NoTubes Iron Cross - North AmericaÂs Longest ÂCross Race
Iron Cross Celebrates 9th Year with New Start, 50K Option and National UltraCross Championship Series and more!
The Michaux State Forest in south central Pennsylania plays host for the ninth straight year to the original, ÂWhat the heck do I ride in this thing?Â race, NoTubes Iron Cross on October 9, 2011. Â The Longest ÂCross Race in North America; its unique mix of dirt, gravel and paved roads interspersed with bits of technical singletrack and a Âyou gotta be kidding meÂ run-up or two has made Iron Cross a cult favorite and the instigator of an ever increasing number of similar events.
Iron Cross comes into year nine with a few tweaks and changes in store for riders to ensure the continued success and growth of this classic event. Â The addition of a 50K option to the traditional 100K loop offers a chance for those looking to test out this style of racing without the commitment 60 miles of Michaux and 6000+ feet of gain requires. Â The shorter course, designed to keep the speed up while mimicking the features of the long race, is also a great choice for traditional Âcross racers who may be concerned about the impact of a four+ hour effort in the midst of Âcross season. Â Promoter Mike Kuhn offered, ÂWe anticipate the first finishers to cross the 50K line in under two hours without much trouble and that makes it perfect for anyone making traditional Âcross the focus. Â It is a fun hard ride on weekend between MAC events and youÂre out there in a beautiful fall setting with a few hundred other people who just love riding bikes. Â Plus, like the 100K, it benefits the local YMCAÂs program to get kids out on bikes. Â ItÂs perfect.Â Â
Pine Grove Furnace State Park now serves as the start/finish for Iron Cross. Â The overall course length and features do not change rather there is a tweak - the end of the old course now serves as the start of the race. Â This also creates a prologue loop bringing the riders back by the venue a few miles into the ride. Â
Said Kuhn of the new additions, ÂWeÂre definitely excited about these changes. Â The new paved miles early on lend themselves to Âcross bikes and the prologue loop is great for spectators. Â Working with Pine Grove Furnace State Park has been wonderful. Â Adding neutral support from SRAM will help everyone get through in one piece and help to keep the race more competitive. Â Bringing in CyclingDirt.com for race coverage will be great for next Monday morning in the cubicle! Â What weÂve done sets NoTubes Iron Cross up for a great future and weÂre really looking forward to joining with our partners NoTubes, WTB, World Cup Ski and Cycle and Hammer Nutrition to welcome everyone back to Michaux on October 9!Â
What do I ride? Â The never ending dilemma of Iron Cross!
Originally designed to be experienced from the seat of a Âcross bike and in a way that made a Âcross bike the best choice for the day, changes in bike technology continue to blur the lines when it comes time to choose the ÂrightÂ bike for Iron Cross.
Miles and miles of roads make up the vast majority of the IC course and thousands of feet of elevation gain via those roads coupled with the Wigwam Run-Up seemingly sways the choice of bike toward the narrow tires, lighter weight and aerodynamic advantages of the Âcross rig. Â However, a mountain bike with flat bars, slightly wider tires and even a little suspension helps to eat up the technical Lippencote descent and offers an advantage in the last quarter of the course when the dayÂs fatigue begins to set it. Â This results in more than a few unique to IC set ups like Âcross bikes with the widest possible tires stuffed in the frames, 29ers running Âcross tires and inboard mounted bar ends and other more Âfranken-bikeÂ set ups designed with conquering ICÂs unique mix of challenges in mind. Â With the coming advancements in disc brakes for Âcross bikes and tubeless Âcross wheelsets like those from NoTubes gaining traction in the marketplace and which are ideally suited for UltraCross racing it may only get harder to choose the best weapon!
National UltraCross Series
Though itself based on the idea of the grand daddy of all endurance Âcross race, EnglandÂs Three Peaks, Iron Cross has been the source of inspiration for other promoters who love the notion that there is a whole other world of possibilities for Âcross bikes than the short fall weekend events and that Âcross bikes are ideal for adventures. Â These promoters got to chatting in the spring of 2011 and quietly introduced the inaugural National UltraCross Series with stops in WV, NC, PA and GA - UltraCX.com. Â NoTubes Iron Cross marks the third stop in the 2011-12 series and beginning in 2012 will assume the role of the UltraCX series finals. Â GeorgiaÂs Southern Cross next February wraps up the 2011-2012 UltraCX series and kicks off 2012 with a dual points event.
Competitors top out on the Wigwam Run-Up, a hallmark of Iron Cross (photo Don Pagano)
The top of the 3rd step of the three running sections on Wigwam (photo Don Pagano)
Early on in
Iron Cross, Bendersville Road is often the site of the first probing
attacks and a stretching of the field.
Those left behind still get to enjoy 100K of incredible fall foliage in early OctoberÂs south central Pennsylvania. Â (photo Don Pagano)
Yay for beer! Â And thanks Big Larry! (photo courtesy Dirt Rag Magazine)
Iron Cross racers encounter miles of beautifully maintained gravel roads during this classic event. (photo: Don Pagano)
IC features the largest Âcross mass start and death spiral anywhere! (photo Don Pagano)
They get a little of this too...Freeze Thaw Cycles/NoTubes.comÂs 2011 Iron Cross champ Vicki Barclay on the late race IC run-up (photo: Abram Landes/AELandesphotography.com)
The deep woods of Michaux offer a beautiful way to enjoy the changing of the leaves that marks the annual Iron Cross race. (photo Abram Landes/AELandesPhotograpy.com)
Updated on May 21, 2013, 1:39pm