September 23/09 22:53 pm - Toronto International Cyclo-Cross Races Return in 2009
Posted by Editoress on 09/23/09
The dirtiest and fastest growing sport in North America
“Cyclo – cross makes road racing, mountain biking and cross country running look like tea parties.” says event organizer Craig Fagan. “The conditions are x-treme with events held in whatever nature dishes out.”
With harsh conditions, hurdles and exhaustive courses, this attracts a rare breed of athlete. The participants coming to the Toronto International Cyclo-Cross are the elite of that breed and are travelling from all over the world to take part in this event. “Every year we have seen a marked increase in the popularity of this event.” “It really is becoming a signature event for the whole family. “This year we offer 2 days of distinct racing, Saturday is for climbers and Sunday is for speedsters” says Fagan.
International level riders race to gain world ranking points, money and mainly the glory of leaving their competitors exhausted, splattered with dirt and in their dust. “They must jump hurdles, race up grades so steep or slippery that it is faster to run up them with your bike on your shoulder” says Fagan. This year’s event will offer cash prizes of over $24,000. “This isn’t a small bike race, it’s on par with the Canadian Open” comments Fagan.
“I love Canada and racing up here. I wish there were more races up here because this course was one of the best in North America,” said Jeremy Powers, last years winner of Elite Men’s race. Powers will be a returning competitor this year.
US champion Tim Johnson compares the race favourably to the world’s toughest cyclocross race, The Koppenberg in Belgium.
In the women’s category, Natasha Elliot, the clear winner of last years Elite Women’s races and one of the top women racers in the world will be returning this year to defend her title.
This is also a great family event. Competitions categories start with 8 year old competitors. “We are finding that kids are very attracted to the sport, it’s a legitimate outlet to get fit and filthy at the same time” “You don’t have to spend a fortune to get into the sport; virtually any bike will work fine “comments Fagan.
Five tips for beginners:
• Give yourself time to succeed; this discipline is technique based which takes time to master
• Don't worry about were you place, everyone who places higher in the finish order has been where you are
• Come out to a Midweek's 'cross@centennial and other like programs, learn and practice
• Ask someone to critic your technique... Someone watching from the side can see what you are doing right and what needs
work and can give you suggestions on what might work better for you
• Watch the technique of more experienced riders, look and see with your brain: what line they take a corner, how they pass
within a maze, how their hurdling is so like a ballet... All the little things they do to gain parts of a second on their competitors.
For those interested in giving it a try, weekly evening cross-training occur every Tuesday from now until November.
Location: Ski-hill in Centennial Park, Etobicoke from 6:30 to 8pm.
Toronto International Cyclo-cross UCI-C.1 & C.2, NACT
Centennial Park, Toronto On.
For more information on schedules and events you can visit www.torontocyclocross.com