Thursday, October 1, 2009

Cyclists from across the state descend on Ithaca

By Phyllis McCrossin

Cyclists from across the state descended on Woodland Park in Ithaca Sunday for the Ithaca Grand Prix of Cyclocross.

Cyclocross is a form of bicycle racing where participants race laps of a 1.5 mile course which features pavement, grass, wooded trails, steep hills and obstacles requiring the rider to quickly dismount, carry the bike while navigating the obstruction and remount in one motion.

“This is the third year we’ve held the race in Ithaca,” Brian Hancock, one of the race organizers said. “It’s been very well received. There are races on both sides of the state and we decided to try bringing
something to the middle of the state.”

The Cyclocross season runs from September through December, according to Hancock. “We race in rain, sleet, snow, cold, warm . . . all types of weather,” Hancock said.

Hancock, who teaches physics at Alma High School, said he was introduced to Cyclocross when he was 15 by an older high school friend and entered his first race when he was 16. He won state and national championships, but quit racing while he was attending Alma College.

“I wanted to concentrate on school,” Hancock said.

Now that he’s back into racing Hancock said he trains six to seven days a week

Hancock said Cyclocross races are run on grass, sand, snow and if it rains – mud.

“We change the courses every time we race,” Hancock said on the Saturday before the race. “So people racing this year will have a different course than they did last year.”

Hancock said Woodland Park is a great location for the race.

“There are great hills here, the racers will have to run through the amphitheater, and we’ll have an obstacle they have to run over going uphill. Not every part of the race is run on bikes. It’s a challenging course,” Hancock said. “This is a great location and the city has always been very helpful.”

So yeah, apparently I've won state AND national championships : )

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