Minnesota Cyclocross Season Preview Part I: August & September

6:04 AM

That's right - it is time for bathtub laundry again!
The list is out, and my planning brain is engaged.  Time to look over the races, get honest about which ones are worth the time/effort, and make some plans!

Tuesday Night Cross Series (St. Louis Park) 08/27/13, 09/03/13, 09/10/13, 09/17/13, 09/24/13, 10/01/13, 10/08/13
This is Minnesota’s seven-week training series, ostensibly for newbies but basically everyone shows up to run the hamster wheel at Aquila Park.  Imagine a long, flat field with a steep but ride-able hill bordering one of the long sides and a few trees at either end.  That’s it.  Each week the course is redesigned, usually to highlight a skill (for example: uphill barriers…ugh).  Because of its convenient location the races can get pretty crowded, but they are a great way to get some hot laps in for training. 

Will I race it?  Probably not – last year was dust bowl dry, and played havoc with my asthma.  If the weather is right, sure, but otherwise it isn’t worth fighting the traffic.

EC3 Rivers CX (Maple Grove) 09/21/13
I’ve only raced EC3 once (last year), and didn’t particularly like it.  The course is fairly flat and has a lot of long, open stretches to it.  There are a couple of nice hills and a fun sand pit to crash in, but that is about it. 

Will I race it?  Nope – This race falls on the same weekend as the Trek Cyclocross Collective Cup outside of Madison, WI.  This replaces the USGP Sun Prairie race, and I’m hoping it will be just as fun.  Even if there wasn’t a conflict, the EC3 course definitely falls in that “dirt crit” category that I actively avoid. 

Metal CX, CRY #1 (Clear Water) 09/28/13 & 09/29/13
This is the experimental year for CRY, as last year it became clear that no one gives a hoot about the Cyclocross Rider of the Year competition.  You can definitely count me in the camp that doesn’t care.  Given my mid-pack status I will never be competitive, and I think CRY generally encourages sandbagging among the top contenders.  Also, last year had Twilight Cross, Hudson and Jackson Meadows as CRY – a roadie fest by any measure. 

Still, I am interested to see if this new system (a CRY double-race weekend once a month) will work out.  I am intrigued by the selectivity of it (just once a month) and the doubles (clearly inspired by the USGP model).  As for Metal CX, I’ve only done this race once when it was in St. Cloud.  Loved the course, but this year brings a new location. 

Will I race it?  When it was first announced I figured I would do one day, but now that the venue has been moved a bit closer to the cities I could see myself giving the double weekend a try. 

When it comes right down to it, August is not for cross races and September is my transition month between the two seasons.  The real cross begins in October around here…

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