Event number 5 of BikeRadar reporter Kirsten Frattini’s 7 race snapshot of the nation's most prominent 'cross events takes us back to New England for Adam Myerson’s Cycle-Smart International.
There are a number of events that hold a page in the history books of American cyclo-cross and those include the Surf City race series held in Santa Cruz and the Bay Area Super Prestige series event held in the historical Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, both in California. However, the Cycle-Smart International will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year as the oldest UCI-sanctioned cyclo-cross event in the country. Its pair of races is held on November 5 and 6 in Northampton, Massachusetts.
It is also a longstanding member of the Verge New England Championship Cyclo-cross series that includes five rounds of racing beginning at the Green Mountain Cyclo-cross weekend in Williston, Vermont and moving on to the Downeast Cyclocross in New Gloucester, Maine; Cycle-Smart International in Northampton, Massachusetts; Bay State Cyclocross in Sterling, Massachusetts; and NBX Grand Prix in Warwick, Rhode Island.
Promoter Adam Myerson knows his race course intimately
'Cross specialist Myerson founded the event when he was 19 years old. He continues to actively promote his race and is also one of its top contenders. The pair of races are a staple on the UCI calendar, formerly as C1 category events, they are now C2 level races.
"It became a cool project that I got excited about every year," Myerson said. "It's a really satisfying thing to watch over the years. It's like your little baby growing, you get so proud of it and you can't imagine not doing it again the next year. I keep it going now out of a sense of obligation because I know how popular it is and how much people appreciate it. I've been at it for so long now that it would break my heart to see it end."
The races changed venue on two occasions but it is now firmly in place at Look Park where the circuit utilizes a steep hill for a run-up (and ride-up), a deeply rooted upper level followed by a drop-off and several raised train track crossings on the lower portion of the circuit.
"I think people like the organization of the race, the way we set up our courses, the flow of the day, the course production, how well registration works and all that contributes to the popularity of the event," Myerson said. "Plus, everyone likes Northampton because it is a great place to get a meal, it's a nice town and people like to come to western Massachusetts.
"It is great that the park let’s us race there. People like the course because it is a lot of fun. It isn't a very hard course but it is a lot of sprinting, coasting, uphills and downhills and corners so it's a fun little roller coaster ride. You can go easy on it and you still feel like you're going pretty fast."
Jeremy Powers (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) and Mary McConneloug (Team Kenda/Seven/NoTubes) won their respective events during the first round. On the second day, Powers's teammate Jamey Driscoll took the victory in the men's race and McConneloug repeated her winning performance in the women's race.