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Cyclocross: a new West Sac tradition?

A pair of cyclists dismount to take on a short-but-steep hill on West Sacramento’s riverfront, during the inaugural “West Sacramento Cyclocross Grand Prix” on Saturday, Sept. 6 (News-Ledger photo)

A pair of cyclists dismount to take on a short-but-steep hill on West Sacramento’s riverfront, during the inaugural “West Sacramento Cyclocross Grand Prix” on Saturday, Sept. 6
(News-Ledger photo)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — SEPT 10, 2014 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

The inaugural “West Sacramento Cyclocross Grand Prix” on Saturday exceeded its organizers’ expectations. They hope to bring the riverfront race back in future years – perhaps even turning it into a fixture on the international cycling calendar.

Organizer Matthew Hargrove downplays his own abilities – he placed 38th in the “single speed bike” category on Saturday – but is bullish on the temporary River Walk Park racecourse site. The designers “cut a diamond out of the park.” he said, fashioning a convoluted, roped-off course up and down the grass on the riverfront.

“We think we have the raw material in that park to put this event on the national or international circuit,” said Hargrove.

Spectators on the “grand staircase” near the ziggurat building had a great view of most of the action, with Old Sacramento as a backdrop.

Each race lap was 1.7 miles.

Racers take on the twisting course. There were also food trucks and live music at the inaugural “West Sacramento Cyclocross Grand Prix over the weekend.  (Photo courtesy of Jillian Bhopla)

Racers take on the twisting course. There were also food trucks and live music at the inaugural “West Sacramento Cyclocross Grand Prix over the weekend.
(Photo courtesy of Jillian Bhopla)

The winner in the men’s “elite” division, 27-year old Anthony Clark of Massachusetts, managed to complete 11 laps in just under 56 minutes.

Elite women’s winner Rachel Lloyd of Fairfax finished eight laps in 43:31, followed closely by one of the event’s founders, 35-year old Emily Kachorek of Sacramento.

Sacramento’s Emily Kachorek -- who helped develop the event -- sprints past, with the Tower Bridge as a backdrop.   (Photo courtesy of Jeff Namba)

Sacramento’s Emily Kachorek — who helped develop the event — sprints past, with the Tower Bridge as a backdrop.
(Photo courtesy of Jeff Namba)

Other people key in creating the new event were Kachorek’s husband, Pete Knudsen, and Marty Woy of The Bicycle Business, reported Hargrove. West Sacramento’s Bryan Miller put in a lot of work in designing its graphics. The Chamber of Commerce also pitched in.

Hargrove said his group had a strategy in creating a West Sacramento cyclocross race at this time of year and at this location.   The event came four days ahead of today’s “Cross Vegas” competition in Las Vegas.

“Part of the reason for doing this race is really to take advantage of our proximity to Las Vegas and to use this perfect site,” he told the News-Ledger. “’Cross Vegas’ is a grass course almost exactly like we have, and it’s also a hot dry climate. We hoped to get a some of the pros coming into Cross Vegas, with its humungous prize purse, to come here first and do a tune-up.”

That worked pretty well on Saturday, he hoped.

“It was two and a half-times bigger than expected. This year, we hit where we hoped we’d be in year three. This was an awesome event.”

Hargrove reports that seven women in the elite field in West Sacramento had the credential of “world tour points” from the cyclocross governing association, as did four of the 25 riders in the men’s elite division.

Meanwhile, anybody who wanted to was able to take a lap around the course at the beginning of the day before the racing started. At one point, said Hargrove, West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon was pedaling around the course next to some ranked cyclists and a child.

“You had professional athletes out there riding the course slowly, memorizing the course and figuring out their ‘line,” he explained.

Saturday’s racing included a novice division, masters and youth racing, and a one-lap kids’ race.

Hargrove said that, besides being an amateur cyclocross enthusiast, he had another motive for helping to launch the local “Grand Prix”:

“My real motive was to make West Sacramento look awesome on the national cyclocross scene,” he said.

Check out a competitor’s-eye video of the event, taken by West Sacramento’s Greg Price, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aBbRdJrQmo

Race results are at: http://www.timeyourrace.com/GCX/2014Results.htm

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Rabies threat: if you find a bat on the ground, step away and call Animal Services

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — SEPT 3, 2014 —

The Yolo County Sheriff’s Department warns members of the public not to touch any bats found on the ground. The department tells of one incident that took place early the afternoon of August 13 in Davis:

“A bat was found inside a tire swing at Davis Community Park, in the children’s playground behind the Davis Art Center. The bat then fell out of the tire swing onto the ground. Children were present and alerted an adult that there was a bat crawling on the ground. The bat was impounded by an Animal Services Officer and sent in for testing to the Solano, Napa & Yolo Public Health Laboratory to test for the rabies virus. Results determined the bat was positive for the virus.”

In 2013, adds Vicky Fletcher of the sheriff’s office, “there were numerous bats under the pedestrian overcrossing (at the park) that tested positive for rabies.”
“If you find a bat on the ground or in your residence,” said Fletcher in a press release, “do not attempt to handle the animal. Please contact Yolo County Sheriff’s Animal Services or your local law enforcement agency to have the animal removed.”

“Also, remember to vaccinate your pets for rabies,” she said.

