Sunday, October 9, 2011

Iron Cross 2011 Results

Results from our buds at Mid-Atlantic Timing!

Thanks all for a great day in Michaux!  See you next October for Iron Cross X!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Racer Email

Just sent the following out via BikeReg to all pre-reg'd racers.  If you're planning to come out day of you'll likely find this useful too - enjoy and thanks for visiting!

Alrighty then!  Hope you guys are as psyched up as we are for this shindig.  The course is going to be so very nice.  I rode Lippencote yesterday on my 'cross bike, it is in rippin' good condition.  Can't wait to see you tomorrow morning!

Some important things and stuff - this is long, but there is a lot of good stuff here.  Grab a cup of coffee and take 10 minutes to read through it all so you're better prepared for tomorrow!

1.  Iron Cross Rulz!  NoTubes Rulz!  Hammer, WTB and Drew Wellmon Family Practice Rulz.  World Cup Ski and Cycle Rulz!  SRAM rulz!  Cycling Dirt Rulz!

2.  The Start/Finish is at Pine Grove Furnace State Park - THIS IS A DIFFERENT SPOT THAN THE LAST 8 IC's so make sure you know where you are going.

GPS coordinates for race location - 40.032215,-77.303263

Website link to Google Map -,0,9660498898629218347&ei=0VmQTpTvNJLisQLe-LCgAQ&sa=X&oi=local_result&ct=image&ved=0CAQQ_BI

3.  Parking - follow the signs.  Racers park at the Day Use Area for the lake not at the stacks behind the park office.  Registration is at the pavilion behind the office - you ride your bike to reg, it is 2 minutes away. 

4.  PA State Parks DO NOT ALLOW ALCOHOL consumption on site.  DO NOT JEOPARDIZE THIS AWESOME VENUE with consumption of alcohol.  The local authorities have made this very clear to us this year, help us ensure IC is welcome back for years to come.

5.  No alcohol may be consumed on the party bus.  I'm working on getting the Party Bussers a present to open at CP#2, but not before!

6.  Party Bus - there is plenty of space for more people since we have a full on bus going around the course.  Please use the bus instead of driving yourself - we don't want traffic congestion on the roads to help ensure the safety and enjoyment of the racers.  $10 day of.  Yep, no late fee.  Just git on the bus, Gus.  Don't need to discuss much.  

If you've pre-reg'd for the bus pick up your ticket in the merchandise line, this is also where you register for the bus day of.

7.  There is a split on the course for the 50K and the 100K - PAY ATTENTION TO WHICH DIRECTION YOU ARE TO GO.  There will be big freakin' signs at the split pointing you the right way.  The split is just after CP#1 and the KOM spot - you've been warned.

8.  The course will be marked with black arrows on yellow background.  We use the convention of (at least):
-- 1 Arrow in advance of a turn pointing in the direction of travel
-- 2 Arrows in the turn (or as close as possible)
-- 1 Confirmation arrow after the turn to let you know you're heading the correct way
We are also using
-- "W" marks that indicate "Wrong Way" -- if you are headed that way, ummm, turn around.
-- "X" and 2x Down Arrows indicating Caution/Danger that will be used primarily to indicate that you are coming to a road crossing and to keep your head up!

9.  The course is open to traffic.  Keep your head up and help each other stay safe out there.  Obey the rules of the road.

10.  The Park is open to other users, please be courteous to them

11.  No Death Spiral this year...we're bummed, but this 'just short of building an Ark weather' we've had the last two months has the only Spiral-y area too wet for the weekend.  Luckily the weather is going to be incredible.  The rest of the course is drying fast and we still have a fun lap planned for you before you head out for the big day in the woods.

12.  Drop Bags - You may put drop bags at Checkpoints 2, 3, and 4.  No bags at CP#1 - that is more of an emergency stop than anything as it comes up quickly in the course.  Drop bags are 1 gallon zip lock bags you'll put your number on/in at registration.  Feel free to prepare this in advance at your home and add the number when you get to reg. 

