The $30,000 Verge Mid Atlantic Cyclocross Series heads into the first of two International Double-Header Weekends this week with two UCI categorized races. Saturday, October 22, will see the Wooden Wheels Cyclocross at Granogue, the Queen of the Verge Sportswear sponsored Mid Atlantic Cyclocross Series. On the following day, October 23, the series moves a half-hour north to the Wissahickon Cyclocross, a popular race at a new venue.
Saturday's Wooden Wheels race, named for the sponsoring bike shop, takes place at "Granogue" the luscious estate of A.I. DuPont near Wilmington, Delaware. Every year, course designer Tom McDaniel offers up a great course featuring monster hills, roads, gravel and high-speed off-camber corners. This year he promises another spectacular layout that is once again worthy of the event's UCI C1 status. It's not every day that bike racers get to play in a "back yard" or race through flower and herb gardens. Nor is it normal for any sport, apart from golf, to be played in surroundings as beautiful as this, especially when the leaves are changing colours. It's a great contrast to the suffering of the athletes. According to Elite 35+ racer Tammy Ebersole of Evolution Cycling, "Granogue - it's just brutal. Nowhere to rest..a wicked fast start..and then the uphill, around the tower - off-camber to the scary off camber hill side descent its notorious. Most riders hold their breath and pray." But, while the racers themselves are suffering fatigue-induced tunnel vision, those watching the race will be able to relax, take in the scenery and watch fabulous racing - all while enjoying free samples of Krispy Kreme donuts and Fordham Brewery "beverage".
Sunday's Wissahickon Cross, also named after the sponsoring bike shop, is a UCI C2 race that takes place at a new venue this year. The Ludwig's Corner Horse Show and Country Fair in Glenmoore, Pennsylvania hosts one of the best-organized races in the nation. Race director Kelly Cline couldn't be more pleased with the location, "It's on a hill that lets the course be very compact. The layout looks to be fast, with a lot of long straights and sharp corners, just the way everybody likes it." No doubt, many will also like the Yard's Beer Tent at the top of the run-up, where those attending the race can "sample" Yard's Beer, a cult favourite among East Coast ‘crossers.
Already committed to the event are red-hot Ryan Trebon and his Kona teammate Barry Wicks, as well as a four-rider contingent from Colorado's TIAA-Cref/Clif Bar: Ben Turner, Stuart Gillespie, Troy Wells and Zak Grabowski. They will be joined by the popular FORT/GPOA! Team featuring defending Verge Mid Atlantic Cyclocross Series Champion Ryan Leech and east-coast legend Gunnar Shogren. On the women's side, Betsy Shauer of FORT/GPOA is expecting to defend her title against last week's winner, and Kona standout, Georgia Gould. Also expected is a full squad from Velo Bella, who have stated, "Velo Bella will take no prisoners -- unless he's really cute." Also expected to make their 2005 Verge MAC debuts are 2003 USPRO Road Racing Champion Mark McCormack and his Team Clif Shot Teammate Jesse Anthony, new daddy Ben Jacques-Maynes and Cyclocrossworld.com-Louis Garneau's super couple of cyclocross Tim Johnson and Lyne Bessette.
The UCI Elite races will be preceded each day by a full slate of Verge Mid Atlantic Cyclocross Series amateur classes. All racers should pre-enter these high-profile events through www.BikeReg.com, the official on-line registration service of the Mid Atlantic Cyclocross Series.
Both races are open to the public without admission charge
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