Tuesday, October 4, 2011
The first Cyclocross race I ever saw happened in Golden Gate Park about 15 years ago. You know, before Cyclocross was cool. I believe it was an unsanctioned race. The racers, all men, wore dresses. The course was a very short loop through the trees and over some felled logs. The crowd, or more accurately, the handful of people watching, all seemed pretty confused. There were no cowbells.
The second one I saw happened last year in Las Vegas during Interbike. It was in a soccer field at night and all the racers seemed pretty pro. The course didn't seem that hairy to me, although it was too crowded to get a good view. There was a giant praying mantis dump truck that shot flames out of its antennae during the final lap and an Elvis impersonator awarding trophies.
The third and best CX race I've ever seen was Sunday's kickoff of the Cross Crusade series at Alpenrose. There were bad-ass women and men and bicycles of every ilk and riding ability you can imagine. Racers' faces showed fierce determination, contempt, torture, exhaustion and glee. Sometimes all at once.
Mud, blood, bells and screams. Deflated riders re-inflating with spectator encouragement. Bikes tangling in crashes. Crazy challenging run-ups where the cleated slick shoe soul meets the textureless muddy slope. People pushing themselves to the very brink of their ability and beyond.
Now I get it.
Posted by Bicycle Kitty