Seeing people get hooked on a new type of cycling is one of the things that keeps cycling industry veterans going. And for some reason, cyclocross is especially good at reeling people in: Maybe it’s the challenging courses; the relaxed, non-competitive atmosphere; the support of family, friends and complete strangers; the mud, or all of the above.
This past weekend at the sixth stop of the Cross Crusade series, I got to see a friend experience ‘cross for the first time. Joe H. had never even ridden a cyclocross bike until last week; but after a friend and riding buddy of his starting racing this year, Joe started to get ‘cross curious. When I realized he was weary of investing in a new bike, I offered up an extra one I just happened to have sitting in my shed. (Tip: Eliminating excuses is the best way to convert friends into racing or riding.)
With a bike to ride, all Joe needed was a bit of practice. So last week I invited him out to Overlook Park in north Portland to go over some basic cyclocross skills and get comfortable on the bike. I had a hunch Joe would be a solid cyclocross racer because he’s a great athlete (played some college football) and he’s raised three boys on bikes. Towing an energetic boy who’s constantly moving around on a trail-a-bike that’s tugging at your seatpost is perfect training for staying upright and riding smooth — both of which are essential skills for cyclocross.
As we talked about the race, Joe downplayed it. “I don’t know,” he’d say sheepishly, “I just want to finish.” He was understandably a bit nervous about embarking on a new sport. But come race-day, he started smiling as soon as he put on his new team kit and he never stopped. And it turns out, he’s great at cyclocross! He finished very strong and I have a hunch he’ll race again soon.
Here are a few more photos of Joe in action, followed by a few other scenes from the Washington County Fairgrounds on Sunday…
race last weekend, but he still wanted to dress up.
The Cross Crusade continues this Sunday with a stop at Portland International Raceway. It will be a great event for the whole family and it’s just a few miles north of downtown Portland (just past Kenton off Denver Ave.)
— 2013 cyclocross season coverage on BikePortland is sponsored by Sellwood Cycle Repair (7953 SE 13th Ave). Drop by the shop for their great selection of Kona bikes and trusted cyclocross service.