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Runnin’ with Rani: Big Island Cyclocross Series returns to Kona

July 14, 2017 - 12:05am

The wait is finally over.

After four months of keeping Big Island Cyclocross fans anxiously waiting at the edge of their bike seats, race organizer Vern Sekafetz says, “It’s time for round two.”

The three-part Big Island Cyclocross Series will resume the excitement with the second off-road cycling event tentatively scheduled for Aug. 13th at the Old Airport soccer and baseball fields.

Sekafetz organized Big Island’s first Cyclocross race in March and felt ecstatic with the turnout and support received from the athletic community.

“People were happy that there was something different than the ordinary and those that were already familiar with Cyclocross were excited by the technical layout of the course,” Sekafetz said. “I felt I accomplished what I was hoping to do which was to get the former Cyclocross riders excited to have a race here in town and the new Cyclocross riders some experience.”

As a quick refresher, Cyclocross, also known as CX, Cyclo-Cross or just Cross, is a very specific type of bike racing that has some obvious parallels to mountain bike racing, cross-country cycling and criterium racing.

For the most part, the course is off-road with riders expected to encounter grass, dirt, mud, gravel, sand, portions of pavement, and any other creative combinations designated by the race organizer. Courses typically include barriers and difficult technical features that will require the rider to quickly dismount, carry their bike while navigating the obstacle, then remounting before completing the multi-lap course.

Cyclocross races are based on a set time with results measured by the number of laps completed, not distance. While a race can be as quick as 30 minutes or as long as 60 minutes, Sekafetz has decided that his Cyclocross series will be set at 35 minutes.

And now, Sekafetz says it’s time for the fun to begin all over again but not without some exciting new changes.

“This type of race has always been notable for having some fun alternative ways to present bike racing,” the 42-year old Kailua-Kona resident said. “Whether it be with the inclusion of costumes or prize options, or just the general classifications of riders, in this case, what I’ve opted to do was an event at night. I plan for the race to begin at sunset and for the lights on the field to help with seeing the layout of the course. I think having a nighttime appeal to it will be tons of fun. And hopefully, it will give us a different visual aspect of it too.”

Sekafetz added that some of the advantages to hosting the event at twilight are to help keep competitors and spectators cool from the summertime heat, and it’s also a time when not many people use the park. The evening race would also appeal to those who typically work on the weekends and possibly avoid interfering with planned daytime family activities.

“The course will also have a different layout as we will be using more of the north side of the gym area instead of the south, which is actually where the lights are located,” he said. “I want to make the course spectator friendly so that there is a visual on any one person at all times. And the beauty of Cyclocross is that you can change it up, do different layouts, and make it fun and entertaining so that’s exactly what I’m planning to do.”

Sekafetz is hoping that getting the word out now about his second event in the Big Island Cyclocross series will raise the level of excitement and allow participants - and spectators - more time to prepare for the night race tentatively scheduled for August 13th.

“As much as I would love for people to come out and go race it, I think it would be a blast for people to come out to spectate, cheer, yell, and just heckle those riding in the race, he said. “The idea is for everyone to come out and just have fun. So for people to experience it and walk away smiling and saying how cool it was, that’s my motivation to continue the series.”

For more information, updates, or to volunteer for the Big Island Cyclocross Series visit the Facebook page Big Island Cyclocross or @bigislandcx, or contact Vern Sekafetz at

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