Cross the Bay is back in a big, big way. 

This Sunday, the Cross the Bay Cyclocross Series hits Traverse City for the first of two stops. After two outstanding events in East Jordan and Petoskey, Northern Michigan’s CX scene heads to the world famous bike town just a few weeks removed from the Iceman Cometh. With the weather as unpredictable as ever, Civic Center Cross is looking to be a classic race with a lot of big guns making the trip.

Widely considered the truest ‘cross course on the circuit, Sunday’s races will be held at the Civic Center, right in the middle of town and just a few blocks from Carter’s Compost HQ. The local compost tycoon put on a practice event to test out the course and conditions this past weekend, drawing some of the big names of the sport. Many of the Einstein Racing big guns showed up, with John Leach, Jason Lowetz and Ty Schmidt all reconning the terrain ahead of a big race weekend. Hagety’s Scott Howard made his first CX appearance at the test event, and taking home an impressive win for the Hagerati.

Einstein Racing will enter Sunday was the favorites in nearly every event. With John Ammond in the Cs, Ryan Bolin and John Leach in the Bs, and Team Schmitty, Jason Lowetz, Tim Bottrell and Jason Whittaker in the As already confirmed, they’ll be tough to beat. NCCS, the other sponsor, will bring a massive squad south, including John Cowan, Chad Wells, Todd Friedinger, Ross Gibbs and Trevor Kingsbury in the As and Bs, and enough Juniors to sweep the podium, including the impressive Haley Fogo.

Kim Chapman of Algoma Bicycles has swept the Women’s A races thus far, though she’ll face a formidable increase in competition Sunday. Einstein will put Johanna Schmidt alongside Chelsea Strate in the As, while Hagerty is almost sure to field one or two tough riders, in addition to some surprise starters with four days left to sign up.

The Men’s B was the most exciting race at Northmen Cross, and there’s even more firepower making the start this week. Paul DeBeer battled with John Leach and Ryan Bolin before Bolin faded late. with Chris Kushman and Jason Whittaker running out of time to make their moves. Leach is looking for the B win to make the jump to CAT 2, though DeBeer is almost sure to return to the fray. Leach will have some help. including Mickey “2017” Humpula in his first event of the year.  DeBeer will be tough to beat, and his team has shown impressive depth in spite of small numbers and a very long drive. Algoma has been an absolute pleasure to have at Cross the Bay so far, and the Canadians have had no problem helping themselves to a few wins each stop.

You can sign up to battle the best in the Mitten right here.  If you don’t have a team, register as kolotc.com and get a soda after your race! (I know what you’re thinking, how does kolo have the budget for this stuff?)