By Steve Medcroft
If Mother Nature went to psychiatrist, she would be diagnosed as schizophrenic after the display she put on over the Liberty Mutual U.S. National Cyclo-cross Championships. Racers woke Friday morning to a blanket of snow and active flurries. By the third race of the morning (the 11am Masters 40-44 event) a freezing rain had taken over for the snow and the sky looked poised to clear.
But, after a lunch break, the afternoon session was brought to a halt by driving, blinding snow so fierce that it quickly overran the racers, fans and support staff leaving promoters no choice but to postpone the last two races of the day (30-34 Men and Men's Collegiate Nationals) and send everyone home.
All is not lost though; two hours after the shut-down, the skies over Providence had completely cleared, giving hope that predictions that Saturday's Elite men's race and Sunday's Elite Women's race would be held under nothing more threatening than a few clouds will come true after all.
The back and forth weather means the Roger Williams Park course, which was cut to peanut-butter during the warmer hours then covered in three inches of snow late in the afternoon, should provide a frozen, rutted, uncontrollable platform for tomorrows Junior Women's race (Saturday's first event; an 8:30am start). And although the course should soften by the marquee Elite Men's race at 3pm, conditions will surely play a role in the outcome of the race.
With the postponement of two races on Friday, only seven of the weekend's twenty-seven National Championships have been awarded. To complensate, promoters have shuffled Saturday's races as follows: Racing starts at 9 a.m. with the collegiate men; master men 30-34 will race at 11:30 with the remaining categories in the order that appears on the website.
Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for results, race reports and photographs throughout the weekend. Our coverage continues Saturday the following live reports:
Saturday, December 10
Elite U23, 12 noon, 50 minutes
Elite Juniors, 2pm, 40 minutes
Elite men, 3pm, 60 minutes
Sunday, December 11
Elite Women, 3pm, 40 minutes