Due at least in part to the efforts of hard working local organizers the 2014 Canadian Cyclocross Championships, being held right here in Winnipeg, is getting good web coverage so we haven’t felt compelled to plug it here, but on second thought why shouldn’t we do our little part and push this thing for all it’s worth? Frankly, it’s worth a lot.
Believe it or not Winnipeg and the surrounding area has seen its fair share of top rate, world class cycling events. If you’ve been a local cycling enthusiast for a while you might recall the awesome downtown Coors Cobblestone Classic criteriums of the ’80’s that attracted top international pro teams to our Exchange District, or more recently the ’99 Pan Am games cross country mountain bike race near the Birch Ski Area that was named by a few pro riders as the toughest mountain bike race course they had ever ridden. With our full respect to those events, its organizers, and its competitors, the 2014 Canadian Cyclocross Nat’s is going to be even bigger for the casual and the diehard fan, and to newbie racers. Here’s why:
Cyclocross has an inherent advantage. Whether planned or by accident (we suspect some of both) its format and physical layout is perfect for spectating. Taking place on a closed, looped 2.5 – 3.5 km course the race is timed; participants race for 30 to 60 minutes (depending on their category) for however many laps they can do within the allotted time, suffering in full display for spectators to see. We can literally feel the breeze as racers push barely past us (but safely on the other side of the ropes), and we can almost literally feel their pain.
Cyclocross is also very identifiable for almost anyone who ever had a 10 speed as a kid. Okay, we’re dating ourselves a bit by saying that though it might not be that different for kids who grew up with mountain bikes. If you were adventurous as a kid (and frankly we hope you still are) you quickly grew bored of the same route from A to B and began to take your bike through short cuts that included a set of stairs, or through some rougher terrain; you maybe you even have had to dismount and haul your bike over something to complete the trip. That’s pretty much what cyclocross racing is like, though probably faster.
What’s more, this particular cyclocross race happens to be located on and around the banks of the Assiniboine and Red Rivers at The Forks in downtown Winnipeg, arguably the most popular physical attraction in the city and perfectly suited to cyclocross riding AND spectating.
We’re referring to ‘a race’ here but in reality there are plenty of races on offer during the upcoming Canadian Cyclocross Nationals weekend for all age and ability levels, whether this is your 10th season racing or if you’re brand new to the sport, whether you have a $6000 ‘cross specific bike or your trusty mountain bike commuter, so really there’s no excuse not to race AND spectate yourself.
Check out the official site and follow the links there to other related social media, but most importantly mark October 24th to 26th on your calendar and plan to be a part of the event.