With this coming weekend's race in Hermann, I contacted the organizer and proud father of Hermann Cross, Mr. Jeff Yielding, to see if he could answer some questions about the upcoming event.
CCPB: How and when did Hermann Cross first come to be?
JY: In 2008 the idea came from Josh Johnson from Columbia MO, he mentioned to me the idea of a night time race in the Hermann city park. One thing led to another and the race took off from there.
[Josh Johnson - a COMO native, is the current Missouri State Champion in cyclocross and races for BigShark out of St. Louis.]
CCPB: Can you tell us how the race has grown over the years?
JY: The first year was invitation only due to a scheduling conflict with the St Genevieve road race. So as not to take away riders from that race I invited 100 racers to an awesome time in the mud. At the time, this was the first night race in MO.
2009 was more a traditional race open to all. The concept of the night race remained, and live music and food were added. There were about 110 finishers that year. It was truly an awesome experience with everyone having a good time.
In 2010, I expanded the event to a full weekend - so racing both Saturday and Sunday. Things were going along really well to begin with. We had a huge turnout with really big fields, live music rocking from the stairs, awesome sponsors, and just lots going on. Then a huge storm hit as the last race of the night started. That race only lasted 3 laps before it was called due to the intense lightning. Then rain set in and it just kept raining, and raining and raining until eventually the park had a flash flood! It was definitely a low point for the event after such a high all day long. The park and equipment were ruined and all the races on Sunday were cancelled.
CCPB: Awesome - so what are the big changes for this year's race?
JY: 2011 should be our best year yet as we kick off the MO Cyclocross race season. There is just so much going on: Firstly, we have a brand new web site (hermanncx.com) As for the race, this year we are offering barrier primes, field primes, added categories for masters divisions, an announcer, live music, a leader's jersey awarded for each category, a professional photographer documenting the whole race, team championship awards, awesome prizes, food, free beer tasting and much more. And the weather looks to be awesome for the weekend. This is definitely an event, not just a race.
CCPB: Who are the outstanding men and women we should be keeping an eye out for in this year's race?
JY: Right now the highest ranked pre-registered women rider is Laura Scherff racing for Momentum Racing. A lot of the women racers tend to register on-site, however, so it's hard to say what that field will end up looking like.
JY: Bring what you have with no expectations and prepare to have fun. When your race is over sit back the rest of the night, cheer on the other racers and enjoy the event.
CCPB: For those that have never seen a cyclocross race, can you give them the top 8 reasons why they should come to Hermann to witness this in person?
#1. This could be the strongest field of Cross racers in one race MO has ever seen as we're going to be pulling riders from MO, KS, IA, IL and OK.
#2. The Stairs!
#4. Live music
#5. Food and beer
#6. Great volunteers
#7. Course design offers a bit of everything
#8. Hermann, baby! There could not be a better host city.
CCPB: Thanks Jeff!
The races start at 4:00 PM on Saturday with the Masters 30+ field and continue until the Men's 1/2/3 race kicks off at 9:00 PM that night. Sunday, the show starts at 10:00 AM and continues until the final race kicks off at 3:00 PM with the same order. Come on out and get dirty...