The signs for this year’s Women’s Woodstock Cycling Grand Prix (WWCGP) started going up last weekend, even before organizer Martin Ernst Bruhn and a crew took their recon ride around the professionals’ 62.4 mile course Saturday, April 29. That’s because Bruhn, a former Canadian Olympic cyclist, wants to make sure everyone in the communities of central Woodstock, Bearsville, Yerry Hill, Wittenberg, Mt. Tremper, Phoenicia, Willow, Lake Hill, Cooper Lake, Shady, Meads Mountain, Zena, High Woods, Mount Marion, Blue Mountain and West Saugerties to know what’s coming. And not be surprised.
“We’re looking to highlight that residents and visitors may be mildly inconvenienced by stoppages at certain intersections,” Bruhn noted of the signage, and full course information on his race’s website.
There will also be a shorter, 34 mile course for first time and “Cat 4” racers as well, sticking to Woodstock, Saugerties and the Town of Kingston.
Bruhn started the grand prix in 2012 as a means of both highlighting the need for equal attention for female bicycle racers in the male dominated sport of competitive cycling, demonstrating parity by allowing a variety of categories for the athletes instead of the two or three women usually get lumped into, while also highlighting the bicycle through a community-inspired and run race in a town that’s long been friendly to the vehicle and its sporting side.
“Traveling through Woodstock, Saugerties, and Phoenicia, there is no beating the location of this bicycle race. As you ascend and descend Catskill mountains, one can try to take in the scenery — just watch your speed!,” Bruhn’s intro to the WWCGP notes. “The course begins and ends in historical Woodstock, N.Y. rich in culture and musical history which has given birth to a beautiful and bustling town of art galleries, shops and eateries.”
Things kick off for grand prix racers Friday night with a pasta dinner at the Woodstock Fire Department on Tinker Street that’s open to the general public. The event begins at 6 p.m.
On the day of the grand prix itself, things start at approximately 8 a.m. on Rock City Road. Eventually, all racers have to scale Meads Mountain, with the “Pro 1/2/3 riders” getting “the added bonus of traversing the infamous Ohayo Mountain, Seven Sisters, named for seven steep and tight turns, and a visit through the lovely town of Phoenicia.” An awards ceremony and community BBQ will take place at the Woodstock Community Center, after all the races end, at approximately 11 a.m.
According to Bruhn, the 2017 WWCGP is dedicated to the memory of Ellen Watters, a past race winner “whose spirit continues to inspire women of all ages in the sport of cycling,” and to Susie Diller and Jeremy Wilber, without whose support and encouragement he says the event could never have been possible.
Those still looking to ride this Saturday, and fit the profile for racers, can still sign up at https://www.bikereg.com/wwcgp.
For those simply looking out for cyclists, and a bit of morning fun on Saturday, be out there between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. And keep checking back online at www.womenswoodstockcycling.com for any changes, including directions and final start and progress times on the day itself.