Raleigh Midsummer Night MFG cyclocross race course preview video

A snapshot from the Raleigh Midsummer Night MFG cyclocross race course preview video.

Raleigh, in conjunction with its dealer symposium, is hosting a unique summer cyclocross race today in Central Washington at Suncadia Resort. The race, as Cyclocross Magazine first reported, offers up two pro contracts including two new Raleigh RXC Carbon complete bikes and travel money for the men’s and women’s Elite winners.

Over three hundred racers from across the country are scheduled to contest the rare midsummer day’s races, and some big names including U23 cyclocross star Zach McDonald and the singlespeed powerhouse Fountain brothers will toe the line Thursday evening to race in front of a few hundred Raleigh dealers, industry professionals and other bike racers.

On Wednesday, Cyclocross Magazine was able to preview the likely race course while testing the new 2012 carbon Raleigh RXC Pro cyclocross bike (stay tuned for a full profile). The course is challenging in that it requires a smooth rider with a lot of power. It mostly cuts through an open farmer’s field that’s been recently mowed, but this isn’t your lawn’s soft grass — think straw and wild grass with some dirt ruts thrown in for good measure. While the course is mostly flat, its biggest feature is a loose, sweeping descent followed almost immediately by a steep run-up in the woods through the trees.

For the old-timer, it feels a bit like the return of jungle ’cross and will likely bring a smile to his face.  For the newer racer, it’s a bumpy, rugged ride that will present challenges. Haven’t left for the venue yet but racing later in the day? Leave the narrow clinchers behind and consider opting for fatter clinchers or tubulars, or even the mountain bike. Either way, Raleigh’s Brian Fornes and the MFG Cross crew have a number of plans to make the day of racing for dealers and hard-core cyclocross racers quite interesting, with a mix of shenanigans and some serious prizes at stake.

Stay tuned as we bring full coverage of the event and a look into Raleigh’s new line up of cyclocross bikes.