The only two UCI cyclo-cross races, both C2s, this weekend in the United States are taking place in the Southeast, at the eighth annual UCI North Carolina Cyclo-Cross Grand Prix presented by Hunter Subaru in Hendersonville, NC. The season is coming to a close in America, and this weekend offers one of the last few races to garner those all important UCI points.
This weekend also showcases the growth of cyclocross in what might be considered non-traditional areas such as the Southeast. To promote that growth, the 2016 USA Cycling National Cyclo-cross Championships will be set amongst the 8,000 acres of America’s largest home, the Biltmore Estate in Ashville, nestled in the mountains of western North Carolina. And Adam Myerson (Team SmartStop p/b Mountain Khakis) will be given a free course preview and evaluation session following the race. Given all that, the organizers are expecting the biggest crowd in the history of the event.
Hot off of victories at last weekend's Supercross Cup, Dan Timmerman (Richard Sachs - RGM Watches) and Kerry Werner Jr. (BMC U23 Development Team) are the two favorites going into the race. Brian Matter (RACC - Gear Grinder) who finished second both days last year needs to be added to the list of riders to watch.
The elite women's race is wide-open with the New England heavy hitters not making the trip down, leaving the opportunity for a rider to take her first UCI win. Riders to watch include Rebecca Blatt (Van Dessel Sports), Amanda Carey (Volkswagen Boise), Ellen Noble (Trek Cyclocross Collective) and the Shields sisters Emily and Katherine (both MOB Pro CX Team).
On the grounds of Jackson Park, the course, at roughly 3.3 km in length, consists of a paved start and finish, grass, hard packed trail and gravel trail. Following the start, the course winds on grass and pavement around the baseball field and the pond before coming to the barriers. A transition from grass to pavement leads to the run-up. The course follows a long stretch of pavement and then heads across the fields to the pits for a second time. The course then heads into the woods and a gradual climb that brings riders out back towards the tennis courts on grass. The course twists and then heads across the tennis court parking lot and up the “wall” turn right and head back to the pavement start area.