But during the 35-plus race (started 1pm on Friday), conditions changed for the worse when the barometric pressure plummeted and the wind accelerated to a sustained 40 mph with 60 mph gusts. "The fencing all blew down," began Fries, "the course tape ripped apart, the signage winged around the venue, and 10x10 tents were cartwheeling everywhere. At one point, a pop-up tent lifted out of the pits and dropped squarely over the course! The 35-plus riders simply went through it."
"After buttoning down the venue as best we could Friday night, the core staff met in an RV in what I can only say was a war council. We had a 3,200 meter course under eight inches of snow, glazed with sleet. In some places, the course tape had disappeared. Signage was all over the place, expo tents were loose on their moorings, flooded and nearly uninhabitable."
"There was eight inches of snow covering a 3,200 meter-long by three meter wide course. That's 9,600 square meters of area that needed to be cleared. We had 80 outfits of clothing for volunteers provided by Voler and Adidas but we ran out Saturday morning when the volunteer base ballooned to 140; people who didn't ask for so much as a bowl of soup."
"At one point I literally broke down and started weeping," Fries said. "My 11-year-old son was came and told me, ‘Dad, it isn't so bad,' right as the wind was blowing the course tape off course and the expo tents apart. I had two earpieces in, and in one ear I had people telling me racers needed to see the race doctor, while in the other ear the doctor was telling me she was overwhelmed with people who needed attention. We had three heated RVs to treat racers, and they were overflowing. It was like Gettysburg out there."
Richard Fries, venue anouncer
For those racing on the first day (December 9 th ) it was a true test of the “ boast” that cyclo cross racers can handle any weather and any terrain. Snow, rain and then icy snow, combined with thunder, lightning and hurricane force winds to create white-out conditions that often made it impossible to see the course markers. However all but two of the day's scheduled races took place before the organizers gave way to the blizzard and sent everyone home. Course markers, banners, tents and other temporary equipment was blown down and strewn all over the Roger Williams Park. Some of it even ended up being blasted onto the nearby large and frozen lake.
These things happen, and being ‘cross, you better not complain about it.