Starting Thursday, December 13, and running through Sunday the 16th, the USA Cycling National Cyclocross Championships will feature the best American racers fighting for the stars and stripes jersey.
Of the record total 2,045 competitors registered for the weekend, Ryan Trebon of Corvallis, Oregon, and Katie Compton of Colorado Springs, Colorado, will be back to defend their elite division titles. There are also 13 age-group champions returning to defend titles in nearly 40 races that will take place over the four-day event.
Athletes from 45 states plus the District of Columbia will compete on the almost two-mile course, which features two back-to-back stair sections, each 40 feet long. Placed a quarter-mile from the finish line, the stairs will make for some tight finishes.
Cyclocross is usually very spectator friendly, and the Kansas City course is no different. Several spots points allow viewers to take in the entire race, and heated spectator tents will also be provided (forecasts are for low to mid-30s for the event).
A wide start area, several segments of doubling-back and some tough hills round out what's in store for the riders. The course will be muddy due to winter storms that went through the area at the beginning of the week.
Race Director Bill Marshall said in a press release, "The course is in great shape right now. We had about an inch of snow on the course before this ice storm, but the warmer rain melted it, so now it's a layer of ice. But it's been raining more than anything lately, so it's going to make for pretty muddy conditions for the entire week."
"I think weather always makes racing more interesting," said Georgia Gould, recent winner of the overall Gran Prix of Cyclocross Series and the current U.S. mountain bike national champion. "Mud adds an element of finesse and technical skill over and above simple brute strength. In the end, the winner is the one who makes the fewest mistakes on the slippery course."