Wednesday, October 24, 2007

KC Airport Ready To Accommodate Competitors

Kansas City, Kan. – Competitors for the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships can expect a smooth trip in and out of Kansas City International Airport (MCI).

Spokesman Joe McBride said the airport’s unique design makes it bike-friendly.

“Once you get off your flight, you can get right to ground transportation within 100 feet,” McBride said. “That means you won’t have to shuttle your bags or your bike a long distance from baggage claim.”

MCI is about a 20-minute drive from the Wyandotte County Park course that will serve as host to the championships, Dec. 13-16, 2007.

More than a dozen carriers serve MCI, including Air Canada, AirTran, American, Continental, Delta, ExpressJet, Frontier, Midwest, Northwest, Skybus, Southwest, US Airways and United. More information is available at and

Ticket prices for flights from major hubs to MCI are very reasonable at the present time. Here is a look at roundtrip flights (weekday arrival and Monday departure) for the week of the championships:

- Dallas-Fort Worth International ($139)
- Denver International ($139)
- Logan (Boston) International ($144)
- Los Angeles International ($142)
- Minneapolis-St. Paul International ($237)
- O’Hare International ($119)
- Philadelphia International Airport ($225)
- San Francisco International ($152)

Airline policies vary, but there is usually an additional charge for checking oversized items such as bicycles. Competitors should check their airline's policies and have the bicycle packaged according to specifications. At the departure airport, your bicycle is checked at the ticket counter and later picked up at bbaggage claim. In the case of your MCI arrival, your bicycle will be brought up an elevator to the baggage carrousel.

USA Cycling members also receive discounted rates on travel at for the following:
- Hampton Inn and Hilton family properties (10 percent).
- Hertz Car Rentals (up to 15 percent).
- United Airlines (up to 10 percent off regular flights, and an additional 5 percent off tickets that are issued 30 days or more prior to the flight).

Once in Kansas City, there is much more to do than just race. More than two dozen hotels in the Wyandotte County area offer inexpensive lodging within walking distance of The Legends at Village West, an extensive shopping, dining and entertainment zone. The Legends features 36 restaurants and specialty food shops, along with the 14-screen Legends Theatre, a 12-lane “Pin-up Bowl” bowling alley and nightclub, a Dave & Buster’s and the Sanford and Sons Comedy Club.

Athlete registration for the championships is open through Saturday, Dec. 8 (midnight CST). Official race apparel is on sale through the event’s official website,

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Course Will Be Tough on Competitors

Kansas City, Kan. – The course for the 2007 U.S. Cyclocross National Championships promises to be challenging for competitors but perfect for spectators.

The nearly two-mile-long course through Wyandotte County Park in Kansas City, Kan., was unveiled today on the race’s official website, Online registration for the Dec. 13-16 National Championships continues through Dec. 8.

Race Director Bill Marshall of KLM Marketing Solutions had a solid blueprint for the national championship course design, having staged several UCI races in the 360-acre park, which features rolling terrain in the scenic setting of hillside oak and lakeside sycamore trees.

“We wanted to make the course very hard,” Marshall said. “Cyclocross is tough, no matter what. Our intention was to make this course both technical and fast.”

The signature element is a pair of back-to-back stair sections, each 40-feet in length, that come about a quarter-mile from the finish line.

“You’ll run up the first set of stairs, get back on your bike for a brief time, then dismount and run up the second set,” Marshall said. “This is going to be crucial as we found out in Providence last year at nationals. They had two run-ups close to the finish and it makes it very interesting if it is a tight race.”

Another crucial element of the course design was to make it as spectator-friendly as possible, Marshall said. Nearly the entire course is viewable from several vantage points. A barrier section, positioned between a pair of heated spectator tents, will also be a prime viewing spot.

Special attention was given to the start area to ensure that competitors who do not have the most prime starting positions have the opportunity to move up quickly before the course narrows.

“That first grass section is extremely wide open and slightly uphill as it leads into the first sweeping right-hand turn,” Marshall said. “We tried to make it as close as possible to the start you would see on a UCI course. Eventually, though, there are a few turns to slow it up and create opportunities to get away.”

Where the course doubles back on itself in several places could also prove particularly tricky, he said.

“This course has some decent hills – not the steep ones like you saw in Providence for nationals last year – but ones that are going to be tough in all conditions,” Marshall said. “They’re long uphills so if it’s icy, they’ll be particularly treacherous. If it’s dry, the course will be rippin’ fast.”

Racers will also have to negotiate a section of the course that passes close to a pond – one that was covered in ice when four-time national cyclocross champion Steve Tilford crashed into it during a race last year. Incredibly, Tilford recovered from the frigid plunge to come back and win.

“We’re officially labeling that pond as the ‘No Tilly Zone’ this year to recognize that feat,” Marshall said.

Racers will have the unique opportunity to preview the national championship course on Sunday, Oct. 28 at the Boulevard Cup. For more information regarding this race, go to

There is no admission fee for the U.S. Cyclocross National Championships. Parking is also free, but only in designated areas. There is no fee for pit access. Official race apparel is on sale through the event’s official website,