2010 cyclocross season kicks off Sept. 8

Article Published: Sep. 2, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011

Pirate Race Productions announces that cyclocross mania is hitting the High Country with a vengeance.

"Cyclocross is the fastest growing and most impressive spectacle in the cycling world," an event spokesperson said.

Racers complete multiple laps of a short course consisting of a mix of pavement, grass, sand, dirt and mud. Each lap, racers have to jump off their bikes and carry them over small hurdles, up stairs or through mud pits, cheered on by screaming crowds.

While spectacular crashes are common, injuries are rare, and a family-friendly atmosphere and races as short as 20 minutes make cyclocross ideal for beginners, kids and the young at heart to try their hand at racing bikes for the first time.

The High Country Cyclocross Series returns for its second year on Wednesday, Sept. 8, for four weeks of after-work racing at the historic North Wilkesboro Speedway (NWS), followed by four weeks under the lights at the Boone Fairgrounds.

"The NWS course will combine sections of the track with the grassy infield and the slopes outside the stadium to make for what could be one of the greatest race venues in the world," the spokesperson said. "Not only does NWS offer covered parking, bathrooms with showers, food vendors, and its legendary racing surface, but fans can see almost the entire race from one spot."

The Boone Fairgrounds provides cyclists the opportunity to race under the lights when the days get short, is practically guaranteed to offer mud, and features the series' legendary run up, where riders have to carry their bikes up a short slope illuminated by tiki torches.

On Saturday, Sept. 25, Three Peaks USA: America's Hardest Cyclocross Race will take place at Beech Mountain. An homage to the UK's legendary 3 Peaks Cyclocross Race and Pennsylvania's notorious Iron Cross, this will be a challenge of rider and machine on the unpaved roads that scale Beech and its north and south ridges.

Surface conditions range from quality paved roads, to scraped gravel sections that would be comfortable on a road bike, to weathered jeep roads that will force many to walk. Unlike its namesake, the event also offers a Mountain Bike Division in the 75K and 35K races, as well as two person Relay Divisions. \

Three Peaks USA is a fundraiser for the Mountain Alliance, a community of individuals committed to providing Watauga County high school aged youth with opportunities to explore and develop their leadership potential through experiential learning. Students in the program will be working as course marshals and manning the aid station and start/finish, working hard to keep participants safe, on track and having fun. Online registration for the race is now open.

Finally, on Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011, the Speedway will host a full day of cyclocross racing action in the penultimate weekend of the North Carolina Cyclocross Series. The race is will be paired with a professional level cyclocross race in Kingsport, Tenn., the prior day, where local amateurs will be joined by top American talent making their last shot at getting points in the UCI international rankings.

"With the Cyclocross World Championships coming to Louisville, Ky., in 2012 and 2013 for the first time ever on America soil, we are already working to secure sponsors for a 'Pre-Worlds' race in 2012 that can attract the thousands of Masters and Elite racers and fans expected to pour in from Europe for the main event the following weekend," the spokesperson said.

For more information, course maps, directions, and photos and videos from cyclocross, visit http://highcountrycx.com or e-mail (info@pirateraceproductions.com)

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