Memphis Gets National USA Cycling Race

The Daily News

USA Cycling (USAC) has chosen Memphis to be a part of its national Cyclocross racing series for the 2017-18 season.

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On Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 30-Oct. 1, Shelby Farms Park will host the Tri-Star CX race, part of the American Cyclocross Calendar, where competitive cyclists from across the nation will take their wheels to a new pro-level course.

“The popularity of year-round competitive cycling is growing nationally,” Tri-Star CX’s race director Jonathan Pence said in a release. “We’re not just excited to be a part of a USAC nationally-sanctioned race, we’re excited for what we think will bring exposure to the sport locally and attract more competitive cycling races to Memphis.”

Created in France, Cyclocross began as a way to give cyclists an alternative training option in the colder months. Cyclists race many laps around a short, multi-dimensional course featuring pavement, wooded trails, grass, steep hills and obstacles.

“It’s a pretty physically demanding sport that requires a lot of speed, navigation and a course that accommodates it – think like American Ninja Warrior on bicycles,” said David Clark, captain of Ninetywest Racing, a local team helping to host the race.

Shelby Farms Park has been known to the Memphis biking community for how accommodating it has been to the sport.

“That’s why we’re thrilled to announce that our partners at Shelby Farms Park have agreed to allow this pro-course to be built specifically for this event,” Pence says.

Some 100-125 riders, both local and from across the country, are expected to be a part of the event, bringing a national cycling race to Memphis and tourism dollars as well.

When USA Cycling’s National Cyclocross Championship went to Bend, Oregon, in 2009, Bend saw a direct economic impact of $1.44 million generated by the race, according to the release.

The races draw a lot of spectators due to the short, circular course and adrenaline-pumping obstacles. Local food trucks and sponsor tents will be among the other race attractions.

Admission is free for spectators. Races will begin on Saturday and Sunday at 8:30 a.m. and last until 4:30 p.m.