Monday, November 2, 2009

'Cross Time

Temperatures are falling, leaves are falling, cyclists are falling...

It can only mean one thing: the craziness that is cyclocross season is upon us, and the mayhem has begun! Overenthusiastic racers who just don't know when to call it a season have been hitting the Colorado 'cross circuit for a number of weeks now. This odd stepchild of bike racing has been growing in popularity by leaps and bounds, and a (un?)healthy number of racers have been turning out for a full slate of 'cross races that run from mid-September to the state championships in December.

So far this season, the conditions have ranged from scorching sun and temperatures in the high 80's to blizzards and temperatures below freezing. The courses have varied from smooth grass to rocky slopes, from packed gravel to bike-eating sand pits, from dusty singletrack to derailleur-destroying mud bogs, and everything in between.

The competition is fierce but friendly, and the physical demands are unusual. As Neal Henderson describes it, 'cross racing is a bit like an intense criterium with the all-out sprint at the starting whistle. If you've pondered life on the 'cross side, now is a great time to come out and give it a try. If you're not quite ready to try leaping over barriers and immersing yourself in freezing mud, consider coming out to harass those who are. Just don't forget your cowbell!

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