While much of the Northeastern United States is trying to dig out from the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, the Massachusetts town of Northampton escaped the storm relatively unscathed, allowing the longest-running UCI cyclo-cross race in the country, the Cycle-Smart International, to go on as scheduled this coming weekend.
Look Park sustained minor damage which is expected to be cleared before the racing commences at 8:30AM on Saturday, November 3, with the amateur fields. The UCI-ranked women's and men's races take place at 2PM and 3PM, respectively.
The Cycle-Smart races are also rounds five and six of the Shimano New England Professional Cyclocross Series, offering gender-equal payout up to fifteen deep for Elite Men and Women.
"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," said promoter 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."
Organisers expect the races to attract up to 1400 racers over two days, making the Cycle-Smart International one the biggest 'cross races in New England.
Series leader Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus), who racked up the best placing of an American man in a World Cup in Tabor, Czech Republic, has made his way through the Sandy-induced travel nightmares to return to defend his position.
Elite women's series points leader and British National Cyclo-cross champion Helen Wyman (Kona) will not return for the rest of the series. Expect to see four-time USA National Mountain Bike champion and former Olympian Mary McConneloug (Team Kenda-Seven-No Tubes) and Crystal Anthony (Cyclocrossworld.com) fight to take over her place at the top of the standings.
Registration closes on Thursday at 8PM, and there will be no on-site registration.
For more information visit the Cycle-Smart website.