It was just a week before when much of Arkansas was hit with an arctic blast. Snow, ice, wind, cold arrived and as hard as it was to believe, the calendar said was still Autumn. Normally, when we get hit with this kind of weather, within days we forget that it even happened; the temperature rises quickly, frozen precipitation melts and gives way to moderate days. Not this time. A full 10 days after the wintry weather started we still had snow and ice on the roads and fields of Northwest Arkansas.
The Arkansas Super-Prestige Cyclocross Series would be ending with the State Cyclocross Championship event at a new venue, Veterans Park in Rogers, Arkansas. A typical urban park with baseball and soccer fields, walking paths, picnic tables and pavilions. It was a proper venue for a Belgian-like cyclocross event. After the dry conditions of many of the recent cyclocross series events and the deep snow of the previous week, racers were ready to get to some serious cyclocross racing. The folks at Highroller Cycling and De Pijp Cyclocross Federation made some last minute changes to the course and moved the event start time back one hour to make sure the conditions were optimum.
Beginning with a sprint across the parking lot and a quick climb up an embankment, competitors were greeted with snow and ice covered grass. Making their way past a soccer field they soon arrived at the first ditch. After the wet, muddy crossing they entered the only wooded section of the course which consisted of two 180 degree turns on slick ground and a tight ‘S’ turn that led to the second muddy ditch crossing . Riders then made their way around a couple of baseball fields and over the only “unnatural” barriers on the course.
They were soon crossing another ditch that immediately went into a short muddy section before entering a hibernating volleyball sandpit. It was interesting to watch this section as riders made personal choices to run through the entire section, parts of it or grind their way through on two wheels. Once clear of the sand it was back in the mud and through the ditch again before a fast paved section that took riders across the start/finish line and on for another lap.
Once all three races were over the
event party moved to the Ozark Beer Company where we were all treated to craft beers and excellent pizza from The Rail, a local pizza joint up the road. Awards for both the State Championship Race and the Series points totals were presented as riders and spectators enjoyed the food, drink and company. It was the perfect way to end a season that seemed to go by all too quickly. It doesn’t feel quite right to end it before the first day of Winter, luckily the calendar seemed to get it wrong for the last two races of the series.
We’ll post up the results as soon as they are made available.
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