“Lewisville,” “Looeyville,” “Looavull,” “Looaville,” and “Luhvull”. Any way you pronounce it, Louisville, Kentucky will be ready for the 2013 UCI Cyclocross World Championships.
In front of a packed house in Koksijde, Belgium, the folks behind Louisville 2013 offered a warm welcome to the event next year and offered an overview of the venue. Media, cyclocross officials and team representatives were present, all curious to hear about the first cyclocross world championships to be held outside of Europe. Also in the house were a few American racers such as Tim Johnson, Meredith Miller, Nicole Duke, Jamey Driscoll and Kaitie Antonneau to provide support.
The evening started off with short speeches from UCI President Pat McQuaid and USA Cycling President Steve Johnson.
“The UCI talks a lot about globalization these days and particularly we refer to it when we talk about the road discipline but the UCI is every bit as enthusiastic and as dedicated to developing the discipline of cyclocross as indeed the other disciplines as well and this is one good step on the way. Just a couple of weeks ago, Louisville proved its excellent organizational skills when it hosted the UCI Cyclocross Masters World Championships where some 400 athletes from 10 different nations competing on the course at Eva Bandman Park. The success of these Masters World Championships leave me with no doubt as to the quality of the event that awaits us in the same park next year.” McQuaid said.
“The national federation has hosted four national championships in Louisville, Kentucky, some of which have had participants in excess of 1,500 and the city accommodates them wonderfully, friends and family have a great time, I think that’s important to consider as well. I think we probably won’t be able to replicate what you’re going to see on Sunday which is 50,000 Belgians drinking a lot of beer but in Kentucky they drink bourbon so it doesn’t take nearly as much to get to the same sense of we’re all having a great time here.” said Johnson to a round of applause.
He continued, “Operationally from the national federation perspective, you’re going to be served by one of the best operational group in the world, Bruce Fina and Joan Hanscom are top-notch, they run one of the largest series of cross races in the United States, and for those of you who have been watching, we had over 500 cyclocross races in the United States last year and we had more than 40 races on the UCI International calendar for 2013. It’s a sport that has exploded in the United States, you’ll find a lot of passionate people who will be there to support your riders and to witness a spectacle that we’ve been looking forwards to now for a number of years so I look forwards to next year welcoming all of you to Louisville in 2013.”
So how do you pronounce Louisville?
Louisville Sports Commission Executive Director Karl Schmitt answered that question for all.
“I have met many people locally, most of whom pronounce our fair city, ‘Lewisville’, some that I’ve met around the world will pronounce it ‘Looeeville’, back home we say ‘Looavull’.”
Schmitt then repeated the pronounciation three times, with the audience joining in. “Luhvull. “Luhvull”. “Luhvull.
The course. Louisville 2013 organizer Bruce Fina then went on to describe the course at the Eva Bandman Park, a full-time dedicated cross park 3-km from downtown and all its restaurants and hotels.
Fina and the course designers are using the middle field to create transitions. “The course is built to transition from technical to open speed, technical to open power in the field.”
The course starts off with 250 meters of pavement to the first turn, a 45º left-hand turn, before diving down into the open field. At this point, the course will be six to seven-meters wide which should allow the best riders to make it to the front according to Fina. And then the first technical feature.
“The first technical feature is a run-up that will have wooden steps built in, it will possible for the best technical riders to ride it and the fastest runners to run it just as fast.” explained Fina.
The course returns to the field to go up (and down) the permanent, purpose-built flyover before the first time through the pit which will have permanent washing facilities.
“In the past we’ve had lots of problems so now we’re building a permanent washing facility with permanent drainage that drains out away from the course so we’re not flooding the course with water with the water that we use for bike washing.” Fina commented. “We can expect any kind of weather, we have no idea. Last two weeks we went from 12 C to -4 C overnight with two inches of rain in between, so you can imagine the chaos that this creates and we’re being prepared for it for next year.”
After pit #1, the course continues through the woods up onto the pavement again followed by a fast downhill and then another climb up a limestone stairway and back onto the field again through some technical turns to pit #2. The course continues with barriers and sand pits.
“We didn’t build these sand dunes but when we first started working on the park, when we cut away the woods and the bushes, we found these sand dunes that were deposited, could be hundreds of years ago by the Ohio river.” Fina said.
After the sand pit, the course comes up the hill back onto the pavement. “We have some off-camber technical parts, if the weather turns bad again, this will be very, very difficult.” And then, finally another technical steep climb, right hand turn and 150 meters straight dash to the finish line.
To cap off the successfully evening, a toast was given with a glassful of good ol’ Kentucky bourbon for everyone.
“I hope that everyone will make it to Louisville to join us next year. I assure you that it’s goal to change cyclocross for ever by bringing these championships to the United States and to Louisville.” concluded Fina. “I want to thank everyone in the crowd for believing in us, we’re going to impress you and we want to have you there in Louisville.”