I caught myself saying to someone this weekend that cyclocross it the best spectator cycling sport. Is that really true? Could it be? Tight, short courses do lend themselves to easily witnessing the action. It doesn’t take much of a walk to cover the entire course for most events. Also, watching cyclists race what looks like a road bike on dirt adds a bit of the “that’s different” feeling to the scene. The other elements of tight turns, watching cyclists jump on and off the bikes to negotiate various obstacles and you have the possibility impending doom. What’s not to love?
We spent the weekend attending the Smoke-N-Suds Cyclocross Weekend at Lake Fayetteville in Northwest Arkansas. The race directors and course designers set up a beautiful course in the well appointed park on the north shore of the lake. This area has a singletrack trail system, disc golf, paved running/cycling trails, a playground and other amenities. The course didn’t have any long steep uphills but the designers did a good job of incorporating a sunken creek bed and some other dips to compensate.
Depending on your point of view the weather was perfect. Of course some of us were hoping to see some muddy racing but at least the temperatures were reasonable and it made for a perfect day to bring the families out to watch.
The course started with an immediate drop through a ravine and then a serpentine down the ravine and into the woods. Once in the woods the route paralleled the lake weaving between trees and over a lot of roots.
In and out of the woods a bit and finally to a non-ridable creek bed. This took a well timed dismount running down some loose steps across the creek and then back up the other side.
It was now time for some open field riding. Clumps of grass made most of this section very bumpy. After the long sprint racers had a couple of barriers to cross before heading into what some called the rats nest.
This section out in the middle of the main field involved a lot of short straights and u-turns and then around a sharp, long turn that I can best describe as riding the outside of a “J” down the longside around the bottom and then twisting back on yourself. There were a few slide outs in this section as riders negotiated the slick grassy corners. After this riders came to the end of the lap to be greeted by lots of cowbells, loud cheers and some good natured heckling.
We spent all day enjoying the races but once they were over we headed over to Devil’s Den State Park to add to our collection of tent nights this year and get in some campfire and S’mores time. We’d be back in the morning for more racing.
We went camera happy at this event so check out over 800 photos on our Facebook Page, download, share, tag, you know the drill.
We are well into the Arkansas Super-Prestige Cyclocross series: