All Crossed Up

Skinny-wheeled road bikes shod with knobby tires, bouncing and careening over rocks, through mud, kickin’ up dust and sand.

What’s not to love?

It’s been oft pointed out in the cycling press that cyclocross is the national sport of Belgium. There, in the fall and dead of winter, you’ll find crowds that would seem utterly impossible in America, complete with huge jumbotrons, food trucks, free-flowing Belgian stout — and cowbells.

Over the last few years, ‘cross has become the fastest growing segment of competitive cycling in the United States. Despite the fact that it’s a balls-to-the-wall sufferfest from the starting gun, these non-paid competitors are in love with their sport. If you hear of one in your local area, go. It’s free, and it’s a lot of fun.

Oh, and make sure you have something warm n’ tasty to “hand up” to the riders if you get to stand near one of the flimsy barricade tapes. It’s considered proper form.

Skinny-wheeled road bikes shod with knobby tires, bouncing and careening over rocks, through mud, kickin’ up dust and sand.