The cancellation of the World Cup in Montreal was heartbreaking for cyclocross fans in North America looking forward the first multi-stage non-European World Cup for Cyclocross. There are two consolations, though. The first is that lovers of the expansion of cyclocross will still be treated to the first-ever World Cup CrossVegas, which is not only continuing its great tradition in the desert, but gearing up to be an international spectacle for fans and participants.
The second consolation for Americans and Canadians alike is that now our weekend of September 19-20 is free for some epic gravel racing.
As we mentioned in our analysis of the Canadian World Cup cancellation, the Appalachian Classic Gravel Race (or La Classique des Appalaches for those who speak Québécois) is taking place on the same weekend as the Montreal World Cup was slotted for, offering a great way to say one last farewell to the gravel season as cyclocross gets too far underway. For those who like the sit back on the saddle and enjoy the scenery, the same folks are also putting on several different Gran Fondo Rides in the same weekend.
The race will present plenty of challenges and rewards, with the Pro and Elite level riders tackling 135 km (84 mi.) with ascents hitting a frightening 2,700 meters (8,860 ft). The race is around 68% asphalt and 32% graded dirt roads, and will finish off at Mount Arthabaska, with several miles of a 6.7% climb that ends with 300 meters at 12%.
As for prizes, the Appalachian Classic Gravel Race is offering a total of $25,000 in prizes. Need something to sweeten the deal? Every category winner also gets their weight in Canadian maple syrup.
The three Gran Fondo courses, the Appalachian Classic, the Panoramic and the Discovery, are all designed around taking the best advantage of the views of the Quebec leaves turning colors weeks before New England’s foliage. The Appalachian Classic Gran Fondo follows the same 135km course as the race, with the latter two offering full pavement options for the skinny-tire-loving crowd, at distances of 110 km and 65km, respectively.
The races will be held in the Victoriaville region, which is well-known throughout Quebec as one of the culinary centers (apparently, it is also the birthplace of one of the most original Canadian inventions: poutine, which doubles as a great hangover remedy). This might be more than enough incentive to bring friends and family to watch you suffering up the climbs. More info: appalachianclassic.com