The organizers of a Cyclocross event at Lake Sammamish State Park in Issaquah on Sunday will soon lay new grass seed and begin groundwork at the site to repair damage caused by the race.
Some visitors to the state park Monday morning were shocked to see a long muddy rut snaking its way around the park, the result of more than 500 riders racing around the park in soggy conditions following heavy rain the previous week.
However race promoter Jim Brown of Rad Racing NW, said immediately following the event his organization had met with Washington State Parks staff to assess the damage and draw up a plan for restoration of the site.
“Whether it takes manpower from the club, or financing repairs, we are more than willing,” Brown said. “We are not an organization that comes in and uses and abuses.”
Brown said Sunday’s Cyclocross race, featuring 550 registered riders from all across America and Europe, had been a good thing for Issaquah and Sammamish, and Rad Racing NW was keen to maintain a good relationship with park managers and the public.
“We put on an amazing event. It brought a couple of thousand people to the area, and generated international exposure,” he said. “The end result is that we want to come back again.”
Park Manager Rich Benson agreed that the Rad Racing organization had been good tenants.
“It’s a great event, and I’d like to see it continue,” he said. “The people are all well-behaved, they don’t make a mess.”
The problem this year was the weather. Last year’s event, held later in the year, was greeted with sunny, dry conditions, and as a result there was minimal impact to the park.
This year, though State Parks and Rad Racing moved the event forward to try to guarantee good weather, Mother Nature did not smile on them, with a few days of solid rain preceding the race.
Benson said it wouldn’t take a great deal of effort to get the park back to normal, and said restoration plans had been hampered by illness in his department.
He did say, however, that this year’s aftermath would prompt him to look at wether the race should be cancelled in the event of bad weather in years to come.
“If the damage continues to be worse than we think it will be, we’ll have to take a look at adding something in the contract about what happens when it rains,” he said.