Cyclocross is an ugly sport. It’s a sort of half breed of road racing and mountain biking created by some crazy European coach a long time ago to punish athletes that didn’t want to take a break from serious training during the winter. Yes, it was probably a Belgian, due to the propensity of cross addicts to drink beer and grill sausages during any practice or competition. If you can look past its ugly roots, it can be quite beautiful…especially when it’s 70 degrees and sunny.
Cyclocross is an ugly sport, but look at that beautiful...blue sky!
This weekend, the Greenville Spinners hosted what might be considered one of the most uncross-like of cross races. Not that it was a bad race. On the contrary, it was fantastic. Blue skies, 70 degrees and a course laid out on an abandoned golf course? It doesn’t get much better for a bike racing weekend. Purists might scoff at the conditions, claiming that they were a little soft for real cross fans, but I didn’t see anyone complaining. As a matter of fact, I think we set a record for the number of smiles at a cross race.
Nathan's not smiling, but he did smile when he won a Tootsie Pop for getting the holeshot on the A race start.
If I wasn’t officiating, I might have suited up myself for a rare cross appearance. I love mountain biking and I love road riding. Cyclocross takes the best and worst of each and blends it together into a new discipline full of unique challenges. I know I would love cross racing too, if it was contested in warmer and more favorable conditions…like this weekend. No matter what the conditions, cross still brings out the best faces.
Andy raced his heart out both days and took home a Tootsie Pop of his own for his combined A race results.
If you live in Greenville and you missed this weekend’s events, you still have several opportunities to try it right here in our backyard. Clemson University is hosting the Clemson Cyclocross Clash next Sunday. If you want to practice your skills and get some pointers before the next race, come to one of the cross clinics hosted by the Greenville Parks and Recreation Dept on Wednesday nights. This week they are at Piney Mountain Park and MTB’s are welcome. We hope to see you out there before the weather turns truly nasty. True cross racing nasty!
For more pictures of this weekend's Greenville Spinners Cross Race action, click here.