Cyclocross is said to have gotten its start by cyclists challenging other cyclists to race to a nearby landmark. Steeples were often the tallest, most visible landmarks for many people of the time and gave way to a “Steeplechase” type of race. There were no predetermined routes or iPhones so navigating to the landmark mark may have included dirt roads, jumping fences, crossing streams, blazing trails, running you and your bike up stairs, and riding through the neighbors fields. The winner would be the person who was able arrive at the landmark first. To win, it meant being able to utilize the bicycle through all the different types of terrain and clearing obstacles. These days, the courses are setup in advance and still include many of the same types of obstacles, and awkward terrain to be ridden by the riders in a battle of laps to see who is the ultimate cyclist.
This past Saturday, I caught the NC Cyclocross series finale at Tanglewood and watched a few of the World’s top pros battle it out. The photos should give you some idea of the difficulty these guys deal with, it was brutal. According to USA Cycling, Cyclocross is America’s fastest growing type of cycling and it has been exciting watching a few North Carolina locals compete at such a high level.
Get your bike or your beer (or both) ready for next season, you’re not going to want to miss it. Click photo to enlarge.