Woodland City Park, Ithaca, Michigan

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Saturday, September 6, 2014

Questions?  E-mail me, Brian Hancock!  racepromoter/at/gmail/dot/com

Race History
The Ithaca Grand Prix of Cyclocross was first held in 2007, with a lot of help from Jeff Weinert, Matt Baroli, friends, and family.  Ithaca's Woodland City Park is a fantastic venue with an amphitheater-like setting perfect for 'cross.  In 2007, Nervz End rocked the "Amphitheater of Pain"which greeted 48 racers on the day.  Michael Wissink (Specialized) and Ann Schwartz (Flying Rhino CC) were the elite winners.  Team GIANT - Michigan was the supporting club.  It was a fantastic day of racing - and enough people showed to make me again host the race the next year.
Photo courtesy of Shannon Hancock
In 2008 the attendance jumped slightly to 60 racers and the weather was once again fantastic.  The purse increased as well as the raffle items.  The race course was slightly changed from 2007 and lap times were in the low 6-minute range for the elites.  Repeating as champions were Mike Wissink (Specialized) and Ann Schwartz (Flying Rhino CC).  Team GIANT - Michigan once again helped support the race.
Photo courtesy of Curt Potocki
In 2009 the Ithaca GP was held on the same weekend as the "new" Wisconsin USGP, which drew a few of the Ithaca faithful to Madison.  Despite the scheduling conflict, a new attendance record was set at 80 racers.  A handful of racers doubled up for the new singlespeed category on what was once again a picture perfect day of racing.  Tim Saari (Essex Brass) and Anne Grofvert (Drakes Coffee) were the new elite champions.  Team Sandbag was the supporting USAC team.

In 2010 and 2011 the Ithaca GP was temporarily postponed to pursue graduate school (Physics, CMU) and a family addition (Grace Kathryn).

But then in 2012, the Ithaca GP was back!  In three years a lot had changed on the Michigan and Midwest regional calendar.  Nationals had been moved to January, opening up the month of December to a few motivated cold-weather promoters.  Ithaca, however, kept an early September date, starting off the Michigan cyclocross season on the first Saturday after Labor Day.  This was the first Saturday edition of the race and allowed racers and their families to frequent the local businesses in the town that so greatly supports the GP.

Brad White (Moms In Tow) stormed to an early lead and never looked back in the elite men's race.  Anne Schwartz (Flying Rhino CC) once again claimed the top step of the elite women's field, taking home cash and a gift certificate to Sheila Moon.  Both Anne and Brad donned the first Ithaca GP champion's jerseys and cycling caps, a new tradition for the elite categories at Ithaca.

Photo courtesy of Curt Potocki
In 2013 the Ithaca GP returned for a 5th year and it was an awesome day of racing!  Once again supported by Team Sandbag, the Ithaca GP continued on the quest to be Michigan's premier cyclocross event.  For 2013 the race was on Saturday, September 7, making for a great start to the Michigan cyclocross season.  Additionally, for the first time in race history, the Ithaca GP teamed up with the Tailwind Series of Races to kick off the 'cross season.

At the end of the first waive of races a small band of heavy showers opened up and briefly soaked the course.  The Cat 3 Men and the Elite Women scrambled to make last-minute tire changes for the rapidly changing conditions on the course.  Mackenzie Woodring (Foundry) stamped her authority on the race, besting the strongest elite women's field to date.  As the day progressed the showers quickly dried up and the course was dialed for the elite men.  Brad White (Moms In Tow Cyclocross) jumped hot from the start and immediately a small front group formed.  Sven Baumann hoped to derail last year's champion from a repeat victory but White's skill and power proved to be too much.  A record of 202 registered racers set the stage for an awesome event.

For 2014 the 6th edition of the Ithaca GP will take place on Saturday, September 6, once again opening the Michigan 'cross calendar.  The vibe of Ithaca is to create a hard course that suits a wide variety of racers, have an awesome prize raffle for racers, and to create the best racing atmosphere in the state.  2013 was a roaring success; I can only imagine what 2014 will bring.

Hope to see you out there,

Brian Hancock
Race Promoter, Ithaca Grand Prix of Cyclocross
racepromoter / at / gmail / dot / com