Two UCI cross races on tap this weekend in the US, the Cycle-Smart International I & II, held at Look Park in Northampton, MA. The 19th edition of the race comprises rounds nine and ten of the Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series.
With over twenty years of cyclocross experience between them, course designers JD Bilodeau and Adam Myerson have created a course that takes advantage of Look Park’s challenging features. As in years past, this will be a fast and technical, “traditional New England-style course.” The hallmarks of this course – the steep run up and ride up will make an appearance, as well as the drop off and several raised train track crossings. New for this year, the finish will be moved to the lower level, near the main parking, bringing the action into plain view and making the race much more spectator friendly.
The weather predictions for this weekend call for mostly sunny days with highs in the 50s. I’ll be providing live updates on twitter during the Elite Women and Men races – come and say hi if you’re around.
Strong field. The Elite Men’s field has been dominated thus far by Richard Sachs/RGM/Radix rider Dan Timmerman who picked up victories in rounds one and two in Vermont and solidified his position on top by sweeping rounds seven and eight in New Gloucester, Maine. He holds a substantial lead over U-23 leader Luke Keough (Team Champion System) and fellow Sachs rider Josh Dillon.
Other riders to watch who are showing to play this weekend are Jeremy Powers (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) who’ll be looking to win on Saturday in his hometown, his teammate Jamey Driscoll, Adam Craig (Giant), Jesse Anthony (Jamis) and Derrick St-John (Garneau Club Chaussure).
At the top of the Elite Women’s field is MM Racing’s Maureen Bruno-Roy whose consistency has given her an edge over second place Natasha Elliott (Garneau/Club Chassures/Ogilvy). Each has three wins in the first eight rounds, but Elliott’s absence from the Providence Festival of Cyclocross has cost her dearly. Other riders to watch this weekend include Laura van Gilder (C3 Athletes serving Athletes) and Mary McConneloug (KENDA-Seven-NoTubes).
Like the Elite Men, the U-19 field has splintered, leaving CL Noonan/KAM/Coast to Coast racer Jesse Keough on top with Joshua Lehmann (Sunapee/S&W/Continental Paving) and Nate Morse (Clif Bar Development Cyclocross Team) fighting to get back in the race. (List of registered riders available over at BikeReg.com)
Pick Up party – no not that kind of pick up. This Friday at Cycle-Smart Headquarters in Easthampton, there will be a reception from six until nine pm. There will be drinks generously provided by Ramadon’s Package Store in Three Rivers, MA as well as snacks, friends, pros and cyclocross. The party is free and all are welcome. “Come drink beer, talk to people, get numbers, and get dirty.” (More details here)
More exhibitors. With the relocation of the finish line, the expo area has also moved to the lower level. Given this new space and increased visibility, the exhibitor list has grown; confirmed exhibitors include Mavic, Spooky Bikes, Van Dessel Bikes, Hotshot Café, Northampton Cycling Club, October Handmade Bikes, Ryders Eyewear and Gentle Giant. Also exhibiting will be The Brewmaster’s Tavern of Williamsburg, MA who will be giving away beer to all USAC members who present their licenses or race numbers. Provided, of course, that they’re over 21.
The expansion of the Cycle-Smart International would not have been possible without the help of generous sponsors. Local bicycle shop owner Joe Mai of Joe’s Garage has been instrumental in drumming up community support for this year’s event. Sponsorship for this year’s event comes from Cycle-Smart, Joe’s Garage, Northampton Cycling Club, Ride Noho, Northeast Paint, Litmus Designs, Northampton Coffee and Bueno y Sano.
The action starts at 8:30 am on Saturday with the Elite Women scheduled at 2pm followed by the Elite Men at 3pm. Same schedule for Sunday. (More info over at BikeReg.com)