Saturday, November 24, 2007

Rowdy, Festive Atmosphere Will Punctuate
Exciting Competition At Cyclocross Nationals

Kansas City, Kan. – The USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships are coming to Kansas City Dec. 13-16 and organizers are giving Kansans and Missourians the Cliffs Notes version of what the sport of cyclocross is all about.

In two words: “Fan Friendly.”

What other national championship event offers free admission, free parking and the opportunity to get up-close-and-personal with the athletes before, during and after their competition?

Cyclocross blends the speed of road cycling and the ruggedness of mountain biking with a touch of steeplechase. The nearly two-mile-long course at Wyandotte County Park (near the Kansas Speedway) will take racers on laps over pavement, dirt and grass with sections that require them to dismount and carry their bikes up two flights of stairs, through a sand pit and over wooden barriers.

This niche-but-gnarly sport has a huge following in Europe, where it originated in the early 1900s by cyclists who wanted to maintain their fitness in the winter by pedaling through muddy fields and pastures when snow made mountain passes unrideable. In the United States, cyclocross is now the fastest-growing segment of cycling and the No. 1 cyclocross woman in the world is American Katie Compton.

“Spectators are as much a part of the action as the racers,” Race Director Bill Marshall of KLM Marketing Solutions said. “We not only welcome people to bring horns and noisemakers, but we’ll also have sponsors giving out cowbells.”

On the Wyandotte County course, two large heated tents will offer prime viewing spots while protecting spectators from the elements (cold, wind and snow) that typically make cyclocross even more grueling. Anheuser-Busch will offer refreshments in a beer garden that sits adjacent to other vendor displays.

Thirty-nine national champions will be crowned over four days of competition. Non-national championship and beginner-level races are scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 13. Registration for the event remains open until Dec. 8. For more information, visit the event’s website,

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