BRECKENRIDGE - Colorado's competitive cyclocross season kicks off Sunday at the Breckenridge Nordic Center.Brecktobercross, which has grown steadily in size over the past few years, will take place on a redesigned course that's tougher than in years past, according to race director Mark Taylor."It's got less pavement and more running," Taylor said of the 1.45-mile course. "And it's got about three or four dismounts with some easy barrier hops before a couple long uphill runs."While the International Cycling Union (UCI) has recently reduced the standard number of dismounts per cyclocross race to one or two, Taylor said, Brecktobercross can feature more because it's sanctioned by the American Cycling Association (ACA), a regional governing body."We have a little more room to work with," he said. "Cyclocross has always been a technical sport that involves dismounts and I wanted it to stay that way."
Sunday's course has been in place for two weeks, which has allowed locals like Jeff Cospolich ample practice time."I've probably done 10 or 12 laps on it so far," Cospolich said. "It's helpful because it tells you what kind of tire pressure to run on, which gears should be used on certain points of the course and what's around the next corner."Cospolich agreed the course was tougher than before (and added that it runs in the opposite direction), which is a development he seems to welcome."Personally, I like it," he said. "But some people can't stand getting off their bikes.""Having the course set up for a few weeks has been nice because it's given me a chance to get feedback from riders," Taylor said. "And the course gets cleaner and faster with more use."
Significant preview time isn't the norm at cyclocross events because many races take place in urban settings, thus can't be set up in advance.Course familiarity could give local riders an inherent advantage over their Front Range counterparts on Sunday. According to Cospolich, so could the time of year."I think a lot of mountain riders like to focus on the early (cyclocross) season," he said. "A lot of us are usually in good shape after the mountain biking season, while the Front Range riders can be burned out because they've had all year to ride their bikes."Nine races are on tap for Saturday, beginning with a 30-minute junior competition at 9 a.m. All subsequent races will last 45 minutes except the senior men's open race (at 3:10 p.m.), which will last 60 minutes. Race-day registration ($25) will open at 8 a.m. and close 30 minutes prior to the start of each race. Competitors will need an ACA license to compete, which can be purchased at the race site.
Oktoberfest 5K returnsThe fifth annual Breckenridge Oktoberfest 5K Trail Run/Walk is set for Saturday at 10 a.m. Pre-registration for the event, which begins and ends at the Riverwalk Center, is available at the Breck Rec Center or online at www.greatadventuresports.com. Pre-registration costs $20 for adults and $10 for kids 17 and under. Race-day registration will be available beginning at 8:30 a.m., and will be $25 for adults. The first 150 people to register will receive an Oktoberfest T-shirt.