Cycling is a beautiful sport so it should be presented in deserving locations. And, no matter whether you race or ride, what better place to bike than in upstate New York and the incredibly scenic yet sometimes painfully challenging roads of the Adirondacks. Now, just imagine if you could take that picture perfect backdrop and stage a multi-day cycling production right on top of it.
That is what Centurion Cycling is proposing to do the weekend of June 22-24 for Centurion New York (Lake George). Comprised of events to excite racers and serious weekend warriors, cyclists can choose to ride the full weekend or pick just one event day. The cycling begins with a Friday evening Hill Climb up Prospect Mountain Highway. The individual interval start event is open to all who want to test their strength and their will in a 5.5 mile, 1,457 foot climb. The evening’s second event is the U.S. Vertical Challenge, using the same Hill Climb course yet top amateurs are pitted against each other in a head-to-head race up the mountain for the $2,000 prize purse. There’s a 50 person limit for the Challenge and the race begins at 7:30 p.m.
On Saturday, the morning’s activities are a bit more laid back with the Centurion 25 mile ride to Lake Luzerne and back, followed by a kid’s ride in case you plan to bring the family. Intended as more of a casual ride, a coordinated start with pace corrals is still in play though so cyclists can use the event as a warm up for what’s to come on Sunday. The start and finish for the C25 is Beach Road in downtown Lake George.
The crescendo to the weekend is Sunday’s marquee events – the Centurion 50 mile and Centurion 100 mile events. After a coordinated start on Beach Road and a full road procession up to Bolton Landing, cyclists will make their way through the Adirondack courses and the heart of many of Warren County’s small towns.
The C50 course has a max elevation of 1,273 feet and total gain of 3,283 feet, while the C100 course has a max elevation of 1,674 feet and a total gain of 7,624 feet thanks to the added challenge of facing Graphite and Tongue Mountains, plus the King of the Mountain competition at Gore Mountain.
“What Centurion Cycling is about is having the Tour de France-type experience,” said CEO Graham Fraser, the former head of Ironman North America and one of the most respected sporting event organizers in the business. “People need an epic challenge, something that they train for and feel fulfilled once they accomplish it. And, they want a big production so when they get there they know it is going to be something special.”
Fraser knows a little something about product delivery. Over that last 25 years, Fraser and his group started the Subaru Triathlon Series, built Subaru Ironman Canada and pioneered the growth of Ironman races throughout North America, including bringing Ironman to Lake Placid. Now, Fraser’s sole focus is on developing a new brand of high quality cycling events.
After two increasingly successful years of Centurion Canada, held just north of Toronto, the realization of Fraser’s vision has created quite a sensation among cyclists across Ontario. Believing that a similar hunger exists in the States for the type of cycling events he’s created in Canada, not unlike triathlon 15 years ago, Fraser’s Centurion Cycling is now a four-event series that begins with Centurion New York
And, at all Centurion events the standard of production includes:
- Traffic control by law enforcement giving cyclists the right-of-way and traffic privileges throughout each course
- Coordinated start with pace corrals so cyclists can position themselves accordingly
- Scenic and challenging courses professionally designed on roads made for cycling
- Chip timing from start to finish
- Full technical and medical support on the course and at the venue
- Feed zones along the course stocked with fluids and nutrition, and staffed by volunteers
- Finish line festival complete with music playing, spectators cheering and an announcer calling out the name of each cyclist crossing the finish line
- Full expo introducing participants to the latest in bikes and cycling gear
Fraser knows that while he is eager to grow the brand in the Northeast, it can be tough to win over the skeptics the first year—seasoned racers, cycling clubs, and teams who have been witnessing the rise of fancy-label century rides and supposed gran fondos, and the cycling associations who are bound by a set of rules.
With the freedom and also the experience of having successfully staged world class events across the continent, including bringing Ironman to Lake Placid, Fraser knows that by delivering a great event things will take care of themselves. After all, the most important part – the Adirondack courses – aren’t going anywhere.
“I always tell people the best cycling I’ve ever done in the United States is in the Adirondacks,” said Fraser, adding “And now we’re creating an event environment where cyclists are truly able to race on these incredible roads. It’s an awesome mix that will make you want to come back again and again.”
One of Canada’s top amateurs is already planning to make the trek to Lake George. Bruce Bird is the 2011 Canadian National Time Trial Champion (Masters B), and with his 10 cycling race wins in 2011 plus a recent win in the Tour of Battenkill Pro/Cat 1 80 mile race, is looking forward to testing himself again the best in this region.
“If you’re like me, you love to ride, have had some success and you light up with the prospect of testing yourself again the best riders under the most challenging of circumstances,” said Bird. “I would tell you to try it one time and you’ll want more. Centurion Cycling is the gold standard of event organization and, believe me, your calendar will end up highlighted with Centurion events.”
The 2012 Centurion Cycling Series: Centurion New York (Lake George) June 22-24: Centurion Ontario (Horseshoe Valley) July 14-15; Centurion Ellicottville (New York) August 17-19; and Centurion Canada (The Blue Mountains) September 14-16.