Cross the line

Teal Stetson-Lee is the point-person for a new event that’s coming to town. It’s called CrossReno, and this is its inaugural year. It’ll happen this weekend, on Sept. 19, and it will combine the outdoors with racing, food and music. Should be cool. Check out cxreno.com for details.

What made you want to do this sort of festival?

Reno has always had some really spectacular special events, but since I’ve lived here, which has only been about three years, I haven’t seen an event that really celebrates the authentic spirit of Reno in the sense that it showcases the outdoor recreational aspect of this community. And that was something I really wanted to focus on because I think it’s a little known fact among people who do not live in Reno, what a gorgeous place it is to live. We have access to the mountains, and the river running right through the middle. So that was part of the inspiration. So I teamed up with two business partners, Michelle Quevedo and Nicole Whisman. We formed a company called Shadow Industries, and this is our first company undertaking, putting on CrossReno.

One thing I’ve noticed about this is, usually when an event starts in Reno—and I’ve been doing this for more than 20 years—it seems like they kind of start small, but it seems like your event is starting almost wholly formed. How did you develop these skills? This is a huge undertaking.

We’re not fully developed. We’re developing them every single day. I think that the real credit for that goes to all of the community partnerships and collaborations that we’ve formed throughout this process. Collaboration is our core company value, so that’s how we started this, this whole building process. Back in October, we knew we needed to pick the brains of everybody who was already an expert when it came to event promotion. They really knew how to do it right and what not to do. We discussed starting out small and building, but sometimes, I feel like if you come from the gates charging, you leave the lasting impression that then carries you forward with greater momentum into the future. Our intention is for this event to be sustainable, and annual, and develop and grow with different layers to it. We thought we have a really exciting racing platform paired music, paired with food, because all three of those things happen with different demographics. But we do hope this will grow.

Of course.

We’ve really been learning a lot as we’ve been embarking on this project. And that’s really the simplest answer I can give you.

That’s a great answer. Now tell me specifically what the race is.

The type of racing is called cyclocross. Cyclocross is a unique type of cycling. It’s a combination of mountain biking and road biking. It’s an off-road discipline, and the bike looks like a road bike with tread on the tires, so you can ride on grass and gravel and dirt and mud. It has its roots in Belgium, and is enjoyed by the Tour de France drivers in their off-season. They take their bikes out into the fields and the creeks and the pastures and started having some fun races where they would race from town to town. It had a certain amount of ridiculousness to it because it was in the fall and winter when the weather is the worst, and there’s lots of mud usually. And so that’s how it kind of developed. It’s now the fastest growing cycling race system in the world. It’s huge in Europe, and it’s growing in the U.S. The key factor of CycloCross is that it’s incredibly sexy and friendly. Whether you’re racing or watching, it’s really an awesome sport to feel like you’re participating in it. There are all different levels of participation, whether you’re heckling riders or if you’re actually in the race yourself. The courses are short, so it’s not like you see everyone at the start line and then see them a few hours later at the finish line. You can watch almost the entire race standing in one place.