The transformation of Roger Williams Park from bucolic urban enclave to cyclocross gladiatoral arena is complete. The Fourth Annual Providence cyclo-cross Festival has taken over WBRU at Brown University, been brought to local school children and graced the airwaves of the Rhode Show on Fox affiliate WPRI.
And the message being shouted from the rooftops-Providence is Divine!
Saturday’s Providence International will be broadcast live at www.cyclingdirt.com, and hosted by Colt McElwaine and veteran race announcer Larry Longo. The International is set to take place under sunny skies and will see Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) attempt to continue his early season winning streak. Powers and Ryan Trebon (Cannondale/CyclocrossWorld.com) are tied for the lead of the New England Professional cyclocross series after each taking a win at the Gloucester Gran Prix. Long time rival Tim Johnson (Cannondale/CyclocrossWorld.com) is currently third in the standings. Though not graced with the home field advantage, European strongmen Ian Field (Hargroves Cycles), Joachim Parbo (KCH Leopard) and Nicolas Bazin (BigMat-Auber) are looking to grab the valuable UCI (International Cycling Union) points which determine starting line placement at World Cup events.
The women’s field is motivated by the late breaking news that G-Form, a Providence manufacturer of protective clothing, will be making up the difference in payout for the top three women. Helen Wyman (Kona) has been undefeated in her U.S. campaign and leads the New England Professional cyclocross series after sweeping both days one week earlier at the Gran Prix of Gloucester.. But with the prize money and the points on the line, her challengers will be looking to take advantage of any flaw and break her streak. The list of possible candidates is long and includes Gabby Day (Rapha-Focus), Olympic mountain biker Lea Davison (Specialized), Julie Krasniak (Rapha-Focus) and the respective winners of last year’s events Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom) and Mary McConneloug (Kenda-Seven).
Sunday will see the course re-designed and the possibility of a wet, cold, muddy picture perfect cyclo-cross race.
And if during the weekend hunger or thirst strike, the infield is the place to be. Harpoon returns as host of the beer tent, which opens at 11am both days and will be serving up seasonal brews. Local culinary artisans are on hand with a flotilla of food trucks offering Mijos Tacos, La Strada Wood Fired Pizza, Preppy Pig BBQ and Bad Kat Kupkakes’ liquor infused treats. The bouncy castle is inflated and the Kim Fries Memorial Kids Cross Race takes place at 2pm on Sunday.