The Paper City’s cyclocross race with river and mountain views.
Hydra Cross p/b Open Square is a fantastic early season cyclocross race in Holyoke, MA. It features cyclocross clinics, kids races, and men’s and women’s races for all levels and abilities.
When: Sunday, September 3, 2023
Location: Pulaski Park, St. Koble Drive and Maple St, Holyoke, MA 01040
New to bike racing?: Hydra Cross is a great event to try out bike racing or cyclocross for the first time. There is a free intro to cyclocross racing clinic at 9 am on race day that is taught by local, friendly bike racers. Learn the basics to help you enjoy your race. Beginner races following shortly after — novice men should sign up for the 10am category 5 beginner race and novice women should sign up for the 11am women’s category 4 and 5 race. Just a note on lingo, brand-new racers and novices start as ‘category 5’ racers. Since we are a USA Cycling sanctioned race, you will need a license but can purchase one when you register on BikeReg for $10. If you have any questions about the clinic or racing, please just shoot us an email and we’ll respond with what you need.
Course Description: A fun, fast, twisty course that is primarily flat but has some surprising uphill kickers. After a slightly uphill, wide start from the “Legion Shelf,” the course heads towards Holyoke’s “Muscle Beach” and the hilly southern end of the park. The course design takes full advantage of the elevation to make riders work–but then also brings rewards with a swooping downhill that cuts back and forth across the hill. We have some stinging off-camber sections that will require your skills, with the most challenging and decisive sector coming at the end of the course (see Youtube video below for a preview). The course runs the full length of the long, linear park with ample opportunities for spectating, with continuous announcing throughout the race by the voice of Hydra Cross, Adam Syzmkowickz. Mountain and river views abound.
Equipment Recommendation: File treads (if dry) and all-around tires will work well for most riders. The course is a mix of grass, dirt, and some pavement. New to cyclocross? Mountain bikes, in any shape, work fine for getting started racing. Road or touring bikes that allow for 32mm tires also work fine.
Race Atmosphere: Come for the race, stay for the atmosphere. Our beer garden and picnic area is family-friendly. There is a playground, splash pad, and popular skate park as well. Our race is known for its good vibes and community-driven feel.
Volunteers Needed: In order to bring this race to you again this year, we can’t do it without volunteers. Seriously, we can’t do it without you, and we appreciate you believing in the value, community, and camaraderie that this grassroots race brings to Holyoke and NECX.
Please sign up to volunteer where you can. Our highest-need areas are in course setup and in tear down as this is a stake and tape heavy course.
We pride ourselves on taking great care of our volunteers. Friday course setup volunteers will be provided with lunch. All setup, reg, and course maintenance volunteers will receive a free (refunded) race entry AND invite to the volunteers-only after-party (including a free beer ticket) hosted right on-site at our incredible hosts, the American Legion, at 5:30pm or as soon as the course tear-down is complete.
We need folks to stick around and help us tear down the course immediately after the last race–if you stay to tear down the course, dinner from Pizza d’Action (Holyoke’s best, with ample vegan and vegetarian pizzas) will be provided for you on-site while the last race is in progress so that you can stay and help with a full stomach. Volunteers who work registration or course repair jobs during race day will also be provided with lunch.