Countdown to Nationals – A Course Breakdown
This is part of an ongoing series of national championships-related articles to get you ready for KC as a racer or spectator. You can view the rest of the series articles here.
BREAKING UPDATE: From the promoter: Due to the rain and snow that we are getting the KCCX Course will be closed all day Tuesday and most of Wednesday to preserve the course. We want to minimize any pre-race damages to the turf and course equipment such as fence posts, barrier tape etc. We will make a decision on Wednesday whether or not we will allow any pre-riding before Thursday. Thanks in advance.
These next few days are the last chance for racers second guessing their bike setup and tire choices to make last minute changes before Cyclocross Nationals kicks-off on Thursday, Dec. 11.
With that in mind, here is what you can expect from this year’s nationals course:
Climbing and off-camber
The course at Tiffany Springs Park, Kansas City Mo., is on built on the side of a large hill. Racers will find themselves spending the majority of the race climbing or descending. Rider’s technical skills will be tested through a series of high-speed switchbacks and hairpin turns.
The current course map includes single set of double barriers and a set of stairs. Early rumors of a “flyover” section have not been confirmed by race promoters.
Grass now, ice or mud by race day?
Other than a short road section, used for the start and finish, the course is primarily grass. As of Saturday, Dec. 6, the forecast for Thursday through Sunday calls for partly cloudy skies and midday temperatures hovering around 40 degrees.
The chance of precipitation is slim until Sunday, when a 60 percent chance for rain could turn the course into a grueling slog for the singlespeed, collegiate and elite races. Readers should bear in mind this is the Midwest; a seven-day forecast is little better than flipping a coin!
Overall Course Impressions
KCCX Race Director Bill Marshall used the first race in Kansas City’s Boss Cross series as a proving ground for this year’s national’s course. “I find a local promoter to put on a race leading up to nationals to do a dry run. I give them the parameters and they make the course. Then we get feedback from racers and tweak it if needed,” said Marshall.
Course input also came from elite racers Jeremy Powers and Tim Johnson. “They walked the venue after the Tour of Missouri to get an idea of the course. They gave us a lot of good feedback to make it a challenging course for everybody,” said Marshall.
Joe Fox, owner of Cycle City Bike Shop and co-promoter of the Boss Cross Series, noted the course was harder than other local events. “I think it was the hardest local race of the year, which will make it a great nationals course.”
Post-race impressions were mixed. Some riders were concerned that the course would be too tight for the large fields at nationals. Marshall said the course would be widened for the event.
Many racers thought the course did not favor technically competent racers as much as it did power riders. “I think it will be a pretty good balance, if it’s dry it will favor a powerful rider,” said Fox.
My impressions from covering Boss Cross #1
Weather will be a crucial factor in deciding the type of rider that thrives on race day. With rain or snow, climbs and descents will quickly become treacherous playgrounds for the best bike handlers. If dry, the racers with the strongest legs will rule the day.
This is a very spectator-friendly course. The fact that the course is on the side of a hill means friends and family will be able to see almost all of the action from above and below.
Helmet cam course preview on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxMCSbYP2ag
Impressions from Boss Cross #1 on our forums: http://cowbell.cxmagazine.com/group/kansascitycross/forum/topics/tiffany-springs-what-did-you
KCCX Schedule: http://www.kccrossnationals.com/NEW_SITE/Schedule/index.html
KCCX Directions, parking and course map: http://www.kccrossnationals.com/NEW_SITE/Course/index.html
Boss Cross Web site: http://www.bosscross.blogspot.com/
Current KC Weather:
Have you subscribed yet? You're missing out if not. Get all-original content and your cyclocross fix throughout the year with a subscription and Issue 23 back copy, with features on Lars van der Haar, Jonathan Page, Elle Anderson and more!