10 Reasons You Should Race Nittany
You should come race Nittany Lion Cross. The registration numbers are pretty low so far. In years past, the Men’s 4/5 field was close to sold-out a few days after registration opened, and as of this writing we’re holding at just 44 entries. And there’s room for 135! So, Northeast and mid-Atlantic pals, make this the first big weekend of your cyclocross season, especially if you’ve never raced cross before.
Nittany is a Roadie-Friendly™ course. Some might call it a grass crit (and tbh, sign me up for every safe-crashing crit that exists), but you should know that this is a course that’s pretty darn forgiving to newbies while still being challenging when you’re going fast. No big drop-ins, no rocks – the biggest technical challenges are a few slippy roots, and a typically dusty downhill u-turn...but nothing crazy.
Even if you’re close to burn-out from a long road season, you can fit in this one final weekend before falling apart. I promise it’ll be fun. Come see me if you’re not having fun, and I’ll help.
It’s probably going to still be warm. Warm enough that an ice-cold post-race beer will satisfy your deepest cravings. Warm enough that, if it rains, you’re still gonna be stoked. Warm enough that it’s actually hot!
Premium hangs. There’s a grassy knoll that gives good vistas to various important parts of the course, and is shaded by a big, old tree. There’s a rock there that kids usually climb on while they cheer on their parents. Grab a beer from the onsite beer people, and enjoy a Cyclocross Afternoon. Make some new friends, see some old ones for the first time this season. Bask, etc.
Cali Burrito. Some people say it’s overhyped, but these people are joyless critics who wouldn’t know fun if it was staring them in the face. Go with your friends on Sunday on the way out of town. BYOB. There are tofu and seitan options, but don’t let that tempeh your excitem ...nevermind. Save the planet!
A go-fast checkup on how you’re riding (and turning). If you’re a Serious Cross Person, or want to be when you grow up, Nittany is a great place and time to tune-up your skills before the season gets started in earnest. Long bumpy pedals, slow turns, fast turns, off-cambers, stairs, high barriers, mud. Everything still working as expected?
It’s kinda close to NYC. Super close to Philly. Either way, it’s close enough to major population centers that it’s possible for a lot of you readers to make it a day trip.
Trexlertown Velodrome & The Bob Rodale Cycling center. If you’ve not been to T-town to see the track racing (which is apparently very good), you can go see a real-live pro-level track. Just don’t take your muddy cross tires and pokey cross shoes on it. Across the street is a high-quality, bikes-only warmup loop. Take advantage.
What else are you going to be doing that weekend? If you’re not doing Nittany, I’m guessing you’re probably going to the NY State Championships. And if you are, you better win. And if you do, you better get a custom jersey made.
Because of the good weather, the relative proximity to large concentrations of cross people, and the docile course, it’s a really, really good place for a first cyclocross race. The benefits for new racers are obvious, but they compound when more experienced racers come out. When the pro fields are packed, the afternoon is more fun, and us amateurs get to see how it’s supposed to be done. It’s inspiring.