13.  Reg opens at 7AM.  It will not be open earlier.  If you are pre-reg'd just get into the correct line, sign your name to the waiver and the photo release on the back, pick up your number and are good to go.  Merchandise is picked up in the merchandise line.

14.  Day of registration - bring those people who only now realize how much they are missing out!  100K and 50K are open!

15.  Merchandise is available for purchase and ordering at registration.  Check out the hoodies and beanies from Daily Screen Printing.

16.  World Cup Ski and Cycle of Mechanicsburg will be providing day-of mech support at the start/finish prior to the start.  SRAM will be helping World Cup out a bit and will be at various points on course.  Each Checkpoint also has a small supply of tubes and light tools provided by WC for emergencies.

17.  We strongly recommend carrying at least one tube, a pump/inflator, tire tools and a multi-tool (preferably also the knowledge of how to use one) with you. 

We more strongly recommend switching over to NoTubes!! I've been rocking them for a few weeks on some nasty stuff and they work awesome.  They are perfect for these UltraCX style events. 

Be sure you also have enough fluid and food to get through the day - it is going to be pretty warm by late morning so plan appropriately.

18.  Be very very nice to all the volunteers - they are giving up an incredibly nice day to help you around the course.  If there is anyone coming along with you who would be interested in/willing to volunteer we're happy to add more peeps to the IC family (and we hook them up with some swag too!)

19.  Please, no beer out and about at the park.  Look for Larry's Tavern out on course and enjoy some there!

20.  Look for post race coverage in Cycling Dirt,, Cyclocross Mag and Libery Sports and more.  Race day photography by Zach Repp - - prints will be available for viewing and purchase.

21.  Come out and join us at the rest of the new American UltraCross Championship Events next year - In 2012 Iron Cross will be the UltraCX series championship event!

22.  Lastly (yes, finally) look for 2012 IC reg to open in the near future and at a special rate through the end of October!

Again, big thanks to NoTubes, WTB, Hammer, World Cup Ski and Cycle, Cycling Dirt, SRAM, Dr. Drew Wellmon, Pine Grove Furnace State Park, all 8 municipalities that let us use their roads, PennDOT, DCNR, all our incredible volunteers, my wife and kids and both sets of parents and to you for coming out! 

See you soon, travel safely!

Mike, Zach and the Gang!

Don't forget to find us on the Book of Faces!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Almost There!

You feeling it?  You ready?  It looks like a beautiful weekend coming our way.  The day will start crisp and cool, but warm up nicely.  The leaves are getting purtier by the day.  The NoTubes wheels are sitting ready for someone to claim, the HEED is ready for the coolers and a box of love from WTB is sitting on the back porch.  Race #s are in need of bikes.  Socks are ready for feet worthy of being wrapped in their luxury.  The new finishers awards are looking for necks to hand from proudly. And I'm chuggin' beers to test out the new pint glasses.  The mud is drying up and the trails are looking sweet - we even paved Lippencote for you.*  Love it!

A little bummer is that due to the last two months of rain we're going to miss out on the Death Spiral this year.  I know, this is a rough one for me too.  I cried a little and had to get a hug from an old friend to feel better about the whole thing.  It is a staple of IC, but we want to make sure the park is left if good condition so we'll be invited back next year.  They've asked us to pull the Spiral for the year so we did.  Though it will be nice to save the brain power used to make sure everyone could get into and out of that thing!

But, the new start loop at Pine Grove Furnace State Park is pretty sweet too with a nice loop of gravel roads and a new run up awaiting your eager wheels.  We think you'll like it. 

Git on the bus!!  

It ain't no truck-boat-truck, but it'll be almost as much fun!

 We're doing a "Party Bus" for IC this year.  $10 pre-reg, $15 day off.  We'll cart you around Michaux to some good viewing spots and you kick back, relax and enjoy the show.  Bring family, friends, support crew, co-workers who don't quite "get it" or that hottie you're trying to get with and show 'em what's up. 


We're up to 275 pre-reg.  Thank you.  Last year our numbers were down a little and we missed you all terribly.  Thank you for helping us feel loved again!  Of course, we know that you won't have quite the same feelings for us after a couple hours on Sunday so here's a bear for you.


