This weekend, in which we 'fall back' into Standard Time in the United States, also offers up five UCI cyclo-cross races, two in New England and three in the MidWest. The longest-running UCI-sanctioned cyclocross event in the United States, the 22nd Annual Cycle-Smart International, takes place in Northampton, Massachusetts; the Cincy3 CX Festival presented by Cincinnati Cyclocross and United Dairy Farmers held on three different venues over three days in the Cincinnati Metro area.
With three months to go before the 2013 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Louisville, the race to make the USA team is heating up! Don't forget that tickets for Louisville 2013 can be purchased onlne at louisville2013.com.
CSI. Hurricane Sandy's impact on New England makes 2012 the second year in a row in which the Northeast faced major weather in the week leading up to the CSI. However, as with the foot of snow that fell and promptly melted on Look Park in 2011, Hurricane Sandy's effects are likely to have passed and the CSI's usual dry, fast course is expected. The course which winds its way through Northampton's Look Park challenges riders with steep run-up, barriers, railroad track crossings and a pine forest section with numerous bumps and roots.
Even though he crashed – hard – and had to endure delayed travel back from Europe due to Sandy's impact, the favorite into the weekend has to be US champion Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus). Hometown hero, Powers is also the current series leader. Riders to watch also include mountain biking legend Adam Craig (Giant Rabobank), Justin Lindine (Redline) and Jeremy Durrin (JAM Fund/NCC/Vittoria).
On the women's side, the edge has to be with Crystal Anthony (Cyclocrossworld.com) who has been on a winning tear. We can expect four-time USA National Mountain Bike champion and former Olympian Mary McConneloug (Team Kenda-Seven-No Tubes) to be part of the mix at the front.
The Cycle-Smart International (CSI) is the 5th and 6th rounds of the Shimano New England Professional Cyclocross Series where race promoters offer equal payout up to fifteen deep for Elite Men and Women, encouraging the growth of women's cycling and equality in the sport.
"Obviously the sport is completely different today than when we started this race 22 years ago, and we're just proud to have been on the leading edge of the professionalization of the sport in the US. The Cycle-Smart International really is the symbol and embodiment of the growth and success of the sport," says racer, series organizer, and promoter of the CSI Adam Myerson. "It's always been part of the mission of the race to provide prize money parity to women, and that's a reflection of our values and the values of the Northampton community. Paying equal prize money to the women for all 15 places and not just the top 3 is a way to support that field all the way through."
Cincy3 CX. All three Cincy3 CX courses have been redesigned since last year. Day 1, the Cyclo-Stampede is a Friday afternoon and evening UCI C2 affair at Devou Park in Covington, KY with lots of off-camber combinations of sweeping and tight corners.
Saturday, it's the C2 Cross After Dark Lionhearts International at Kings CX p/b Toyota and Siemens on a former golf course in the northern suburb of Mason featuring music, food, and a beer garden. To enhance the party atmosphere, the promoters are bringing in LED light-up barriers, a disco ball on the flyover and other creative illumination.
Harbin Park, the home of cyclocross in Cincinnati for 18 years, closes out the Cincy3 Festival on Sunday p/b Reece-Campbell and United Dairy Farmers. One of only 10 UCI C1 events in the country, Harbin always dishes out a tough finish to the weekend with an up-and-down grinder of a course that has left the world's best riders completely spent at the finish. One of the largest women's prize list payouts ($6,558 / 25 deep) in the world is featured once again to support the growth of women's cycling.
The battle in the elite men's field should be heated especially on Sunday's C1 race where someone other than Powers will stand on the top step this season. Both Ryan Trebon (Cannondale-cyclocrossworld.com) and Ben Berden (Raleigh-Clement) were riding strong at last weekend's races in Boulder and should be strong contenders with the edge going to Trebon a previous Cincy3 winner. Other riders to watch include Trebon's teammate Jamey Driscoll who was fighting it out at the front last weekend and Chris Jones (Rapha-Focus) who has had strong showing at these races in the past.
World Cup leader and US champion Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) is the woman to beat. This weekend will bring the first match up between Compton and Katerina Nash (Luna) who is returning to racing after a break following her mountain bike season. Other riders to watch include Compton's protegee Kaitie Antonneau (Cannondale-cyclocrossworld.com), and Raleigh-Clement teammates Nicole Duke and Caroline Mani.