Share |

Sunday, October 14, 2007 -- Cincinnati, OH / Harbin Park
BioWheels/United Dairy Farmers UCI Cyclo-Cross at Harbin Park (iPO Event Id#: 10499)

2007: [Photos] [Details] [Coverage] [Overall Results]

The Off-Season is Definitely In

Story and photos by Julie Black with additional photos by Maria af Rolen

Cyclo-Cross Photo by Julie Black
Cyclo-Cross Photo by Julie Black
According to, Cyclo-cross has been around since the 1940's or so and was originally a way for road racers to maintain their fitness level through late fall and early winter. It began overseas (in Europe that is) and is still relatively new to the United States, but its popularity is growing rapidly near mid-western and north-eastern U.S. cities, but why?

Maybe the northern weather has something to do with it in the New England states. Despite the usually warm autumn weather, mid-eastern states have seen cyclo-series on the rise, and why not? It's fun.

It also gives us spoke hounds something to do...train, race, and cheer in a very spectator friendly atmosphere. Cow bells are encouraged and hey, cyclo-racers ask photographers like me to get photos of them 'suffering.' There's something to said for that, since most cyclist racers that I know get angry if you get their glory shot heaving uphill.

Cyclo-cross seems to be a time to relax, have fun, and let your wild side hang out. That's not to say that it doesn't include serious racers, but it's got a unique flair. Rock on single-speeders and roadies, this game is for you. It's not a bad gig for mountain bikers either.

"These races used to attract only 20 riders six years ago." explained race director, Mitch Graham of BioWheels Bike Shop. Mitch meticulously outlined the cyclo-course, matching Union Cyclist Internationale (UCI) standards. "Now, we get over 200, and it's growing every year."

Cyclo-Cross Photo by Julie Black
Cyclo-Cross Photo by Julie Black
The Series is 15 races long, based in Cincinnati, Columbus and Dayton Ohio, Louisville, Lexington and Northern Kentucky, and the Indianapolis, Indiana region. The first two stops on the US Grand Prix of Cyclocross series decide who makes the U.S. teams, in other words-who heads to World Championships.

Even local celebrity, John Gatch of Two Johns Podcast, announced the racers and gave the play by play for the entire day of racing, sweet.

So, why Cyclo? Well... why not? It's getting huge, but even if you're not into another big series and you're burnt out from your summer road or mountain bike series, it's refreshing to say the least. Something new, something different, and yes, spectators like it too, so bring your significant or not-so-significant other. Bring your family, because kids are encouraged to race and have fun.

The classes are separated into times, and the action is all day long. Yes, from 11 am to 5 pm there's non-stop racing, barely enough time for a photographer or announcer to get a gulp of water for sure.

First to race was the men's beginners, then masters 35 +, an exciting race with more than 20 riders. Timothy Beirne and Michael McShane of Papa Johns Racing Team drafted off of each other for the full 47 plus minutes of racing to take the overall win, with Tim earning the top podium spot honors.

Katie Compton Photo by Julie Black
A gracious, Katie Compton accepts her award
Photo by Julie Black
Men's 45 plus was ruled by BioWheels racer, Charlie Miller, who dominated from an early lead and held on to claim the top spot.

Like the Men's 35+ category, the Men's B class was also claimed by the Papa Johns Racing Team (PJRT). Clayton Omer and Andrew Llewellyn of PJRT cranked to the front and never looked back in the field of 50+ racers.

The Women's B racers took to the course and sand pit, a field of 14, with Holly Longley of Team Allegiance Strategist/Sorella crossing the painted line first. Christine McCarthy of Team Awesome/Jeni's Ice Cream kicked up the dust on the dry course in 2nd.

The Men's Master B, 35+ took the stage after that, and Team Louisville of Kentucky showed the Ohio folks that their for real. Jeff Steinrock used the roadies course to his advantage to claim 1st, as Joe Sohm/ Human Cyclers Cafe, crossed in 2nd.

