Professional cyclists pushing their limits. Cowbells clanging. Virginia’s Blue Ridge GO Cross presented by Deschutes Brewery will entertain thousands this Labor Day weekend in Fallon Park, home of Virginia’s only permanent cyclocross course.
This year’s two-day competition, Aug. 31-Sept. 1, is the opening event of the UCI cyclocross season and on USA Cycling’s ProCX North American calendar. This is the third year for the event, which is expected to draw hundreds of pro riders. Professional and amateur cyclists from 26 states and five countries have already registered.
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“GO Cross introduces competitors from around the nation and world to our vibrant cycling community in support of our integrated economic development strategy,” said Pete Eshelman, director of the Roanoke Outside Foundation, which puts on the event.
One of the major highlights of the event includes equal payouts to male and female cyclists from the $12,650 GO Cross purse. The unique payout structure supports a growing movement in professional cycling.
Cyclocross can be described as a bike race in a steeplechase format with riders that hop on and off bicycles. GO Cross competitors will be tested throughout the entirety of the course as they leap over barriers, slosh through mud, navigate sand pits, climb stairs and traverse the famous Avis Construction Flyover. Hundreds of competitors will arrive on Friday for race day check-in and for many, this will be their first introduction to the region.
“Showcasing the region to avid cyclists opens the door to building a reputation of hosting similar competitive events, putting Virginia’s Blue Ridge on the map for attracting more outdoor enthusiasts,” said Landon Howard, president of Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge.
Spectators enjoy cyclocross for its rowdy approach to fan participation. Positive heckling is encouraged from fans standing only feet away from cyclists navigating the challenging course.
This year’s “in-field” activities include the Deschutes Brewery craft beer garden, food trucks, yard games, prize drawings and a beer relay with RunAbout Sports (anyone 21 and up can register for a team). Racers and spectators can even take a dip in Fallon Park Pool.
Visit www.gocrossrace.com for all event information