Cyclocross racing at Brookside
What: Brookside Park Cyclocross Race
Where: Brookside Park, 3500 Brookside Parkway South Drive
When: Sunday, Oct. 29, 11 a.m.
Remember how your parents told you to stay out of the mud, but the urge to go jump, splash and plod through it was so great that you did it anyway? Cyclocross racing elicits the same, manic fun. This Sunday, Oct. 29, bicycling enthusiasts of all ages will ignore their parents’ pleas when they compete in the eighth annual Brookside Park Cyclocross Race.
Now part of the Ohio Valley Cyclocross series comprised of 15 races in five Midwest cities, Brookside Park ranks as one of the top three courses in the series. “The course offers a perfect balance of the three characteristics unique to cyclocross racing,” said Doug Dobroszi, series organizer.
“With its combination of flat, paved sections that favor powerful riders; short, steep hills that favor light weight racers; and technical twists and turns that favor the technically savvy, Brookside Park is a favorite among the Midwest cyclocross racing scene,” Dobroszi added.
Aside from handling a modified road bike with wide tires on a mud slicked course, the technical demands of cyclocross courses include a variety of natural obstacles like muddy banks, streams and fallen trees, and manmade obstacles like bales of straw, stair steps — a prominent feature of the Brookside Park course — and wooden barriers that require racers to dismount their bikes, place the bikes on their shoulders and jump over. Some hills are so steep, racers find it quicker to shoulder their steeds and run up the hills.
Cyclocross is a serious sport that dates back to 1902 when the first race was held in France. The first official world championship took place in 1950. The sport became popular in America during the 1970s but waned with the rise of the mountain bike. Enjoying a renaissance, cyclocross has seen increased participation throughout the United States every year for the past five years.
With all the slipping, sliding, running and jumping, the sport has served as a fun way for road and track racing cyclists, who train rigidly for nine months a year, to maintain fitness through the fall and winter. The playful nature of the sport is what attracts newcomers each year, and according to Jeff Gold, owner of The Bike Wave at 86th and Ditch, and one of the race sponsors, “Cross racing is the easiest way to get into racing. You can use any kind of bike, you don’t need special shoes or pedals, and if you are concerned about pack handling, the speeds on grass and muddy courses are slow enough to alleviate any concerns about crashing hard at 25-plus mph.”
Gold echoes Dobroszi when he says, “Cross racing is a blast. I encourage everyone to come out and try it.” Registration opens Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m. and the first race begins at 11 a.m. True to the nature of the sport, the races will be held regardless of weather conditions. Go to www.kentuckycyclocross.com.