Minnesota Cyclocross Season Preview Part II - October Races

5:16 AM

The best race of the season is coming...


Baker Orchard (Centuria, WI) 10/05/13
I will admit it, this race is a bit of a hike, but there are some elements that make it worth your drive.  The course is nice - sweeping trails through an orchard, a ride through a barn (fun!), a sandpit that you will either love or hate (or, most likely, both), and a few bumpy open sections that will challenge the power rider in you.  For a course with no discernible climbs, it really is fun (I speak as one who likes a hill or two).  Plus, orchard goodies like apples, cider, and donuts!

Will I race it?  Definitely.  I've never done very well here (and crashed out at the start last year), but I've always had fun.

Shamrocks (Rosemount, MN) 10/06/13
I want to be supportive of the local cyclocross scene, but I just cannot get behind this race.  First, it is held on a truck training track at a technical college (they hold a series of criteriums there in the summer).  Second, it is flat as a pancake.  Third, there are no technical elements.  Fourth, it is a crit with some grass thrown in.  Still, if you are a roadie looking to try your first cross race, give this one a try.

Will I race it?  Absolutely not.

Wirth Cyclocross Classic (Minneapolis, MN) 10/13/13
Wirth can be both maddening and awesome because of the venue.  There aren't many open sections, so bottlenecks are bound to happen.  Also, the course can veer from "cross-like" to "mountain-like" which always brings out a few complaints.  Still, I've always loved this race because the course continues to be interesting, challenging and different every year.  Will we get to climb the crumbling staircase up from the lake through a jeering crowd this year?  Here's hoping!

Will I race it?  I really, really want to...but October is chock-a-block full of great cross races.  May need a rest weekend...we'll see.

Green Acres (Lake Elmo, MN) 10/19/13 & 10/20/13
This is the race that consistently receives the highest accolades on the end of the season survey, and it is no surprise.  Green Acres is an event.  The course is challenging (ughthat hill) and fun (rowdy and sandy run-up with hand-ups a plenty + a flyover) and the overall atmosphere is top-notch (great music, a beer & a brat with your entry, thousands of dollars in swag.  This year Green Acres expands to two-days, so we will see what new fun stuff they can come up with.

Will I race it?  If I sacrifice Theodore Wirth it will be for Green Acres  one of the few doubles I actually planed for my season.

Red Barn (Shafer, MN) 10/26/13
Like Baker Orchard, Red Barn is a bit of a hike, but also like Baker it is worth your time. Red Barn is known for costumes and a course that weaves through a Christmas tree farm.  Again, no real climbing (just a messy run-up), but if you can figure out the cornering in amongst the trees (and get your passes in before the next corner), you’ll have a great race.

Will I race it?  Most likely – another race that doesn’t play to my strengths, but one that I always like doing.

Donkey Cross (Ham Lake, MN) 10/27/13
I know nothing about Donkey Cross – one of the few new races on the cyclocross calendar.  Truth is, I’ve been burned so many times on local races that turn out to be imitation-cross that I’ll wait a year to find out if this one is worth the trip. 

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