If it’s time for the first national cross-country race, it must be spring — about damned time.
OK, the first USA Cycling Pro XCT, and first stop of the Triple Crown All Mountain Pro Series, are being held in March 12-13 at Bonelli Park in Southern California, where it’s pretty much spring all damned winter. Still, the racing signals a change of season is coming, even if where you live is under snow.
The elite XC race offers the first UCI points available in the United States in 2011, alongside the Triple Crown All Mountain overall cash purse of $10,000 given to the top three men and women.
Elites expected to turn up include 2010 Triple Crown opener winner and Mellow Johnny’s US Pro XCT round winner, Max Plaxton, coming alongside his new factory Specialized teammates of Lea Davidson and Todd Wells.
“I’m really looking forward to getting the 2011 season underway at Bonelli Park this weekend,” said Plaxton. “Last year’s course was really fun and tactical, so I am excited to see what they have done with the course this year.”
March 12: US Cup Triple Crown Bonelli Park – San Dimas, CA
March 26: US Cup Triple Crown Fontana City National – Fontana, CA
April 16: Sea Otter Classic – Monterey, CA
April 30: Mellow Johnny’s Classic – Austin, TX
June 25: Subaru Cup – Mt. Morris, WI.
July 24: Missoula, Montana XC – Missoula, MT
Plaxton’s fellow Canadian, Geoff Kabush (Rocky Mountain Maxxis team), will also be racing at Bonelli Park.
“My motivation this off-season has been good, and I have high expectations coming into 2011,” Kabush said. “I’ve incorporated a lot of new ideas in my training, and I’m really looking forward to the first test in Bonelli. I am looking forward to seeing everyone’s face again and getting the race season underway.”
Other riders expected at the start include Heather Irmiger, Emily Batty, Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, Sam Schultz, who all ride with Subaru-Trek; RaboBank-Giant’s Adam Craig; Kona’s Barry Wicks and Kris Sneddon; Luna Pro Team’s Georgia Gould; Jamis’ 2010 La Ruta de los Conquistadores winner Ben Sonntag, along with Adam Snyder, Rotem Ishmael and Kelsy Bingham; Cannondale Factory Team rider Jeremiah Bishop; Kenda’s Amanda Carey and Trek/World’s Bicycle relief’s Dana Weber.
The Bonelli Park course lap is 3.1miles with over 500 feet of climbing per lap.
“The new course is really steep and punchy,” said Ty Kady of US Cup. “Plus we added some tricky off camber sections, threw in some log and rock sections for good measure, so it’s much more technical than last year. This won’t be your typical SoCal fire road cross-country course anymore.”
Check in with Singletrack.com over the coming weekend for Pro XCT coverage. Meanwhile, check out a pre-ride of the XC course at Bonelli Park.