusive element, coupled with the popularity of the sport, is something city of Sandy Economic Development Director Dave Snider is excited about.

“It really has the potential to be a major draw for the area,” said Snider.

Citing the push by Clackamas County to boost tourism to the area, Otto’s owner Audrey Anne Rode is also excited about the planned event.

“What the county has been telling us is that getting collaborating groups together is a great formula for success,” she said. “So having the racing and the food and the beer will be a great way to do that. And a lot of Sandy people tend to think, ‘I’m not athletic,’ but I think people tend to underestimate their abilities.”

Carlson agreed that the sport is accessible to anyone, and that the pure fun aspect lends itself to the popularity.

“Especially since it’s something that happens during really bad weather,” he said. “That’s the idea. People are mostly out there to enjoy playing in the mud.”

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