Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cyclocross racing returns to Keweenaw

Tim Kostner, left, and Nevin Brownell participate in a previous cyclocross event. (Photos © and courtesy Chris Schmidt)

HOUGHTON, COPPER HARBOR -- Fast-paced cyclocross action returns to the Keweenaw October 23 and 24. The fourth annual Keweenaw Cup, organized by Houghton’s Red Jacket Cycling Team, with support from the Copper Harbor Trails Club, will see as many as 100 racers lining up for two days of racing: Saturday, Oct. 23, in the Downtown Hoedown in downtown Copper Harbor, and Sunday, Oct. 24, in Top of the World Smackdown at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge in Copper Harbor.*

Christina Bennett, left, and Amy Michaels head down a challenging cyclocross trail.

Weekend champions in each of five classes will be awarded the illustrious Keweenaw Cup. The races are open to everyone of all ages and all abilities on any kind of bike. No experience required! Typically 30 minutes to one hour in duration, cyclocross events are timed races held on short courses (1 - 1.5 miles) and include surfaces ranging from pavement and dirt roads to singletrack and grass. Obstacles ranging from wooden barriers, logs, sand pits, mud bogs, and unrideable hills add to the challenge -- and make mounting and dismounting an integral part of the race.

Nicole Alexander lifts her bike over one of the Keweenaw Cup obstacles.

Anything is possible in the Keweenaw weather-wise -- and the race will go one regardless of what it decides to do.

Though it may sound intimidating to the uninitiated, the festival-like atmosphere that surrounds every cyclocross race -- with clamoring cowbells and cheering spectators -- make it a unique sporting event and, for many, the highlight of the cycling season. The short courses ensure that there are nearly always racers in sight, and that the cyclists are never out of earshot of an encouraging word.

The $20 entry fee for Saturday’s afternoon race includes a pasta dinner at the Mariner North as well as music by the Black Justin Plichta. Dinner tickets will be available at the Mariner North on Saturday for non-racers. Entry for Sunday’s race is $10. Room discounts to racers are available at the Mariner North and other Copper Harbor motels. All proceeds from the weekend’s events will benefit the Copper Harbor Trails Club.

The Keweenaw Cup will mark the fourth weekend of racing in this year’s UPCROSS Points Series, a 7-race series of cyclocross events organized by Marquette’s KMK Cycling Club and the Copper Country’s Red Jacket Cycling Team and the Range Mountain Bike Club of Ishpeming. The series attracts racers each week from across Michigan, Northern Wisconsin and Minnesota from late September through mid-November.**

*See further details on the Keweenaw Cup at www.keweenawcup.com.

**Further details on the UPCROSS points series are available at www.upcross.net.

Questions? E-mail Chris Schmidt: cts@redjacketcycling.com.

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