Latest buzz in bike racing,
“cyclo-cross” comes to Centennial Park

Why in the world would you or
your kids even consider cyclo-cross?

Toronto - Cyclo-cross is an exciting, fast-paced combination of road racing, mountain biking and cross country running.  It is a sport for riders of any age, gender or skill level.It’s also one of the fastest-growing international sports throughout Europe and North America.  It takes place on a technical course of tight turns, steep climbs, fast descents, obstacles and deliberately un-rideable terrain that requires shouldering the bike and running.  Usually set within a park environment, spectators can get a close up look at the action unfolding in front of them.

Midweek Cycling Club’s UC1-C2 International Pro-Am Cyclo-Cross races take place November 10 -11 at Centennial Park in Etobicoke.  Races will begin at 10am each day and run until the early evening.Adding a flair of Belgium and Holland, the Thistletown Lion’s Club will have beer tents directly adjacent to the course (for spectators only, of course!).

Peter Morse, a 15-year veteran of the sport offers the following: “Cyclocross is bike racing on grass and dirt.  It’s safer than riding on the street, it’s a great way for kids to learn basic riding skills.And it’s kind of like a video game, except it’s real.”

Race announcer Rick Meloff agrees: “At a high level, it’s mayhem on wheels – great stuff for fans.But for beginners, it’s fun without the ressure.  You ride at your own pace, build your riding skills and even learn to fall down.  It’s more fun than a day at the amusement park.  Everyone gets involved.”

Anita Lagler taking a year off after five years of “’cross,” says the sport is laid back and informal, with a relatively short yet at times intense course.It’s not as technically difficult as mountain biking, but challenging nonetheless.And the kids’ races are a blast to watch.”

Rod Oliver, 33, has been riding ‘cross for five years.  He was introduced to it through a friend in Vancouver, started out on his old mountain bike and was instantly hooked. “I love the camaraderie among the riders; everyone is there to have fun.  It’s also a great bridge sport for those used to BMX, road riding or mountain biking.”

Paul Green started ‘cross eight years ago.  He talks about improving riding technique, benefits to conditioning and the thrills of a compact, challenging racecourse. “It’s an awesome sport, you don’t know what you’re missing until you’ve tried it.

If you are interested in experiencing cyclo-cross you can attend a session at Centennial Park Ski Hill at 6pm any Tuesday night until December.

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