Okay then.  Time to go do some things and stuff. 

And double check that pint glass functionality.

Rest up.  Travel safely.  We'll see you soon.

*By paved I mean that there was this one log we cut out and I picked up some sticks.

Monday, October 3, 2011

More Fun with Maps

We got a request for the 100K elevation profile - here you go - sorta.  The course has changed a little from this go at the profile.  The change is very easy to address.  Basically all you need to do is cut the last four miles of the course off this profile and then add it back to front end and you'll have the 2011 profile ready to roll!

Enjoy and see you in a few days!  And, if you or someone you know are planning to get on the "Party Bus" please register for that asap.  We may not have space for anyone looking to register on race day!

Pretty Pictures

Spent a few hours today whipping up the press release for the weekend trying to be less than my regular wordy self.  Luckily I get to rely on photos from guys like Don Pagano and Abe Landes to help me paint the picture.  Enjoy and get psyched!

Friday, September 30, 2011

More Fun with Mapping

The 50K courses are a little different than what we originally mapped.  This is because Z and I had some discussion about the set up and wanted to make sure we were putting together a fast, fun 50 that kept much of the feel of the 100K but a little less of the elevation gain/loss from our first short course design.  So after some map consultation and Z doing some more poking about we came up with this:

The big change from the first course is the elimination of the Hogshead Climb from the 50K.  You miss out on probably the best road descent of the 100K with this change, but the upside is you don't get the 20-30 minutes of climbing that may accompany the ascent on the 100K course that is often a major decision maker in the long race?  What do I mean?  Hogshead either makes you or, seemingly more often, breaks you.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Paint by Numbers

So I'm on the plane to Vegas last week and having composed my xmas list by way of Sky Mall in 15 minutes I'd exhausted the stellar in-flight "entertainment" supplied by the airline.  BTW, when did peanuts become too expensive to include on 5 hour flights?  Just wondering.  Email me your answers.

Anyway.  I popped open the laptop which, it turns out, was too big to use easily in the confines of row 22C and a few hand cramps later came up with this:

I know, might be tough to see.  Hopefully it'll blow up nice for you.  What you see here is a map of the 100K course showing the different types of terrain you'll encounter during the event.

Red = Pavement
Dark Blue = Dirt/Gravel Road/Rail Trail
Light Blue = Unimproved Road/Jeep Road
Green = Singletrack
Purple = Run-Up!!

I'll tell you that while you're out there the course may not feel exactly like this and certainly the time you spend navigating a mile of singletrack or running up Wigwam will take longer than a mile of pavement, but this gives you a pretty good picture of how the course features break down.  Is it 100% exact to the meter?  No.  But after 9 years of working on this course, it is pretty dang close.


Monday, September 19, 2011

The National UltraCross Series!

This year marks the start of something we've tossed around for a few years.  The establishment of series of events that are like-minded to Iron Cross.

You know.  Just plain stupid.

And we have it.  Starting in 2011 the National Ultra Cross series was launched - mostly under the radar, but stay tuned.  Four events banded together under the impetus of one promoter guy (not me) who took the time to send an email.  Approximately 145 emails later we had something.  Not a lot just yet, but something.

But we also attracted the attention of some other promoters from around the place.  Guys in Michigan and Virginia and Connecticut took note and said something like, "Hey, that's pretty cool. What's up with next year?"

Mostly we don't have any idea.  Or we have a lot of ideas.  Or something in between.

Whatever it is, this is going to grow.  Why?  Because Ultra Cross is really what cycling is all about.  Perhaps even the name is misleading.  Yes, these are all long-distance pseudo-cross races - or at least that what the promoters claim, but really these are about the vary things that first attract and then keep almost everyone in this sport: adventure, exploration, beauty and love of riding. 

These aren't really about the result, though it is nice to go a little faster each year.  These are about taking a bike and doing something wild and fun and different.  These are about pushing yourself hard and ending up with an enduring memory of something unique.  For most, these are about taking some of the seriousness that creeps into or embodies "real" races and throwing that out the freakin' window. 