The smaller classes followed, with Men's C, Jacob Beers (1st) and Bret Brevoort/ Darkhorse/Smittys (2nd). Junior's 10-12 saw Ian McShane/ Red Zone and a young and up-and-coming girl take the stage, Hannah Mossman/ One Call Now as the 2nd in that class and the first in the 10-12 girls class. Jarrett Fauhiger/ QCW claimed the top spot for the Junior 15-16 class riders.

Cyclo-Cross Photo by Maria af Rolen
Elite Men lead the pack
Photo by Maria af Rolen
After all the locals raced it was time for the Pro/Elites to take the stage, starting with the women at 2:00 pm. Katie Compton of Team Spike Shooter among them, the 2007 silver medalist at the World Cyclo-cross Championships in Belgium. I'm sure she's heard "Straight Outta Compton" way too many times, but the cool thing about her that you may not know is that the US champ is a humble person. Not only did she tear up the sand-pit to win the women's Elite class, she also raced in the men's elite class because, well, she wasn't quite finished. For being in the national and international news as much as she is, Compton seems grounded, smiling and gracious of her earnings.

Taking 2nd was Kelli Emmet, who rides for Giant Bicycles. Wendy Williams of River City Bicycles claimed 3rd.

The final race was for the men's top spot, the elite podium rights. Some big guns were there, event the 2006/2007 Danish Champion, Joachim Parbo, who rides for Team CCV Protek. Kona Team's serious force, Barry Wicks, and Brent Prenzlow of Carlsbad, California gave a fresh start for Team Alan North America.

Prenzlow placed 3rd in the 2006 US Cyclocross National Championships Masters 34-39, has 68 career cyclocross wins as an elite racer and is a 6-time California State Champion. According to the Santa Cruz Sentential, Wicks beat out reigning World Champion Erwin Vervecken, U.S. National Champion Ryan Trebon, German national champ Malte Urban and Canadian national champ Greg Reain on his way to winning the UCI C2 event on Oct. 7.

Cyclo-Cross Photo by Julie Black
Wicks passes Parbo on the hill
Photo by Julie Black
Parbo's account of the day read as such from his blog, "Nine laps on a very fast dry grass course with long straight sections, a few light climbs, and a delicious sand pit. Sixty starters- a 10 person group quickly formed. Barry Wicks and I towed the train. On the 3rd lap I took a big pull in the front and on the next laps Wicks and I separated ourselves from a 5 person chase group. We worked together a couple of laps until Wicks attacked on the hardest climb of the course. I instantly had a lactate sensation running through my body and Wicks rode away. The lactate wash was gone after half a lap and I could ride powerful again gaining a bit on Wicks. I guess I need to make the brain train together with my muscles so that this will not happen again."

Parbo's recollections summed it up quite well. The top Pro-Men separated themselves from the pack, it was Parbo and Wicks ahead. But Wicks, who would take the lead and never let go of it, passed Parbo on the suffering hill climb. It was a bit of a shock since many expected the Danish champion to dominate, yet Wicks has been showing up to many events this year as a confident, relaxed, and focused rider. It's paid off for him this season so far.

Wicks took the overall Pro win in 1:04:57, as Parbo took 2nd in 1:05:29. After the race, the two champions were seen smiling and comparing notes on the day. At the podium they were all smiles, looking forward to the next big event.

Race Sponsors
For race director, Mitch Graham, it was a day well spent. Months of preparation had paid off and everyone, racers and spectators, seemed to leave happy thanks to free food provided by BioWheels. Read Mitch's recap too on

The event was a well rounded success, and one of many for the 15 race series.


"In the last three years, the sport of cyclocross has grown exponentially and the US Gran Prix of Cyclocross has become the most popular and exciting race series in North America and the premier cross series in the US," said Bruce Fina, executive director, US Gran Prix of Cyclocross. "In 2007, we look forward to bringing the excitement that is the USGP to Kentucky."

"One of the founding tenets of USGP is to bring together all of the best riders -- elite and espoir men, women and juniors -- so they can go head-to-head. It's crucial, both nationally and internationally, for USGP to serve as the premier series for this competition. With our new schedule and venues, the 2007 USGP will continue to fuel the growth we are seeing in American cyclocross," Geoff Proctor, USGP Technical Director.