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High-flying fun soars at Cyclebration

Folsom's bicycling event touted as 'best yet'
By: Matt Long/Telegraph Sports Editor
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Hundreds of area residents and many other bike enthusiasts descended upon Folsom over the weekend for the fourth annual Cyclebration event. From mountain and road bike events to treasure hunts and vendor fairs, there was something for everyone and every family to do with several events held throughout the town. Folsom’s Erin Senechal was at Folsom City Lions Park on Saturday to watch her husband, Wes, race in the cyclocross event. Her kids, Emerson, 9, and Gavin, 7, were there to cheer on dad, who has been competing in cyclocross for three years and rides for a team called the Mad Cats. Erin and the kids were enjoying lunch, while waiting for Wes to ride by on his bike. “This (Cyclebration weekend) is great for families to get out and enjoy themselves,” Erin said. “It’s fun and it’s free.” The weekend began Friday night with the Fam Jam at Cummings Park along with the K.A.A.R.T. races at Dan Russell Arena. At the ever-popular Fam Jam, about 60 competitors performed an assortment of jumps, stunts and tricks in front of an estimated crowd of 400. “This is an art form; it all comes from a creative idea,” said Heath Sherratt, owner of The Hub bike shop in Roseville and the title sponsor for the event. “This is an independent sport. These are some of the nicest guys you will meet.” Folsom’s Eric Cook and his two kids attended the event. “It’s exciting,” Cook said of the Fam Jam. “The kids can run around and have some fun. It keeps them into it.” Joaquin Battle, 8, of Folsom is in the second grade and can already do his own tricks on his bike. “I’m having fun today,” Battle said. “I can do tricks. My favorite trick I do is the bar spin.” His mom, Elisa, said they have made the event a family tradition. BMX participant Cody James, 18, grew up in Folsom. “I’ve made so many good friends doing this,” James said. “I really like the unity of the sport.” He said his best trick is the front flip superman. George Stephenson III of Folsom is the organizer of the event and a professional mountain bike rider himself. He is the city of Folsom bike park manager and designed the park. “This is a free event that exposes people to the sport,” he said. “It’s great to expose people who have never seen it and watch them enjoy themselves.” Along with the cyclocross events and the Cyclebration festival and cycling expo on Saturday, several other events were held including a scavenger hunt, mountain bike racing and the road bike omnium. A mountain bike cross country race, the Willow Creek circuit race and the road bike omnium on Sunday brought the cycling weekend to an end. Phil Cardman of Granite Bay visited the cyclocross event Saturday with his dog Leela. Cardman was there to watch a friend, Greg Tsutoaka of Oakland, compete. “I’m just here to watch and lend support,” Cardman said. “I’ve never seen one of these races before and I thought it would be fun to come down and take a look. One nice thing about an event like this is that you can wander around the course and see the race from different points of view.” Like many competitors at Cyclebration, John Kammeyer of San Mateo was visiting Folsom from out of town. He and his son J.J. competed in the K.A.A.R.T. races on Friday and the cyclocross event on Saturday. Kammeyer said he travels regularly to compete in cyclocross events. “What I like is that it’s community oriented,” Kammeyer said. “It’s competitive, but you see the same guys every weekend and they’re all pretty friendly.” Kammeyer also liked the Folsom course. “It’s rare to ride on grass and I think it’s a pretty cool course. They’ve got some fun stuff out there and some tricky stuff.” Sarah Harling made the drive from San Francisco along with her boyfriend and another friend to compete on Saturday. “I saw this event on the web and my mom lives in Carmichael so we came up and stayed with her last night,” Harling said. “We really like racing so the travel is worth it. The course looks pretty good and this is just a fun atmosphere. It’s pretty welcoming and it’s a fun environment.” Reports from the city of Folsom is that the event was a huge success. “I’m happy to report that the fourth annual Cyclebration was our best yet,” said Robert Goss, the city’s parks and recreation director. “It went really well. We had more vendors than ever before at City Park on Saturday and they said it went well over there. Sunday we had very little traffic congestion and to this point we’ve received no complaints. We had 556 people racing on Sunday and that’s the most we’ve ever had. On Friday he had people competing from five different states, not including California, and we’re drawing not only a lot of Folsom riders, but also riders from out of town that are staying in hotels and eating at restaurants so that’s good too. There are still some things to improve on, but we’re narrowing the list.” ~ Laura Newell contributed to this report.