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A slew of cyclocross to kick off the season.  Here’s how to get involved and make a difference. 

September has become a bit of an unofficial month of cyclocross. Riders around the state are eagerly preparing to kick it off, and there’s no place better to do it than Michigan. The Ithaca Gran Prix of Cyclocross is once again the first event, and one done right.

September 7 is the start of it all as racers return to Ithaca. With one of the most stacked fields of the season tight off the bat, it serves as a place to send a signal and announce one’s place in the race. The early start ensures the promise of a wide range of weather, with Ithaca just as likely to be over ninety degrees as it could be fifty. It’s a wonderful venue and one of the most professionally done cyclocross races around. For riders looking to move up the ranks, early races like Ithaca are a massive opportunity. Keep your eyes on the men’s elite race, which already boasts Sven Bauman, Tom Burke, Brad White, Chad Wells and Adam York, just to name a few.

It’s a short break until KissCross kicks off, less than 24 hours, in fact. A load of riders will be making the relatively short drive to Grand Rapids for a day at Highland Park. It’s a non-USAC race, but a great chance to open up the legs and learn from the mistakes of Saturday. Few races are as fun, as competitive, and as likely to offer great swag giveaways.

It’s just a few more days until the Battle at the Burg Cross race. Last year, the first edition of the race drew a huge field, though the water crossing opened a few eyes and wet down a few shoes. It’ll be another battle under the lights in 2013 at one of the best venues in Michigan. Expect a big field, fast riders, and a full cast of Grand Rapids firepower on the line to tune-up before the mountain bike race in the morning.

Tailwinds gets cyclocross going on the East Side on September 21-22 at the Waterford Hills weekend of cyclocross. They’ll use Ithaca as the first race of the series, but you’ll find the Detroit racers in full force for two days of ‘cross at Waterford. The two-day format certainly has its appeal for both organizers and racers, especially for shorter races and events. It certainly gives racers more bang for their buck, and promoters can get more out of their course and efforts.

Northern Michigan brings cyclocross back to home on September 29, closing out a big month. Breezeway Cross in Easy Jordan brought out a full spectrum of racers, from top mountain bike talent to cyclocross-specific talent like John Leach and Ryan Bolin from Einstein Racing. North Country Cycle Sport puts on Breezeway Cross and October 13th’s Northmen Cross in Petoskey, though they also take winning the races rather seriously as well. They field “Gentleman” John Cowan and Chad Wells in the A Race, with the young duo of Trever Kingsbury and Ross Gibbs to challenge in the B race…at least for now.