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Cyclocross news & racing round-up for October 23, 2005

Edited by Steve Medcroft

Welcome to our regular round-up of what's happening in cyclocross. Feel free to send feedback, news and gossip to mtb@cyclingnews.com

Huge signups means split 'B' field at U.S. 'Cross Nats

USA Cycling

More than seven weeks before the event promoters of the Liberty Mutual U.S. National Cyclo-cross Championships report registration at a record pace. "We have a happy problem," said Tom Stevens, race director. "We are approaching 1,000 pre-registered riders and we're still more than a month out."

The highest registration, ironically, is for a non-championship event known as the 'B' race. "Apparently everybody wants to ride the roller coaster we're building," said Richard Fries, communications director. "The total number of racers in all categories will easily exceed the 1,200 mark we expected."

The promoters have altered Sunday's schedule to allow them to split the B field into an older and younger category, with the break point at age 35. The split proved nearly even. "We've created a 35-plus group and an under-34 group," noted Stevens. "We're calling it B-plus and B-minus," said Lyle Fulkerson, operations director. "This is a testament to a number of things. The East Coast cyclo-cross scene has grown considerably since the nationals were last held in this time zone in 2001. This is also a testament to the sport's continued growth elsewhere. We're standing atop the shoulders of promoters in Portland, Seattle, Northern California, The Rockies and other growing cyclo-cross hotspots."

The 2005 Liberty Mutual U.S. National Cyclo-cross Championships is a production of the New England Cyclo-cross Association. For more information visit www.cyclocrossnationals.com

Granogue and Wissahickon next stop in Verge series

The $30,000 Verge Mid Atlantic Cyclocross Series heads into the first of two International Double-Header Weekends this week with two UCI categorized races. Saturday, October 22, will see the Wooden Wheels Cyclocross at Granogue, the Queen of the Verge Sportswear sponsored Mid Atlantic Cyclocross Series. On the following day, October 23, the series moves a half-hour north to the Wissahickon Cyclocross, a popular race at a new venue.

Saturday's Wooden Wheels race, named for the sponsoring bike shop, takes place at "Granogue" the luscious estate of A.I. DuPont near Wilmington, Delaware. Every year, course designer Tom McDaniel offers up a great course featuring monster hills, roads, gravel and high-speed off-camber corners. This year he promises another spectacular layout that is once again worthy of the event's UCI C1 status. It's not every day that bike racers get to play in a "back yard" or race through flower and herb gardens. Nor is it normal for any sport, apart from golf, to be played in surroundings as beautiful as this, especially when the leaves are changing colours. It's a great contrast to the suffering of the athletes. According to Elite 35+ racer Tammy Ebersole of Evolution Cycling, "Granogue - it's just brutal. Nowhere to rest..a wicked fast start..and then the uphill, around the tower - off-camber to the scary off camber hill side descent its notorious. Most riders hold their breath and pray." But, while the racers themselves are suffering fatigue-induced tunnel vision, those watching the race will be able to relax, take in the scenery and watch fabulous racing - all while enjoying free samples of Krispy Kreme donuts and Fordham Brewery "beverage".

Sunday's Wissahickon Cross, also named after the sponsoring bike shop, is a UCI C2 race that takes place at a new venue this year. The Ludwig's Corner Horse Show and Country Fair in Glenmoore, Pennsylvania hosts one of the best-organized races in the nation. Race director Kelly Cline couldn't be more pleased with the location, "It's on a hill that lets the course be very compact. The layout looks to be fast, with a lot of long straights and sharp corners, just the way everybody likes it." No doubt, many will also like the Yard's Beer Tent at the top of the run-up, where those attending the race can "sample" Yard's Beer, a cult favourite among East Coast ‘crossers.

Already committed to the event are red-hot Ryan Trebon and his Kona teammate Barry Wicks, as well as a four-rider contingent from Colorado's TIAA-Cref/Clif Bar: Ben Turner, Stuart Gillespie, Troy Wells and Zak Grabowski. They will be joined by the popular FORT/GPOA! Team featuring defending Verge Mid Atlantic Cyclocross Series Champion Ryan Leech and east-coast legend Gunnar Shogren. On the women's side, Betsy Shauer of FORT/GPOA is expecting to defend her title against last week's winner, and Kona standout, Georgia Gould. Also expected is a full squad from Velo Bella, who have stated, "Velo Bella will take no prisoners -- unless he's really cute." Also expected to make their 2005 Verge MAC debuts are 2003 USPRO Road Racing Champion Mark McCormack and his Team Clif Shot Teammate Jesse Anthony, new daddy Ben Jacques-Maynes and Cyclocrossworld.com-Louis Garneau's super couple of cyclocross Tim Johnson and Lyne Bessette.

