With its six stops around the country, organizers of the 2005 Crank Brothers U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross claim to have created a series encompassing the variety available in American cyclocross courses, utilizing the natural resources and traditions of each region's 'cross scene.
Starting with the October 8-9 weekend in Portland, OR and Tacoma, WA, respectively, U.S. Gran Prix racers will likely get a face full of what makes Northwest 'cross: mud and plenty of it. A hub of the pacific Northwest's biggest 'cross races, the Alpenrose Dairy in the heart of downtown Portland will host the Cannondale Stumptown Cyclocross Classic for the second consecutive year. While the course is mostly flat, a leg breaking 20-meter run-up combined with the dependably mucky conditions will give racers all the elevation change they can handle. The following day, Fort Steilacoom Park in Tacoma will boast an even burlier run-up - the Kona Knapp Time Run-Up - but may leave out the mud. The 80-meter run-up never fails to separate the truly fit from the hangers on, especially a day after the plodding around in the mud in Portland.
With back-to-back days at the seaside Stage Fort Park, the Michelob ULTRA Gran Prix of Gloucester races, October 29-30, offer wide open and fast East Coast racing. High speeds and big gears rule the racing in the sandy paths and grassy fields of Stage Fort Park, with victory often going to the strong riders willing to take chances through the course's multitude of twists and turns. The deceptively grinding uphill paved section to the finish never fails to provide a thrilling sprint.
Harkening back to the NorCal tradition of "Jungle 'Cross" the Surf City Cyclocross in Watsonville, November 19, will initiate a new generation to the wonders of cyclocross Cali style. Run at the Watsonville Fairgrounds, a site which has hosted 'cross races for nearly 30 years, the off beat Surf City U.S. Gran Prix stop will likely be the hilliest of the series, with undulating terrain change the defining feature. The final race of the series, the Clark Natwick Gran Prix, November 20, brings the U.S. Gran Prix to the world famous grounds of San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. The urban park flavor of the historic site will add yet another twist to the series. Following in the steps of the hugely popular 1999 U.S. National Championships in San Francisco's Presidio Park, the Natwick GP will use Golden Gate Park's meandering trails and paths around which thousands of rabid Bay Area 'cross fans will crowd.
All six races will be held under UCI category and competition regulations. U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross Series leaders will be recognized at the conclusion of each event with leaders' jerseys. Overall winners in the Elite Men, Elite Women, U-23, and Junior Men categories will receive automatic selection to the World Cyclocross Championships in Zeddam, The Netherlands, January 28-29, 2006. Master 35+ Men will also be ranked.
Schedule for 2005:
Race 1: October 8 - Cannondale Stumptown Cyclocross Classic, Alpenrose Dairy, Portland, OR Race 2: October 9 - Rad Racing Gran Prix of Cyclocross, Ft. Steilacoom Park, Tacoma, WA Race 3: October 29- Michelob ULTRA Grand Prix of Gloucester #1, Stage Fort Park, Gloucester, MA Race 4: October 30 -Michelob ULTRA Grand Prix of Gloucester #2, Stage Fort Park, Gloucester, MA Race 5: November 19 - Surf City Cyclocross (30th Anniversary), Watsonville Fairgrounds, Watsonville, CA Race 6: November 20 - Clark Natwick Grand Prix, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA