Philadelphia, PA — Nittany Cross, the first two of 14 races in Mid-Atlantic Cyclocross Series, serves as the closest thing to opening day regional ’crossers have to mark the start of a season that for many goes into the new year. On September 10 and 11, local and international competitors from beginner to elite (professional) categories will descend upon the Valley Preferred Cycling Center’s Trexlertown grounds to participate in the frenzied, furiously fun sport of cyclocross.
No need to visit Belgium, the Motherland of Cyclocross, with this kind of competition in your backyard. The MAC Series opens the weekend of September 10 on the grounds of the Valley Preferred Cycling Center, the velodrome that has welcomed many international athletes since its 1975 opening and is home to Olympic, National, and World Champion Marty Nothstein.
A talented array of regional racers and international competitors from as far away as England and Switzerland will compete at Nittany, including the UK’s National Champ Helen Wyman (Kona Factory Racing), Gabby Day (Team Scott Contessa) and Ian Field (Hargroves Cycles). Swiss U23 Elite riders Lukas Müller, Lukas Winterberg and Erik Brügner (Philadelphia Cyclocross School) join the Brits in starting their 2011/12 season in the US at Nittany before heading south to Baltimore’s Charm City race the following weekend for rounds 3 and 4 of the series.
The race, whose name derives from its original location on the Penn State Lehigh Valley Campus, relocated a few years ago to the Valley Preferred Cycling Center to enthusiastic approval from racers and fans who rare this race a “must do.”
American Cyclocross elder statesman and 2010 Elite Men’s second place finisher, Adam Myerson (Cycle Smart), makes the yearly pilgrimage from New England to Nittany. “It’s a very fast race with a lot of technical turns, but a course that encourages group racing. So it favors me in that regard, and is one of the few courses where I feel capable of racing for the win. Once September comes I’m 100% focused on getting to the best ’cross races I can, so making the trip to the season opener at Nittany only makes sense.”
Local elite racer and reigning MAC Elite Master Champion Michael Yozell of Emmaus (Kapelmuur Independent) designed the challenging course that requires constant pedaling with little room for rest or recovery. Chicanes, off-camber berms, and a root-infested back stretch test the most skilled rides and make novice racers heads’ spin like that possessed chick in The Exorcist.
In addition to amateur and pro racing, Nittany offers a “Little Belgians” race for the under 10 set. No special equipment required—just a helmet and their own bike- allows the future starts to try cyclocross.
VPCC Director Marty Nothstein reports that the VPCC beer concessions at the Breakaway Café will be open for the Nittany race 11-5pm, both days. $3 Victory drafts all day!
Interested in racing? To register for the Nittany race, including the Little Belgians, visit Bikereg.com.