Tricks or treats for this Halloween weekend in cross racing as we have four UCI races in the US: the fourth round of the NACT series in Colorado and rounds 5 and 6 of the Mid Atlantic Cross Series (MAC) in New Jersey.
All eyes on are the weather for the Colorado races. With the eight inches of wet snow that has already arrived, course organizers have decided to move Sunday’s race from Harlow Platts Park to the Boulder Reservoir. But the magnitude of the weather matches the magnitude of riders coming to Boulder and Longmont.
Katie Compton (Planet Bike) will make her 2009 NACT debut at the Blue Sky Velo Cup on Saturday and unfortunately for her competitors, Compton’s stars’n’stripes jersey isn’t just a costume. Compton is currently leading – no, dominating – the UCI standings. But some of her toughest competition has come from the Luna Chix and both Georgia Gould and Alison Dunlap are ready to give Compton a run for her money. With series leader Natasha Elliott (Garneau Club Chaussure) and second place Sue Butler (Monavie Cannondale) absent, Dunlap who is currently in fourth overall in the NACT standings, could be posed to move up. Other riders to watch include Amy Dombroski (Richard Sachs/RGM) and Barbara Howe (Vanderkitten).
While Compton’s presence may shake up the women’s standings, the Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com men’s team will be looking to solidify their hold over the top spots in the series. The only question is which one of the trio Tim Johnson, Jeremy Powers or Jamey Driscoll, will be slipping into the red jersey which is currently held by Jonathan Page (Planet Bike) now racing in Europe. The current order is Johnson, Driscoll and Powers in second, third and fourth. BISSELL’s Andy Jacques-Maynes in fifth was the next closest contender but he’s back at home, just diagnosed with H1N1 virus, so the door is wide open for the boys in green to take the top spots in the standings. And with the absence of KONA’s Ryan Trebon who is still suffering the aftermath of his two crashes at last weekend’s USGP races, everyone is expecting a Cannondale on the top step of the podium, which one though? Other riders to watch include Canadian Champ Geoff Kabush (Rocky Mountain-Maxxis) who’s finished top 5 and is looking to get on the podium, Jesse Anthony (Jamis) and Davide Frattini (Fuji).
The racing starts on Saturday with the Blue Sky Velo Cup in Longmont, just a few miles from Boulder. The Blue Sky Velo Cup was the highest attended cyclocross race in Colorado in 2008 with close to 600 racers. According to the organizers, the course is physically, technically, and mentally demanding and includes sand, stairs, and double-sided pit.
Sunday’s Boulder Cup was relocated in an effort to avoid damage to the turf at Harlow Platts. The schedule of events for the event remains unchanged with racing takes place all day beginning with local amateurs at 8:00 am. The professional men and women race during the afternoon beginning at 2:30 with the Elite Women followed by the Elite Men at 3:20. List of registered riders at BikeReg.com
Cyclocross racers at MAC’s two days of UCI and amateur racing in New Jersey this weekend will need to pay closer-than-normal attention to what they’re wearing. Beacon Cyclocross in Bridgeton, New Jersey will see racers trying to avoid the Jersey Devil while rushing through the woods on Halloween, while promoters of the following day’s Cat and Kitten Cross presented by HPCX in Jamesburg New Jersey have a few suggestions about what to wear to a wedding reception in the middle of a cyclocross race.
Wait … a wedding reception? yep.
Jonny Sundt, a member of the Kelly Benefit Strategies Pro Cycling Team, and Mandy Lozano, a recently retired pro road and cyclocross racer, originally met at the HPCX race several years ago. And though they married earlier this year and settled in Texas where Mandy works in Marketing for Frito Lay, they wanted to return to New Jersey and HPCX for their reception. “Cyclocross has given us so much, including each other,” said Sundt. “We just wanted to share with the greater family of cyclocross. I’ve done just about every kind of bike racing, and cylcocross has a sense of community that’s unparalleled in any other discipline. So we’re going to have a party with about 400 of our best ‘cross buddies.”
“Cyclocross’ culture of inclusion is key,” adds Mandy. “Few do it better than the HPCX crew. Financially supporting the race lets us give back to the sport and helps to ensure the longevity of the mindset.”
Back to proper attire. The irrationality of cyclocross, such as Beacon’s “Amphitheater of Pain” run-up to the top of the terraced seating area of Bridgeton’s two-story high amphitheater, provides a good setting for Halloween attire. Last season, the entire C3 team, nearly 20 members strong, debuted a special Karate Kid “Fists of Death” skinsuit just for the occasion. In keeping with the theme of trick or treat, Halloween day’s Beacon Cross has made the first change in many years to its classic roads-in-the-woods course. “The city installed new guardrails, so we’ve extended the straight, paved start several hundred feet further up the hill before merging it with the main course this year,” says Beacon promoter Wade Hess. “It’ll probably be a treat for most racers, but it’ll be a cruel trick anybody that expects the old right-hand corner that isn’t there anymore.”
Because the Sunday race erves as the wedding reception for Sundt and Lozano, the organizers have issued a statement clarifying what constitutes “proper attire” at a reception that incorporates a cyclocross race:
“Proper attire is requested for Cat and Kitten’s reception. Since the lovebirds have settled in Texas, and the race takes place just minutes from the New Jersey Turnpike, cowboy boots would be appropriate. But for the love of humanity, and in the name of all that is decent, please do not walk around the reception (nor anyplace else) wearing only a skinsuit and cowboy boots. HPCX suggests that a freshly-coiffed mullet and a fashionably black HPCX Tee Shirt (purchased from our registration page on BikeReg.com) would be a tasteful, yet not ostentatious, wardrobe combination for this special occasion. Please also wear trousers.”
Sundt, for his part, has no doubt about what he and Mandy are expecting from their wedding reception, “It’s going to be an insane party, with the Beer Garden and the great food. And you can keep your belly full and your mug full and watch really good UCI racing.”
Heading into the two MAC races, C3-Athletes Serving Athletes (a.ka. “The Dark Side”) leads the Team Standings with 48 points. The next closest team, Human Zoom/Pabst Blue Ribbon, trails by 13 points — a large margin with only four races complete.
C3-Athletes Serving Athletes currently hold first and second place in the Elite Women with Laura Van Gilder and Dee Dee Winfield. The Dark Side’s domination is not complete, however, as defending champions Wes Schempf currently resides in third place in the Elite Men’s division behind Fuji’s Davide Frattini and Adam Myerson (CycleSmart). With Frattini racing in Colorado, Myerson and Schempf will be duking it out. List of registered riders at BikeReg.com