There is a recent drought in SoCal. It's definitely not from the rain. We've been getting plenty of that recently. The drought has been bike races. With the axing of Boulevard, Brentwood, Carlsbad GP and a few others. These races are not money makers, permits are expensive and hard to get. They rely heavily on reluctant and overworked volunteers and teams that put them on drain any little savings they had to put them on year after year.
There is a remedy to the SoCal drought. Enter HUNKR. Pronounced as it sounds is a new and unique kind of event. Right now there is no metric in cycling that people can wrap their heads around. In track people understand what a mile time represents. In swimming there is the 100 meters. Yeah. Cycling does have the hour record but it gets little attention unless a noteworthy cyclists makes an attempt. HUNKR is a 100 kilometer mass start event. Even though it is mass start people can try to finish at the front or use the distance to gauge their best times. People get staged and they estimate under a certain hour marker where they will finish.
The great thing about the event is that it offers all of the excitement of road racing without much of the danger. Yes there are aspects that are going to mimic race conditions but it is timed and people can go for there personal best. While criterium are the main staple of Southern California racing, this is something different and could be a great chance at filling the void between what racers are used to getting and also being less intimidating to newer racers. There are no USA Cycling categories in this one but you do figure out quickly where you stand. I know what people are thinking. "Isn't this a shorter Gran Fondo?" First of all the fees are reasonable compared to the prices of some of the fancier events. Unlike events like the BWR, you can still make it back home that day so your significant other can still have you do yard work.
It's not something where you need to plan your year around and do training camps for. It's a solid day on the bike that will take some of the faster riders under four hours and that's a great day in the saddle. For the more economically motivated, there is money involved. It pays out more than $5000.00 for both men and women. Equal prize money across genders not to mention for you younglings, you get to race for free! Compared to many traditional style races, that is a hefty prize list. Most races don't pay out more than the top three so it does increase the chances.
The great thing about Orange County is that it is nestled right between San Diego and Los Angeles counties. An easy place to get to if you are from either region. In a few years time based on the event's success, there could be possibly more locations of these 100k events. They also want to have them done on dirt and gravel with the same metric. Before you know it, people will be talking about their 100k times just like their mile times.
This event does have some elevation to it. It is under 5,000 feet so not a climbers paradise but no parking lot crit either. This is a small event that will help raise the level and fill that gap of much needed racing in Southern California. Strava will only take you so far but there is something to be said about registering for an event, pinning a number on and testing yourself.
All of this is the brainchild of the fine folks at Pedal Industries. Todd Brown, an Orange County cyclist and staple wanted to make things better and he is doing it in a way that is fun, equitable and hopefully something that will last. Todd has been supplying the Southern California region with everything from kits, custom canopies, shirts, socks and water bottles through Pedal Industries. HUNKR is sure to be a great event that if is anything like Todd's Products a quality experience. Check the video below to hear it directly from Todd himself as he co hosts episode 43 of the SoCal Cyclist Podcast.
• Unique Cycling Event in Orange County
• Equal Prize list among men and women
• Shoot for your PR in 100K
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• Mass start so no USA Cycling Categories
• Event success relies on participation numbers