If a person becomes sick with rabies, it’s generally fatal. But if a person exposed to rabies receives treatment before symptoms appear, the disease can usually be prevented.

For emergency calls only, contact the Yolo County Animal Services division at 911 or (530) 666-6612.

For non-emergency deputy response, call them at (530) 666-8282.

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: water meters are a bad idea, West Capitol flop houses & more

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — SEPT 3, 2014 —

No water metering
  (RE: News-Ledger editorial “The meters should be running,” Aug. 27)

 

Water meters, on the surface, sound like a great idea. Bill the people for the water they use. However, there are some huge problems with water meters, the main one being the finances for the city.
A few years ago San Jose asked people to reduce their water usage due to a previous drought.  The people did and reduced their water usage by over 20 percent. However since the bills were paid by the amount of water used, the water district had revenues that were also 20 percent lower than before.  The math was simple less water used means less revenue.  So the water district raised the rates by over 20 percent to cover “their” shortfall.  This of course incensed the people who saved water and now were being charged just as much for using a lot less water.  And of course when they went back to their normal water usage the water district received much more revenue, which they didn’t need.
I like our system, we reduced water usage by nearly 20 percent yet the revenues to the city did not change.  When the drought is over, we can go back to normal watering and it will not cost us extra.  I believe the people can do what is right without getting gouged by meters.  I believe enough people in West Sacramento are mature enough to know that using less water now is important and we have stepped up.  So no to water meters!
KARL MACHSCHEFES
West Sacramento

Flop houses
I want to know what the city plans to do about the ongoing problem of these “Flop House” motels on West Capitol Avenue? Especially the West Wood. The folks “living” in these flop houses are not travelers looking for a night’s rest. They are not even there at night most of the time. And if they are, they are dealing drugs out the bathroom windows.  Or yelling and screaming at each other in the streets. These people all ride bikes (after all we are now a bike friendly city) towing a handmade bike trailer of some kind. Or walk around pulling a commercial tub or pushing a stroller full of yappy little matted-hair flea-bitten dogs. They roam the streets at night looking for anything and everything they can sell at the recycle place. I see them out on the corners stripping copper from wiring and leaving the “junk” laying there.
At least once a week someone will get “put out” of the flop house and  camp out on the street corner on Poplar & Merkley. Last week there were five suit cases dumped on the corner of Poplar & Merkley on Monday. By Saturday there was one lonely beaten down empty suit case laying on the corner. While out watering my lawn I saw 3 different people and one couple stop, flip it over and check it out to see if it was worth picking up. No one did.
And lets talk about Sunday nights in that area of the city. Monday is garbage collection day in that part of town. Well here they all come from parts far and wide with their bike towed carts or pushing/pulling grocery carts or commercial bins just waiting until dark to rifle through all the recycle/trash bins. It’s like a big party on Sunday nights. And heaven help anyone that gets in their way. The all congregate about sundown on the corner of Poplar and Merkley to make their plans on who covers what streets. They come and go to empty their carts of their finds into their rooms and the parking lots in front of their rooms, all night long.
I have lived in that area for almost 21 years and it has gotten progessively worse in the last two years. If I thought I could get a decent price for my house, I’d sell it and get out of West Sac. But who will buy with that going on? I used to be proud to live in “old downtown” West Sacramento. But all the city money seems to be being spent south of the barge canal.  Or around Raley Field. Something needs to be done. The police drive through at least once a week. But those people somehow know when the police are coming and disappear! It has got to stop!
ANITA HARRINGTON
West Sacramento

Seawater for fires
We have fire districts in the area who’ve lost thousands of gallons of water to vandals and thieves, and water districts throughout the state whose infrastructure is so dilapidated, that one broken main wastes millions of gallons of “the lifeblood of California.”
Salt water intrusion into our estuaries in the Delta is an environmental concern that is a serious threat to the healthy sustainability of both fish and game, etc. Salt water on most terrestrial plants will, in a great enough quantity, kill them.
Yet I foresee an unforeseen light at the end of this dismal tunnel; pump, pipe and/or transport by railroad tank car, salt water to urban fire districts for firefighting. Yes, you may lose your lawn, but there may be enough water left over to save your home.

J. BESHARIAN
West Sacramento

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‘Sactoberfest’ returns to West Sac riverfront for a second year

A huge beer garden tent was part of last year's inaugural Oktoberfest-themed party in West Sacramento's Bridge District, (Photo courtesy of Finrich Events LLC)

A huge beer garden tent was part of last year’s inaugural Oktoberfest-themed party in West Sacramento’s Bridge District, (Photo courtesy of Finrich Events LLC)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER —

Beer, keg rolling and “worst tossing” are all on tap as Sactoberfest returns to West Sacramento’s Bridge District October 10-12.

The three-day festival is expected to draw at least 8,500 visitors to celebrate the German tradition. There will be brews from both the old country and local breweries such as Sudwerk, Yolo Brewing Co., Bike Dog and Jackrabbit (the last three of which are in West Sacramento), served under a 22,000 square foot tent by waitresses in ‘drindl’ costumes. Local eateries such as Broderick Roadhouse will also be on hand, as will live music. The event will center at the new “Barn” outdoor structure, 951 Riverfront Street. Tickets start at $25 (and will go up after Oct. 1).

Visit www.Sactoberfest.com.

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