Photog’s View: The Holy Week of Cross!
The cyclo-cross season is upon us and what better way to celebrate than a ‘Photog’s View’ from Angelica and Travis Dixon from the Holy Week of cyclo-cross in New England. The Gran Prix of Gloucester and the Providence KMC Cyclocross Festival are the biggest cyclo-cross events of the season – The Holy Week of Cross:
– Photos by Angelica Dixon, Words by Travis Dixon –
The Holy Week of Cross, actually spans 10 days, but you get the idea, is comprised on six races over four different locations in New England. Angelica and I were excited to make the ‘pilgrimage’ to the marque events during this Holy Week.
The biggest cyclocross events of the season, Gran Prix of Gloucester and Providence KMC Cyclocross Festival, provided back to back weekends of racing. Gloucester has the heritage but Providence has the higher UCI ranking. Regardless, the racing was full on with the cross mad New England fans, drinking it up.
Truly, the heart of cross in the states is in New England and the fans know their cyclists. Walking around the events it was fascinating to hear the fans talk about their favorite racers, their form coming into the races, how the races would play out…
Gloucester brought beautiful sun and dry conditions making the courses a dust fest with riders ending their days looking more like coal miners than cyclists. The women and men’s events provided excellent tactical racing each day.
The confluence of mountain and road cyclists on these cross bikes makes for very interesting racing with each able to use their unique skills set to try to undo the efforts of their competitors.
While the European and American weather forecasters argued if hurricane Joaquin would hit New England or take a hard right and rage into North Atlantic, the rain fell hard during the week. The unusually dry summer, following a record breaking winter, left the ground thirsty for the rain. We were hoping for mud but what we found in Providence was a perfectly grippy track that made the racing super fast.
Gloucester served up slightly more technical and tight courses at the picturesque ocean side Stage Fort Park. The dry conditions didn’t allow a consistent track to set up, so those who were more comfortable with their bike getting loose in the corners faired well. Providence allowed for longer sections to lay the power down and included sharp up/downs and forays into the woods at Roger Williams Park.
It’s hard to say which is a better venue and with 4 different race courses over these two weekends. Powers dominated both weekends but his final race absence at Providence prevented what seemed to be a foregone conclusion of a clean sweep. The woman’s races saw, Katie Compton in her Stars and Stripes jersey, not quite on form to handle a storming Nash at Providence. The depth of the woman’s field was evident but over the two weekends, Compton took one win in Gloucester and was on the podium for the other three races, the only woman to do this. Each day offered a different race with different tactics and more than worthy victories.