The National Ultra-Cross Series.  
Unless you live close to one of these it won't be coming to a town near you just yet, so get in the freakin' car and get your tail to one of these!!

2011 National Ultra Cross Series Races

June - Hilly-Billy Roubaix

Sept 25- Three Peaks USA - "America's Hardest"

Oct 9 - Iron Cross IX (yea, you're here.)

Feb 25 - Southern Cross - 2011 Series Finals! 

2012 National Ultra Cross Series

Feb - Southern Cross (yes, this is a point getter for both years!)
June - Hilly Billy Roubaix
Sept - Three Peaks USA
October - 13/14 - Iron Cross!  Series Finals 2012.

The other events in 2011 will be back in 2012 with the series finals at North America's Original Endurance 'Cross Race - right here at Iron Cross - but we may have a few other surprises/events in store for you too!  Like I said, stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Feel the Love - Mountain and 'Cross

Okay, this seems silly, but I've brought it on myself for sure. 

Let's get one thing straight -  

We love mountain bikes and 
Mountain Bikes are 
Welcome at Iron Cross!!

In the past couple days three people have asked me just that.  I'm sure it stems from my very tongue-in-cheek "mountain bikes are okay if you're weak and lame" post last year and from my 10+ year commitment to making IC what it is today.

Mountain bikes have never been banned from the event and we probably won't ever go that far even if dream of 1000 'cross bikes on the start line.

When we first rode the course it was laid out from the saddle of a 'cross bike.  The idea was (and is) that its supposed to be sorta stupid in sections on a 'cross bike but that the 'cross bike is the "right" way to experience the stupidity.  And of course, anything they can do in England we can do better.
Look, the 'cross bike wouldn't be anyone's first choice for some of these trails -- and maybe some of these trails wouldn't be anyone's first choice for riding for that matter.  That right there is the essence of Iron Cross.  The point is to be outlandish and nutball and fun in a, "that was one of the dumbest things I've done" way "and I'm better, smarter, faster and more gooder looking for riding it - and I'm sure as heck tougher than you are."

Using a mountain bike sort of takes away some of that quality of the event.  The mtb will make it smoother and reduce the likelihood of a flat and give you a little more confidence in the rough stuff - which are not bad things mind you.  It is just that the 'cross bike offers a different sort of experience that is a little more crazy and done right is a perfect tool for the job.  We don't want anyone to miss out on what it is that makes this thing Iron Cross.

Of course, maybe that craziness isn't what you're after and that's cool.  We know too that not everyone has an mtb.  And no, we don't think you should run out and buy a new bike for this one race.  We don't think that you're really truly lame for riding a mountain bike either (lame is what I am these days).   In fact, some of you should not do this on a 'cross bike if you're new-ish to cycling in general or haven't spent time getting to know your 'cross bike on some singletrack - which you very much must do.

Will I still make fun of you?  There might be some good natured ribbing and I'm not going to let you forget that this is Iron Cross, but in general if you have a sense of humor you'll come out relatively unscathed.   Mostly I'll limit the worst of it to guys and gals who are overall contenders and choose an mtb for a "competitive advantage" - which maybe translates to taking yourself too seriously, (but even they get a pass if they don't have a 'cross bike).
Lucky for Freeze Thaw/NoTubes V she had a 'cross bike.  Otherwise...
Maybe we're missing out.  Maybe I should get off the soap box.  Maybe we should just change this to a mountain bike race that is possible on a 'cross bike.  Eddy Merckx knows that there are a heck of a lot of cycling competitions that exist these days that bill themselves as mountain bike races that are a far cry from mountain biking.  Truth be told, Iron Cross is more technical than some of the most prolific "mountain bike" races and qualifiers going - don't get me started...

But, that wouldn't be our style now would it.  Maybe by learning to ride in central Pennsylvania my sense of technical and fun are just way way out of whack.  Maybe we're just ahead of our time. (A post on the growth of Endurance 'Cross Racing is coming - get yourself to Three Peaks and plan a trip to Southern Cross!)  Maybe I'm just dumb.  Probably I should take the 'maybe' out of that last one.

