This weekend, Northeast Kansas City was once again inundated with cyclists. However, it wasn’t the roadies of the Tour of Kansas City descending on the area, it was those looking for a little off-road action, and there was plenty of it. This weekend’s Urban Dirty Festival was full of various rides, races, and activities.

[pullquote cite=”Brett Shoffner” type=”left”]Only one word can describe the Urban Dirty festival: tremendous. Great people, great events, great venue. This is what we want Cliff Drive and Kessler Park to be.[/pullquote]The festival kicked off Friday night with a Super D race and trail ride. The weekend wasn’t just about the riding though, Saturday morning started off with a chance to give back with a community workday in the park.

EarthRiders MTB Club spent part of Saturday leading trail rides to showcase the MTB trails that have been built in the area.

Those looking for a challenging cyclocross course were given all they could handle on Saturday at the  Cliff Drive Cyclocross Race. The technical course consisted of tight turns (many of which were 180 degrees), one set of barriers, slick corners, plenty of off-camber sections, fast descents and plenty of running for those who lost momentum up the many small climbs along the course.

Cliff Drive Cyclocross Race Kansas City

Riders maneuver through the barriers at Cliff Drive Cyclocross.

The race was held in Kessler Park, right along Gooseneck Hill, the key climb in the Tour of Kansas City Cliff Drive Road Race. Saturday’s course even took the riders onto the pavement and up the last half of the Tour of KC climb before diving back into the park.

Start position was critical as many riders had difficulty navigating the various aspects of the course causing multiple pileups. Those caught behind the melee were forced to spend the duration of the race chasing down those who made it through unscathed. Saturday wrapped up with a BBQ, prize raffles, and a night mountain bike race.

Sunday began with a family ride around the park followed up by a second day of cross racing. Sunday’s cyclocross course was slightly less technical but riders still had to stay on their toes. Many of Saturday’s turns and features were still included in the slightly altered course.

The  weekend’s events are a celebration of sorts, not just for cycling, but for a culmination of a year’s worth of efforts in cleaning up and revitalizing the Cliff Drive Corridor. Brett Shoffner, one of the leaders of the revitalization effort, was also one of the organizers of this year’s Urban Dirty Festival. He was extremely happy with the festival’s first year, “Only one word can describe the Urban Dirty festival: tremendous. Great people, great events, great venue. This is what we want Cliff Drive and Kessler Park to be.”

Brett has overseen the revitalization of the area which, in just one year, has totaled 5577 volunteer hours. These volunteers have made an incredible impact on the area. They have collected over 5000 bags of trash, 3500 tires (that is 77,000 pounds of tires by the way), and built 2.5 miles of new nature trails. These efforts have made events like the Urban Dirty Festival possible.

There were several key organizations that helped pull off this weekend’s events including Cliff Drive Corridor Management Committee, Team Colavita/Parisi & Volker Bikes, Urban Trail Co, and Ecological Placemakers. Plans are in the works to expand the event next year and include more MTB racing as well as some trail runs.

Cliff Drive Cyclocross Results

Photos by Roger Harrison