Top American cyclo-cross racers have less than one week to go until their national championships at Wyandotte County Park in Kansas.
The last time nationals were held in the Kansas City area was in December of 2000, in Stoll Park in Overland Park, and conditions were very wintry. Sub-freezing temperatures, a cold wind and several inches of snow atop ice made for "treacherous" racing.
"Those were epic conditions," said Shadd Smith of Overland Park to the Kansas City Star. "When riders get together and talk about nationals, that's the one they always talk about. It was brutal. But that's cyclo-cross racing. You never know what you're going to get in the way of weather."
Next weekend, racers will tackle a 1.91-mile (3.07 km) course on pavement, dirt, and grass, with or without snow and ice on top. Two sections of stairs will complete the challenge in Wyandotte County Park.
Bill Marshall of KLM Marketing Solutions, which is organizing nationals, called the course spectator friendly; two large heated tents will make prime viewing areas a bit more comfortable.
The racers will be left to battle whatever conditions Mother Nature provides. "About the only thing that would postpone a race would a natural disaster like a tornado," Marshall said. "We're ready for whatever might come along." The local county government will have snow removal equipment on hand, too.
Last year's nationals were won by Katie Compton and Ryan Trebon.