Here's the take home.  If you come out to Iron Cross on an mtb and even if you think that you would only ever ride an mtb here that's okay.  That's your prerogative and honestly we'd rather have you here than not because this whole event is just a freakin' blast and we have lots of love to spread around.

But if that is the case, just one time, grab a 'cross bike and experience Iron Cross the way we envisioned it originally because you deserve that experience as a cyclist.  In the meantime, bring out the mtb and join us for some good times.

You want that experience and don't have your own 'cross rig?  Find one of those guys with a couple pit bikes for the serious 'cross racing every other weekend of the year and ask to borrow one.

Just don't tell him what you're about to do with it. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

New Kicks

I'm pretty pumped up for this years Iron Cross Weekend, and like Mike said, I've been searching high and low for the best 50k layout for this years new updates!

If you've been with us throughout the life of the Iron Cross Race, you'll be noticing a LOT of changes for this year. It's hard to tell how to feel about all the changes that will take place, but both Mike and I feel like we are heading in the right direction. That being said, the focus always has and always will be on making a great long distance cyclocross event. We are the original race of this nature in the States (paying homage to the Three Peaks event in GB of course), and are at the front of the Ultra Cross Movement in the country. Anyone who has ever raced IC has had a part in this.

The feature races of the weekend will be the Mens, Womens, Masters, and Single Speed Categories in the 100k distance. Those are the only categories that will score you points in the UltraCX series(the new national long distance cyclocross series).

Something I'm sure everyone will wonder about, is whats the deal with the 50k race? The 50k race will be a very much similar loop to the 100k loop, maintaining a new (and very integral part of what Iron Cross is) run up. The 50k course deviates from the traditional course shortly after Checkpoint 1, descending off the ridge of a slightly rocky double-track. On the way back up the next ridge over, it approaches and conquers a miniature version of the dreaded Wigwam Run-up, complete with rocks and our signature powerline-vista views. After winding through the woods on double-track, there will be a short section of pavement across the top of the mountain to reconnect with the 100k course at the Ridege Road/Shippensburg Road intersection. I think anyone who tries it will like it, and it maintains a very similar layout and flow to the traditional course(minus some distance and extra climbing).
Also, we will be using the 50k course for an Ultra Run Saturday October 8th! I'm very excited about this. I like putting on running events, and we used to have a run as part of Iron Cross in the first couple years. It never took off running, (pun very obviously intended) but its time to try again.

Among other changes coming will be a new starting location (to showcase more of the parks heritage), video coverage on, an Iron Cross Training/Preview Camp, and newly designed Iron Cross kits from Castelli. All of the new updates and details will be updated and located on the website in the coming month.

Start dusting that cross bike off, and go get some dirt road base miles in!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Building 2011 - 100K, 50K and 50K trail run

Zach's been after it down in Michaux.  He's been riding around piecing together the 50K event based on my prototype course from early winter.  We think he's close and it looks like it'll allow us to use the same CP#1 and CP#4 as the long course.

Of course, the 50K is expressly for those of you who have been wanting to go after IC, but those short 'cross races the rest of the season get in the way a bit!  We know that many of you don't want to extend yourself for the 4-5 hrs that constitute the average finish time for the big daddy event.  So this option should have those of you who are race fit back in 2-2.5 hrs giving you a really great workout in the midst of cross season that is a perfect intensity and distance for what is often an non-rassin' weekend.

And yes, both courses will feature this:

So, 100K for those of you going for the gusto (and maybe the UltraCX series?) and 50K for those of you out for a hell of a workout and a big yummy bite of the long course.

And, 50K run coming too on that same 50K 'cross course.  The run will be a great mix of trails, dirt roads and some pavement and one heck of a challenge.  Stay tuned for more.

Pic from Dirt Rag's 2010 IC coverage, courtesy AELandes Photography!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Four Times the Fun!

It is just the place on the web right now, but we're working with some other like-minded folks and putting together a little sumthin' sumthin' for you lovers of long distance slightly whacked cyclocross racing:

Or, excuse me, UltraCross Racing!

As the site says, check back soon for more.  And start planning some trips!

Of course, this will help get you ready - - though I don't recommend a 'cross bike for this one!