Brannan Fix on his way to winning Sunday's Cross of the North. Photo by Paul Kumm.
Cross of the North 2018 turned out to be the perfect weekend for mudders and fair weather crossers alike. Saturday was sunny and dry with race day temps from the upper 20s to low 60s. The course at New Belgium Brewing invited you to ride fast but brake checked you at every loose corner. Winds started picking up and temps started dropping just as the races wrapped up on Saturday, a sign that something was blowing in. Racers went to sleep as snow was just starting to accumulate and awoke to 4-6 inches of fresh powder. For the early races, Dog Town was a sheet of ice, and the off cambers were impossible to ride. With the UV rays barely peaking through, midday racers saw melting snow and mud starting to develop. Afternoon races started muddy but some corners were actually beginning to tack up. The off cambers even became rideable again by some of the Elites and Masters. Everyone's bike was accumulating mud and ice. Bikes that went into the pit and saw the pressure washer came back clean and light but shifting and braking were compromised, at least temporarily, with frozen brakes, shifters and derailleurs. The initial inconstancy in braking and shifting was considerably better than the 20lbs of mud and lost watts due to wheels, cranks and brakes being caked with frozen mud.
BRAC already crunched the overall numbers so I'm not going to reinvent that wheel but it always interesting to see how cold temps, mud and snow affect participation in a sport that prides itself in taking place during the worst of conditions. Here are the numbers taken from the BRAC newsletter.
They had 596 riders the first day. That is a single-day record for the event and the highest attendance for this season. In fact, they had more total riders over the two days than last season, despite the change in weather. On Sunday, the cold and snows came, dropping their numbers a bit, but still 370 true cyclocrossers came out to prove their mettle.
The biggest group of die hard crossers was the MM 50+ open, with 34 riders, followed by the SS men with 30, and the SM 3 with 27. The biggest women's group was the SW Open with 17, followed by the SW 4 with 11. The biggest junior group (those crazy kids) was the JM 13-14 with 18 riders.
Northern Colorado had roughly 101 racers on Saturday and 71 on Sunday.
Big thanks to James Scott, Jason Gugelman and Paul Pass for all of their hard work again this year. Without these volunteer race directors, COTN wouldn't be possible. Those 3 spent countless hours preparing for this weekend and developing a cyclo-cross dream team and have already started planning for next year. They worked and reworked that course for months until it was perfect. They were supported by over a hundred volunteers from the area with specific support from the 1st City Cycling team. Thanks to all the individuals and teams that spent their free time supporting COTN. We would be remiss in not mentioning previous race directors, Tim Lynch, Tommy Taylor and Jay Zorn, these guys spent years building the brand and positioning it to be as successful as it is today. Their attention to detail proves that a local race can be national caliber. They insisted on double tape, hung properly, and developed things like the Homan Prime, a cash prize for the first person up the run-up on the first lap for every race, both days, and laid the ground work for the New Belgium Brewing relationship. Speaking of the Homan Prime, I'm not sure exactly how much of their own money Deb and Jeff Homan kicked in again this year but I'm sure it was close to $1500. This was done for no other reason than for the love of the sport and the race, it's not like they're promoting a product or anything. #superneatpeople
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Please send me any missing photographers so I can have a complete list. I'll continue to update this as they finish their albums.
Brent Murphy Photos https://www.brentmurphyphoto.com/2018-Cyclocross/2018-11-1011-Cross-of-the-North
Terri Smith Photos https://sportshutter.smugmug.com/CYCLOCROSS-2018/CROSS-OF-THE-NORTH
Here are full results for the weekend
Please keep in mind that I pulled these via the BRAC results so if you aren't listed, it's probably because they didn't have your city listed for whatever reason.