Women’s Cycling Grand Prix returns to Woodstock May 4 and 5


At last year’s Grand Prix. (Photo by Dion Ogust)

The Women’s Woodstock Cycling Grand Prix (WWCGP) returns to the area on Friday, May 4, and Saturday, May 5, bringing the sixth edition of the world-class women’s-only bicycle road race to Woodstock, Shandaken, Hurley and Saugerties. Several activities will take place at or near the Woodstock Community Center, including the start and finish of the race, a barbecue with live music, and an awards ceremony.

The WWCGP is a USA Cycling-sanctioned race designed for and with Pro, Elite, and first-time athletes all in mind. Racers come from all over the Northeast corridor as well as from Quebec and Ontario. This destination event has substantially increased in popularity because of the rarity of the popular out-and-back format in North America. WWCGP’s unique women-only race highlights the sportsmanship and athleticism of females, which are very often overlooked in the male-dominated sport of competitive cycling. 

On Friday, May 4, Phoenicia will host a 6.2-mile individual time trial on a flat road course, with the first racer starting at 3:30 p.m. The course is located along the Old Plank Road, freshly paved with the bicycle race in mind, and will parallel the picturesque Esopus Creek. The 62-mile and 33-mile road races begin at 8 a.m. on Rock City Road in Woodstock and end at the same location. Routes include the challenging Meads Mountain Road, which scales Overlook Mountain for two miles at an average seven percent grade. Pro 1/2/3 riders get the added bonus of traversing the notorious Ohayo Mountain, named “Seven Sisters” for the seven steep and tight turns, plus a ride through Phoenicia.


“Over the five-year history of the WWCGP, our world-class participants have gone on to win medals at the Olympics, National Championships, and World Championships,” said race director Martin Bruhn. “We are honored to have such elite as well as recreational athletes committed to our event, as they continue to utilize the WWCGP as a highly competitive, season-opening, personal fitness test platform after a long winter.”

“As a race, the WWCGP is top-notch”, said Rebecca Fahringer, an elite racer. “The roads are great, the promoting team is motivated, and there is plenty of support. It’s a top-level event, and what makes it even more special, is it’s women-only. Normally I enjoy inclusion of everyone, but the WWCGP isn’t about being feminine; it’s about celebrating strong female athletes and giving them a fair day.”

Signs posted along the roads remind drivers to be alert for cyclists on the weekend. The WWCGP message of promoting cycling includes recreational bicycling and bicycle safety. With this in mind, WWCGP strongly advocates a “three-foot passing” law in New York State through its “Share the Road” campaign. 

The event will conclude after all racers finish at approximately 11:30 a.m. Saturday, May 5, with an awards ceremony and community barbecue at the Woodstock Community Center on Rock City Road. There will also be a dedication ceremony for several important and committed advocates of the sport and more specifically the WWCGP: Ellen Watters, Susie Diller, Jason Lowndes, and the late Woodstock town supervisor Jeremy Wilber.