Minnesota Cyclocross Season Preview Part III - November & December Races

8:15 AM

It is time to finish out my MN cyclocross season preview with the close of the season…

NOVEMBER RACES


Velo Cross (Blaine, MN) 11/02/13 & 11/03/13
In MN cross there are old-fashioned (read: low production value) cross races like Theo, and an emerging series of “events” like Green Acres.  Velo is moving toward this event category with a double-race weekend, an entry on the National Cyclocross Calendar, and a $6000 prize purse (though, no equal prize money for the ladies…just the podium).  They do what they can, but they are limited by a cruddy course – there is not a whole lot of geographic variety in Blaine, so you end up with a lot of turns and a crowd that gathers around some mini-barriers hoping/cheering for an endo.  Don’t get me wrong, watching newbies bite it with a beer in hand is a great way to spectate…just not my cup of tea.  Still, this race is loved by many, so definitely one to check out.

Will I race it?  One day, for sure.  Two?  Nah.

Jackson Meadow (Marine-on-St. Croix, MN) 11/09/13
I have a soft spot for Jackson Meadow, because this was my first ever entry into cyclocross.  The location is beautiful with the all-white, architecturally designed houses and the manicured ski trails rolling through the woods.  But then you hit about a mile of asphalt and my non-roadie butt gets dropped.  The off-road stuff is true cross, but they just can’t avoid the road return, which makes this race a no-go for me.

Will I race it?  Nope.

Mill City Cross (Bayport, MN) 11/10/13
This race falls toward the end of MN CX season, just when you are beginning to realize that there are weekends ahead with no cross.  And you are still in good enough shape that you get depressed at that thought.  Mill City is what I call “serviceable” cross  - a decent course (last year’s creek crossing was fun), if a tad on the short side.  The weather is usually cold and windy, which made last year’s duck-fat fries a nice touch.  It never draws a huge crowd, but it is still a fun afternoon.

Will I race it?  Yup – if only to keep warmed up for Jingle Cross!

Rattail CX? 11/16/13 & Fridley Cross? 11/23/13 & Cross Fer Tots (XX) 11/30/13
The rest of November is up in the air at this point.  Rattail has been around for a couple of years, but it looks like it has now dropped from the USAC calendar – the promoter must have gone to Bike Reg and seen how many Minnesotans are heading down I-35 that weekend for Jingle Cross.  No big loss here – I liked the course, but lining up knowing you have a guaranteed podium isn’t always a great motivator for a strong race.

Fridley Cross is going to happen, just not in Fridley.  They’ve been kicked out of their venue (thankfully, in my opinion – that course was waaay too flat) and are on the hunt for something new.  Cross Fer Tots lands on Thanksgiving weekend, which takes it off of my calendar.  I’ve done this race before – it is a very low-key and very fun event meant to keep everyone in shape and raise money for Toys-4-Tots.  Bring a beer and a unwrapped toy for a good workout.

DECEMBER RACES

Minnesota Cyclocross State Championships (Crystal, MN) 11/07/13 & 11/08/13
Though November doesn’t bring the thrills that October does, at least we end the season with a great championship weekend.  The Crystal course is always fun, challenging, and gets even better with a few inches of snow to create some chaos (here’s hoping).  The raucous crowd around the staircase run-up will keep you going (as will their hand-ups).  This is the one weekend where there are no fair-weather crossers – no one stays away, even the spectators.  Day one is straight category races while day two runs by age-groups.

Will I race it?  Of course!

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