Cyclocross has been growing exponentially in the US for the last few years, that’s old news. An interesting byproduct of this growth, however, is the increase in recognition the sport now enjoys by the general public, as well as new and interesting corporate sponsors. Enter the 3rd Annual EMS Nor’Easter, featuring the Nor’Easter ‘Cross race, presented by SmartWool. Once again New England rock climbing and music festival impresario, Pete Ward, of NE2C productions, has teamed up with Adam Myerson and Cycle-Smart to put on a multi-sport, music festival extravaganza, this time around in beautiful Waterfront Park in downtown Burlington, VT, right on the shores of Lake Champlain.
The event takes place the weekend of September 23rd-25th, and there will be world-class music from several different genres, on several stages throughout the weekend. The interesting part for cyclists will be the UCI C2 event, featuring amateur and master’s categories, too, that will take place on Saturday the 24th. If that isn’t enough, the Nor’Easter features as a stop on the UBC (Unified Bouldering Championships) ProTour, which means you will have the opportunity to watch some of the best rock climbers in the world compete on a spectacular outdoor wall, purpose built for the occasion.
The most effective way to communicate the awesomeness factor of the concept and history of this event is probably to quote myself, from the extensive interviews with Myerson and Ward we published here on Embrocation last fall.
Click those links. Do it.
Racers who attended last year’s race (won by Justin Lindine) had nothing but glowing things to say about the management of the event, and last year’s course at Loon Mountain in New Hampshire. The venue this year is even better, and is, in the words of promoter, course designer and cyclocross guru Adam Myerson, “made by God for a cyclocross race.” The park offers grass, sand, pavement, elevation changes, and a spectacular backdrop on the shore of Lake Champlain with the Adirondack Mountains looming on the western horizon. This course will be legendary, and you do not want to miss it.
Apart from the race, expect climbing walls for kids, bike demos, an expo area, and possible zip lines, among other things. Honestly, with the creative minds at NE2C at work on it, nothing would surprise me.
On the music side of things, expect a little bit of the best of everything. Nor’Easter alumni include mega acts like State Radio, !!!(chk chk chk), and a host of others, and this year the bar is set—if possible—even higher. For the electronica lovers there is RJD2, and for the more rootsy set, there is G-Love, formerly off G-Love & Special Sauce fame, who has reinvented himself as a legit bluesman in the latter part of his career. Those are only two of the many acts who will be on stage all weekend, so check out the complete listing, and you’ll be sure to find something you like.
The “get it” here is pretty simple: events like this have the power to legitimize cyclocross as a sport—for competitors, spectators, and sponsors alike—in the mind of the American public. We should support this kind of growth and exposure for our sport in any way that we can.
And not for nothing, it will be a hell of a lot of fun, too. Woot!