Here in Central Arkansas, the weather is getting cooler and the cycling community is gearing up for cyclocross season. For those of you unfamiliar with this discipline, cyclocross, or “Cross” for short, is a form of bicycle racing consisting of many laps on a short (1.5-2 mile) course featuring wooded trails, grass, steep hills, and obstacles requiring the rider to quickly dismount, carry the bike while navigating the obstruction, and remount. Cross races are loads of fun; they are extremely spectator-friendly and are often accompanied by lots of muddy mayhem. You do not need a special bike; mountain bikes and are welcome and work just fine! Cross can make you a better rider. The sport puts your bike handling skills to the test and makes your lungs burn, though you are having such a good time it doesn’t feel like work. The cross community is amazing. Local businesses support the events and donate top notch swag. Folks bring their kids and dogs and friends and every race feels a bit like a family reunion—without the awkward relatives.
Intrigued but still not sure how to get started? No problem! If you want to learn more about cross and practice a few basic skills, seasoned racers will lead two free Skills-N-Drills Clinics at Two Rivers Park (near the bathrooms) at 6PM on October 27th and November 3rd.
Now for the really great news: The 2016 Arkansas State Championship Cyclocross Race will be held right here in Little Rock at Western Hills Park on November 19th, and this event has something for everyone:
- Juniors, Seniors and Masters category racers will battle for the AR state championship jersey and USAC medals (Arkansas residents with an annual license only). Out of state and AR residents are both eligible to compete for additional merchandise and cash prizes.
- Folks who are trying a cross race for the first time may opt for a shorter, twenty minute novice race option with merchandise prizes.
- Kids can participate in a fun “race” on their very own short course!
- There will be a donation station for Recycle Bikes for Kids, a great non-profit that has done a lot for our local community. They especially need used kids bikes as they gear up for the holidays, but they can use anything bike related.
- Pizza and beverages from Vinos and Lost Forty will be available to racers and volunteers after the last race, during the awards ceremony.
- All day/on site mechanical support will be available to racers from local bicycle component manufacturer BBINFINITE.
- Registration is open and the first 30 registrants will get a long sleeve race T-shirt! Register early and don’t miss out on the fun!
- Volunteers are wanted to help out with the race too—sign up here!!!
Come on out and be a part of the cyclocross fun, and don’t forget your cowbell!