Special to The Post-Star
GLENS FALLS — Nearly 120 riders from all over the region and as far away as New Hampshire converged on Crandall Park on Sunday for the second Hometown XC cyclocross race under sun-drenched skies and color-splashed trees.
Racers in numerous categories, including youth, traversed the 1.25-mile course delineated with yellow tape that Race Director Niles Gagnon likened to “motocross on bicycles, but without the big jumps.”
There were tight corners, sandy spots and obstacles that require riders to dismount and carry their bikes for a stretch before jumping back on to resume pedaling. They raced on road bikes that were equipped with off-road tires, he said.
“Everything went really smoothly,” said Gagnon, who works at Grey Ghost Bicycles, which sponsored the event. “We had great weather and everybody liked the course a little better (than the first year).”
The inaugural race was held in 2019, with a year being skipped because of COVID-19. This is the most northern race of the NYCROSS series, said Gagnon, who also served as the event’s emcee.
Glens Falls Director of Tourism Amy Collins raved about the event and said the Glens Falls area is increasingly becoming known as a biking destination, evidenced in part by a recent chat with a couple from Rhode Island who came to ride their tandem bike and stay at The Queensbury Hotel.
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“The cycling community here is pretty big,” Collins said, adding that the Hometown XC race, which she likened to an “X-Games event,” brought a lot of families to town this year.
She noticed them eating picnics throughout the day and mingling after the race with adults enjoying après race treats from a portable Common Roots Brewing setup.
“I just loved it,” she said. “It was a really cool event.”
Gagnon agreed about the area becoming hot for cyclists, in part because of the widely known trails at Queensbury’s Gurney Lane Recreation Area.
He said local riders are routinely encountering visitors on trails from places like Long Island, Vermont and the Catskills.
“And there are people in there all winter too,” he said.
Money from Sunday’s race in part will be used to help buy a groomer to groom fat tire bike trails in the winter to further enhance the system, he said. Another portion will help fund the National Interscholastic Cycling Association cycling team, he said.
The top winners Sunday were Kevin Bouchard-Hall from Lake Placid and Kim Milton from Clifton Park, each taking home $100 in prize money and bragging rights.
Thew final race in the series will be held next Sunday in Bethlehem, Gagnon said.
Grey Ghost Bicycles General Manager Steve Fairchild wanted to simply talk about how good it felt to be able to have bike races again.
“We’re happy after two years of not being to hold any events that we’re able to do events like this and Janey’s Ride cancer benefit,” he said, the latter done in August and named after his wife who successfully battled breast cancer. “And to get our NICA kids mountain bike team going full swing again.”