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LIGHTNING PHOTOS: Cyclocross racers circle Jackson Park

A rider pedals through the Jackson Park course during a warmup on Friday. The North Carolina Cyclocross series comes to Jackson Park on Saturday and Sunday. A rider pedals through the Jackson Park course during a warmup on Friday. The North Carolina Cyclocross series comes to Jackson Park on Saturday and Sunday.

Pro and amateur racers warmed up on a course at Jackson Park on Friday in preparation for the two-day North Carolina Cyclocross Series that will attract several hundred riders and pro support teams.


“It’s a big race and it’s a beautiful part of the country,” 63-year-old Steve Jackson said as he unloaded his bike and got ready to hit the course. Jackson drove up from Dawsonville, Ga., for the weekend event. He’ll race once on Saturday and once on Sunday. “It’s basically 30 minutes all out,” he said.
Riders pedal through the course in timed races. The rider who completes the most laps wins.
Hendersonville is the birthplace of the North Carolina Cyclo-Cross Series, which started in 1997. The series came about as a result of the Diamond Brand Series, a local series held in Hendersonville from 1995 to 1997. The Jackson Park stop is the 11th race in the North Carolina Cyclocross season, which ends in January at Tanglewood.
Tim Hopkin, the Henderson County Parks and Recreation director and a founder of the cyclocross series in North Carolina, is a top rider in what he calls “the fast old men category.” Fifty-four riders were registered in that category as of Friday afternoon.
Forty-five men are signed up for the men’s Pro Elite races and 23 pro women will be racing.
Jim Wannamaker was putting a finishing coat of paint on an 8-foot high flyover with steep ramps on either side. Riders also have to dismount to carry their bikes over a series of barriers, pedal up a steep slope and negotiate slalom corners. Wannamaker, of Peachtree City, Ga., travels to 35-40 cycling events a year, peddling products for six different bicycle parts makers and building these flyover ramps.
At the Maxxis Shimano racing team tent, chief mechanic Chris Kreidl was checking out one of the team racer’s bicycles before stowing it for the night.
“It’s not much different from other forms of racing,” he said. “It’s a lot more equipment-intensive. You need a lot more wheels because you have different treads for different course conditions.” He was relieved that he won’t have to change out bikes as often this weekend.
“From what I understand it’s going to be dry,” Kreidl said. “Short of a tire puncture or a crash it should be a pretty easy day.”
Races go on all day Saturday and Sunday. The women’s Pro Elite, a 45-minute timed race, starts at 1:30 p.m. The male pro riders push off at 3:30 p.m, for a 60-minute race. Admission is free for spectators.