The UCI Elite races will be preceded each day by a full slate of Verge Mid Atlantic Cyclocross Series amateur classes. All racers should pre-enter these high-profile events through www.BikeReg.com, the official on-line registration service of the Mid Atlantic Cyclocross Series.

Both races are open to the public without admission charge

Thread City Cyclo-cross

The fourth annual Thread City Cyclo-cross will take place Saturday October 22 at Mansfield Hollow State Park in Mansfield, CT. Although the Mansfield Hollow venue has hosted cyclo-cross races dating back to the early 1980's, the historic course will have a new look this year thanks in part to local flooding that has placed the old course 40 feet underwater.

The new course will feature many of the same torturous run-ups, some technical off-camber sections as well as plenty of interesting turns. The new course promises to be faster and even more spectator friendly than the old course.

The competition looks to be fierce for the 2005 version of the Thread City Cyclo-cross Race as several current and past national champions have confirmed their participation in selected categories. For more information or to register for the Thread City Cyclo-cross Race, please go to www.BikeReg.com.

Nebraska Cyclo-Cross Series begins Saturday in Omaha

The Nebraska Cyclo-cross Series begins its sixth year this weekend with two days of racing on Saturday and Sunday, October 22-23 at Standing Bear Lake in west Omaha. Over six races, with later rounds in Lincoln and Raymond, the 2005 series will award $700 in cash prizes at each event and offer a separate women's event and the addition of a singlespeed race category.

Racing begins at 12:00pm on Saturday with the women's race at 12:45pm and the men's "A" event at 3:00pm. Sunday's races kick-off at 10:00a.m.with the women's race at 10:45a.m. and the men's "A" event at 12:30p.m. The complete race schedule and other race information is available at www.nebraskacycling.org

Registration for the Nebraska Cyclo-cross Series is available on-site at Standing Bear Lake for both Saturday and Sunday as well as online at www.velosource.com.

Bubba Memorial Series kicks off

Big Shark Bicycle Company of St. Louis, Missouri, has announced the return of the Bubba Memorial Cyclocross Series. This year's eight-race series starts Saturday, October 15 with the Ronde von Evergreen in Carbondale, Illinois, and continues the next day at Tilles Park in St. Louis, Missouri. Bubbas will thereafter be held on Sundays until the end of November.

The Bubba Memorial is unique in the world of Cyclo-cross because each race is held in memory of a dog that isn't dead yet. All racers will get the opportunity to meet Bubba, the aforementioned not-yet-dead dog, at the start of the A, B, C, and women's races, and they will also compete for over $5000 in cash and Bianchi prizes.

The remaining Bubba Memorial schedule:

Bubba #3: October 23 - Faust Park, West St. Louis County
Bubba #4: October 30 - Queeny Park, St. Louis County
Bubba #5: November 6 - Creve Coeur Park, St. Louis County
Bubba #6: November 13 - Faust Park, West St. Louis County
Bubba #7: November 20 - Queeny Park, St. Louis County
Bubba #8: November 27 - Creve Coeur Park, St. Louis County

Rock Lobster Cycles / Jeff Traugott Guitars 'cross team announced

The Rock Lobster Cycles / Jeff Traugott Guitars team will be participating in regional and countrywide U.S. U.C.I. 'cross events and includes the following rides:

Elite Men: Brent Chapman, Ben Dodge, Rob Evans, Aaron Kereluk, Aaron Odell, Joshua Snead, Simon Vickers
Elite Women: Shelly Olds
Master's Women: Julie Brothers
Masters 45+ men: Evan Adams, Larry Bullard, Alan T. Ott, Paul Sadoff.
Men's B: Sean Coffey
Mechanics: Paul Sadoff, Simon Vickers
Team Captain: Brent Chapman

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