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US 'cross nationals: new course, survey, film premiere

By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

The 2008 site for the USA Cycling national championships of cyclo-cross is once again in Kansas City from December 11-14, though in a new location – Tiffany Springs Park on the Missouri side of the metro area, closer to the airport. The racing will kick-off with the Mud & Blood Ball on December 11 at the Mission Theatre in Mission, Kansas featuring the premiere of the film "Zero Traction", an inside look at the 2007 championships. The host KCCX is also looking for feedback from past and potential participants before the race.

A successful pre-nationals race preview on the new course was held on November 1 which gave organizers additional feedback to refine the course. "It's about 90 percent there," said Bill Marshall. "We had some pro riders that gave us feedback as we initially laid out the course and then other riders gave us more after the race."

Marshall said that a video preview of the course is posted on the race web site, though it will be slightly different after additional revisions. "Once the riders get to the barriers we are going to change it a bit there."

In a more general feedback request, the organizers are looking for 'cross racers' thoughts on Kansas City as the location for nationals going into the future. "We want to bid on it again," said Marshall. "The whole intent is that we want to prove to USA Cycling that it is advantageous to have the event in the middle of the US. The demographic is mostly the northwest and northeast, so we want to show them that Kansas City is in the middle of that."

Finally, the four days of racing begins with a decidedly un-black tie event, aptly named the Mud & Blood Ball. A documentary filmed at last year's event will be premiered. The log-line of the film says it, "immerses the viewer in the real feel of hard-core cyclo-cross racing in extreme weather conditions, including driving snow, mud, ice and frozen mud."

Information about the event can be found at: Riders can participate in the survey at:

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