By Laura Weislo
The Southeastern United States will have its first long-distance cyclo-cross race in 2009. The Southern 'Cross presented by BH Bikes, will take place on January 24, 2009 in Ellijay, Georgia. Promoted by 55nine Performance's Namrita and Eddie O'Dea, the 50-mile race is loosely modelled on Pennsylvania's Iron 'Cross.
"We have a local race series that has become very successful, and a lot of people come down South to race and train because it's warmer," explained Namrita O'Dea. "We've had a lot of good feedback on the idea, but because of parking issues, we've had to limit the number of entries to 50 riders."
Despite the limit to entrants, O'Dea is encouraging spectators to come out to watch riders tackle the course, which will include a short circuit on the Mulberry Gap property and a 45 mile loop. "The long loop is mainly gravel roads with a lot of climbing with similar terrain to the Cohutta 100," said O'Dea. "Mulberry Gap has 15 acres, and we'll use its natural cyclo-cross terrain – hills for steep run-ups and natural barriers, to make a spectator-friendly circuit to finish off the race."
Southern 'Cross will be the third race the O'Deas will be promoting in 2009, and their future could see more cyclo-cross races. "We have some other ideas, but we don't want to add more than one race a year. We want to do a good job with it so we don't want to add too much. We're constantly gauging where the interest lies. Right now it's moving from the long endurance stuff to shorter, and a lot of people are racing cyclo-cross."
The Southern 'Cross will have categories for men, women, single speed and fixed geared bikes.
For more information and to register, visit www.55nineperformance.com