Best of the U.S.: USGP Derby City cyclocross grand prix at Eva Bandman Park Saturday and Sunday
This is a bit out of nowhere.
An insider forwarded us this last-minute notice about a huge national sporting event this weekend in Louisville.
USGP Derby City Cup, part of the international USGP of Cyclocross, will bring thousands of people including competitors to Eva Bandman park Sat., Nov. 12 and Sun., Nov. 13.
Papa John’s International, the Louisville-based pizza-delivery chain, is the main sponsor here. (No surprise because John Schnatter is a devoted cyclist who sponsors several teams.)
The Louisville event is part of the 2011 Exergy US Gran Prix of Cyclocross’ four weekend, eight race series inluding The Planet Bike Cup in Madison, Wisc., back in September, The New Belgium Cup in Fort Collins, Colo. in October and The Deschutes Brewery Cup Dec. 11 and Dec. 12 in Bend, Ore, according the group’s website.
“Each of these race weekends will see the deepest, strongest, and fastest cyclocross fields in a series format on this side of the Atlantic,” states the website, alluding to the sport’s Big In Europe status.
About 700 to 750 racers from across the United States will compete each day of the Louisville event, said Joan Hanscom, USGP of Cyclocross series director. Those included professionals who’ll represent the United State’s World Team at next year’s UCI Masters World Championship and the 2013 Elite and Masters World Championship, also at Eva Bandman Park, Hanscom said.
Cyclocross headquarters will be The Sports and Social Club on Fourth Street Live. A Friday Night Number Party is scheduled for 6 p.m, to 8 p.m. at SSB, so be on the lookout for extremely fit men and women talking smack about how racing.
Racing is scheduled to begin Saturday and Sunday at 8 a.m., with the professionals competiting at 2:15 p.m., according to the Derby City website.
In 2011 the categories included in overall Series scoring include:
- Masters Men 35+
- Masters Men 45+
- Elite Men
- U23 Men
- Elite Women
- Junior Men 17/18
In addition to the Series categories the USGP includes a full day of racing featuring events for the following:
- Women 3/4
- Women 1/2/3
- Masters Men 55+
- Cat 4 Men
- Cat 2/3 Men
- Juniors (boys and girls) 10-14
- Juniors (boys and girls) 15-16
If you – like us – have never seen cyclocross, here’s a primer from the 2011 Exergy US Gran Prix of Cyclocross website.
WHAT IS CYCLOCROSS?
Cyclocross has been described in many ways, some of the more common phrases are…
“the toughest hour in cycling”,
“the NASCAR of bike racing”
“requires the finesse of a ballet dancer, the speed of a motorcycler and the grit of a hockey player”
Cyclocross is a fall/winter, on-road/off-road cycling discipline held on a looped circuit of approximately 1-2 miles. Cyclocross racers navigate mud, sand, pavement, grass, gravel, pasture, and mulch. When the terrain is too steep to ride or they are confronted by a standard set of wooden barriers, riders dismount, shoulder their bikes and run. Regulations suggest a lap be comprised of 90% riding and 10% running.
Each race is a timed event lasting anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour depending on the racer’s category. The race leader at the completion of the last lap is declared the winner. The sport originated in Europe after the second World War where road cyclists began riding in pastures and muddy fields to maintain their fitness. The first World Championship was held in Paris in 1950.
A cyclocross bike splits the difference between a road bike and a mountain bike, equipped with knobby skinny tires, drop handlebars and a lightweight frame.
Cyclocross enjoys a colossal following in continental Europe and is currently the fastest growing cycling discipline in the United States. The UCI has targeted the US as a key market for the expansion and continued growth of the sport.
In 2013 the organizers of the USGP will produce the UCI Elite Cyclocross World Championships in Louisville, KY. This represents an historic first for the sport – it will be the first time the World Chamionships have been held outside of Europe in the 60+ year history of the event. Additionally, Louisville will host the 2012 and 2013 Masters Worlds Championships – giving US racers both Pro and Master the chance to win the Rainbow Jersey on home soil!
Cyclocross is a great sport for viewing by spectators as the racers complete laps every 6-7 minutes, so there is always plenty of action happening right before your eyes. Clanging cowbells are a staple accessory used in cheering on the competitors at most every cyclocross event.