CRAFT Gran Prix of Gloucester Presented by Ipswich Ale Brewing, Oct. 13-14
For the 20th consecutive year, top professional and amateur bike racers from across North America and throughout Europe, including many former national champions, will again converge on Stage Fort Park for the CRAFT SportswearGran Prix of Gloucester on Oct. 13-14. The undisputed king of the New England cyclocross calendar, this two-day competition is the opening event in the 2018 Vittoria Northeast Cyclocross Series, said race director Paul Boudreau.
Topsfield’s Tim Johnson, a multiple-time United States national cyclocross champion and winner of the first Gloucester elite race in 1999, said he considers “Gloucester to be a bellwether for the sport – thousands flock to race, ride, and hang out each year. That, to me, is carried all across the country as an example of the health and vibrancy of the sport as a whole. Love it.”
Likewise, veteran racer Rebecca Wellons Pagano, who won both women’s masters races in 2017, refers to the CRAFT SportswearGran Prix of Gloucester, simply, as a “love story.”
“Everyone wants to ride their best and dreams of crossing the line first with that dramatic ocean view framing their victory,” said Wellons Pagano. “Some of us are lucky enough to have felt that, or stood on the podium. It's a feeling you can't ever forget. Everyone comes out to Gloucester to connect with each other, say hello to old friends, meet new people, and celebrate this crazy sport we all love. And I can't wait to line up at the start of this year's 20thedition.”
Often called the “steeplechase” of cycling, cyclocross represents "everything that's good about cycling," says Boudreau. This unique, race-specific discipline is a wild, entertaining mix of road racing, mountain biking and running on an obstacle-laden clover-leaf course that snakes through every corner of the park. The sport requires racers to fight for position while negotiating sharp turns, mud, sand, hills and hurdles, all at full speed for an hour. Cyclocross is demanding, challenging, and humbling for racers of all ages, men and women alike.
Again this year, the race’s title sponsor is CRAFT Sportswear, a Swedish apparel company with United States headquarters in Beverly, MA, and presenting sponsor Ipswich Ale Brewing. In addition to professional and elite racers, the event is an enormous draw for weekend warriors from throughout the Northeast. Anyone can race (pre-registration is required), with competitors placed in fields of similar ages and ability levels. All racers – even beginners – compete on the same course as the top riders. The result is an event that attracts a sell-out crowd of 1,000 competitors each day.
In addition, cyclocross is one of the most spectator-friendly of the bike-racing disciplines. Historic Stage Fort Park, overlooking Gloucester Harbor and its picturesque views of the Atlantic Ocean, provides a stunning venue. Fans can eat, shop, and learn about cyclocross in the Expo, or sample craft brews at the Beer Garden. Families can enjoy the picnic area with grills and a playground foryoungsters. There will also be a free kids' bike race for youngsters ages 12 and under.
WHEN TO GO* Races start at 8 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, and run for the better part of the day. Both days finish with the showcase Pro (Elite Class) races from 3:00-5:00 pm.
* A free Kids Racewill be held Sunday at 12:45 p.m.Registration for the Kids Race will be the day of the race. Up-and-coming racers ages 5 to 12 are invited to compete.
* The Ipswich Ale Brewing Beer Gardenwill be open from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00p.m. both Saturday and Sunday, where spectators can sample a variety of craft brews. TheExpowill also be open both days, featuring a food court, cycling vendors, and local businesses.
NOTABLE QUOTES“Gloucester is a special race for me. It's a true New England classic: the big, rowdy crowds always show up, the course is dynamic and challenging, and all the top riders line up. Historic, classic, and epic.” –Jeremy Powers, former US National Cyclocross Champion
“Because it's hard in a ridiculous way, cyclocross becomes fun. It almost has this performance art absurdity to it. It's just strange to watch someone running through a muddy field with a bike on their shoulder. That suffering, combined with the oddity of it, is part of what makes it so interesting.”
–Adam Myerson, long-time professional racer, cyclocross coach, and promoter
“There is something about that place. It's got a soul. I've been everywhere in the world that cyclocross races, and little comes close to the aesthetic drama of Gloucester.”
–Chris Zigmont, race announcer and cycling industry representative (Boston Globe)
“I have won Gloucester a few times as a pro, and I don't think that there is a race that rivals it in terms of energy. I'm so happy to see it approaching its 20-year anniversary, a true testament to a love and hard work that goes into creating a legendary event.”
– Ellen Noble, professional bicycle racer
“There's almost no pacing in cyclocross; it's just full-speed from start to finish. To sustain the effort, you have to block out the pain, dig deep inside, and find a way to keep hammering. The best riders are the ones who can find the concentration and courage to keep going even when they're dying inside.” –Pete Webber, former racer, Mountain Bike Hall of Fame (Sports Illustrated)
LEARN ABOUT CYCLOCROSS
YouTubekeywords: Cyclocross, Gloucester Gran Prix
For more race details and videos, please visit: www.gpgloucester.com