Last week, Cyclocross Magazine provided an exclusive first look at the course for the 2018 U.S. Cyclocross Nationals at Rancho San Rafael Park in Reno. As we did with our Reno 411 segment on the event, we again reached out to race director Coby Rowe for more about the Nationals course.
This Q and A provides more information about the course and its design. And if you missed it, scroll down for a look at the preview video.
Q and A with Coby Rowe About 2018 U.S. Cyclocross Nationals Course
Cyclocross Magazine: What are the unique features of Rancho San Rafael Park?
Coby Rowe: Rancho San Rafael Park is one mile from downtown Reno as well as our host hotel. This park is a late 1800s ranch that features pasture, grass, natural drainages, sand, and it sits at 4,500 feet above sea level. The majority of the course can be viewed from the pit. There are amazing features like the Carson City Sand Pit and our Belgium stairs as well as our off-camber hill. We’re also lucky that parking is neither half mile away or up and over a highway.
CXM: What are your goals for creating this Nationals course?
CR: We strive to make nationals an age and skill appropriate, challenging course that doesn’t penalize staging order or reward riders who consistently navigate one feature well. We look for balance and are confident this course will produce worthy national champions.
CXM: How would you describe cyclocross in that region? It’s going to be much different than the snow of Hartford or mud of Asheville, right?
CR: Cyclocross here has a strong tradition that has become a unique regional experience with great people behind the events creating exciting race opportunities. Each West Coast race director has their own style which creates unique events. We’re thrilled to serve and celebrate this community.
Nationals in Reno will be a gamble; we can have snow, mud, wind and rain so it all depends on what we get. The park doesn’t look steep, but it isn’t level and if we get some weather it’ll be a really hard course.
CXM: It seems to be an annual tradition where people watch a preview video and then comment on it being boring. What parts of the course are going to challenge riders?
CR: Course videos are hard to judge because the depth perception isn’t there. The course has steady elevation changes as well as quick elevation changes, which will test skills as well as the endurance of riders.
CXM: What are the prospects for running?
CR: The prospects for running are good. These shouldn’t be long runs, but we also didn’t expect a slip n’ slide in Hartford. People will be off their bikes at various points on course no matter the weather with barriers, stairs and the Carson City Sand Pit.
CXM: Any spots you think will make for prime spectating?
CR: The Carson City Sand Pit with our NorCal Cyclocross DJ will be a highlight. The northeast climb and off-camber section are likely to be solid as well. If we get weather this will be the spot.
CXM: Do you know how many feet of climbing there are per lap?
CR: The GoPro videos always make the courses look really flat, even when they’re not. The course before finalizing on the ground has roughly 150 feet of climbing per lap. Never fear though, we have the best cyclocross course designer, Keegan Schelling, with us and it’ll be a challenging course.
2018 U.S. Cyclocross Nationals Course Preview Video
Stay tuned for much more coverage of the 2018 U.S. Cyclocross Nationals in Reno.