This weekend, Look Park in Northampton, Massachusetts, will host the 20th annual Cycle-Smart International, rounds 5 and 6 of the Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series Presented by Cycle-Smart. This year’s edition of the oldest UCI race in North America will once again host a pre-race party on Friday night and will feature kids races both days as part of the festivities as well as an expo hosting, among others, Pedro’s and Mavic.
In keeping with years past, the race organizers are taking full advantage of the terrain at Look Park with its fast grass with Velcro-like turns, the tight woods section on the upper level, fast descents with tricky lines and challenging run-ups. Once again, well over 1,000 racers have registered to race this weekend, proving yet again that Northampton is one of the best events on the New England cyclocross calendar.
A reminder to racers on the fence, the Cycle-Smart International is pre-registration only with registration closing on Thursday at 8pm Eastern. For Cat 3 or U-19 racers who had been shut out, the field sizes have been expanded to accommodate the increased demand.
A new tradition, started last year, is the Pick Up Party on Friday night. This year, Northampton Coffee, at 269 Pleasant Street in Northampton, will host the party from 7-9pm. Racers will have a chance to pick up their numbers for the weekend as well as have a drink and some food with fellow racers in a relaxed environment. The Pick Up party is a great opportunity to spend some time with the people you see every weekend with in the fall, but never get a chance to talk to.
Hoping to draw even more people from the community, this year’s edition of the Cycle-Smart International will feature kids races on both days. There will also be an on-site coffee kiosk thanks to the Holeshot Café and brick-oven pizza from the La Strada pizza trailer.
The racing will feature the tight series races in the Elite Men and Women’s contests. Justin Lindine (bikereg.com/Joe’s Garage/Scott) took over the series lead in New Gloucester two weeks ago and will hope to defend it against Dylan McNicholas (Pedro’s) and Series and race president Adam Myerson (Cycle-Smart). Once again, El Gato CX racer Luca Damiani will be looking to provide the fans with the Luzshow, aiming for his first race victory this year.
On the Elite Women’s side, the battle between the Ladies First Racing and Crossresults.com p/b JRA Cycles will continue for series dominance. Sally Annis (crossresults.com p/b JRA Cycles) has won three of the four rounds of the series so far, but trails Andrea Smith (Ladies First Racing) by a slim 10 points. Looking to upset the deadlock at the top, Laura van Gilder (C3 Athletes Serving Athletes) is making her second appearance in New England and hitting her first NECCS race of the season. The course suits san Gilder and it should make for a very exciting pair of races. Racing starts on Saturday at 8:30am with the Elite races beginning at 2pm each day.