5 Questions with GO Cross Race Director Frank Deal

GO Cross Race Director Frank Deal has been riding bikes for more than 25 years, and he’s one of the cogs that makes the Roanoke Region’s international cyclocross event run.

Virginia’s Blue Ridge GO Cross with Deschutes Brewery is Aug. 31-Sept. 1 at Fallon Park in Roanoke. Registration is open. 

The event features races for men, women, and juniors with a $10,000 purse. GO Cross kicks off the UCI international cyclocross and USA Cycling’s ProCX calendars in North America. Professional cyclists from all over the U.S. will race for the cash purse and valuable UCI points.

The cyclocross race will also host a beer relay running race, spectator shenanigans, live music, a Deschutes Brewery beer garden, food trucks, and more. In addition to the pro events, there will be amateur races all day.

Deal (pictured on the bike above) moved to the region in 2005 and is an IT specialist for Roanoke County Public Schools. While riding and helping to organize Virginia’s Blue Ridge GO Cross with Deschutes Brewery are important, spending time with his family is his top priority, “The Roanoke Region is a great place to live, work, play and raise a family!”

5 questions with Virginia’s Blue Ridge GO Cross with Deschutes Brewery Race Director Frank Deal

1. How did you get involved in cyclocross?

I started focusing on cyclocross in the fall of 2013 after dabbling in a couple of races. After several years of road and mountain bike racing, I found cyclocross to be the perfect blend!

2. What makes GO Cross special?

It’s definitely special! Virginia’s Blue Ridge GO Cross with Deschutes Brewery kicks off the cyclocross season in North America and is the only UCI/USAC ProCX race in Virginia. The race began as part of GO Fest in 2013.

In 2016, we kept the “GO” and moved to September to better align with the regional race calendar; 2018 was our first year as an international level race (UCI C2). The atmosphere is amazing and welcoming. We’ll have many of the top-ranked professional cyclocross racers in the world and hundreds of amateurs racing throughout the day at Fallon Park, it’s a great spectator sport!

3. How can non-riders get involved?

Come hang out and have a great time! The cyclocross course at Fallon Park is great for spectating. The course is mostly grass, but there are obstacles such as stairs, barriers and a sandpit that racers must ride or run; you’ll be amazed how fast the pros will go! We’ll have food trucks, the Blue Cow Ice Cream truck, and a Deschutes Brewery beer garden. You can also enter to win a bike from East Coasters on site!

We also have volunteer opportunities.

4. What’s your favorite thing about the cycling community in the Roanoke Region?

It’s a really friendly community, regardless of your cycling discipline(s), everyone shares a common passion. Having an amazing place to live, work and play definitely helps! We have phenomenal riding here: road, gravel, cyclocross, mountain biking, greenways and everything in between!

5. If someone wants to try cyclocross, how do they get started?

There are several ways. The cool thing is you don’t need a dedicated cyclocross bike to start! You can get started on a mountain bike or even a hybrid. Play Roanoke and East Coasters Bike Shop host a three-race SummerCross series at Fallon Park on Wednesday evenings in August. There’s a 35-minute advanced race and a 20-minute race for beginners/juniors.

On any other Wednesday night at Fallon Park, you’ll probably find both the Deschutes Brewery Cyclocross Team and the Downshift WTF/Men’s teams practicing. Practices usually run until early November.

Our local bike shops are also great resources and can connect you with either the gear you’ll need or people in the cyclocross community. Lastly, just ask a cyclocrosser! We’re pretty friendly and happy to share our passion!