Spectating at a cyclocross race could be a sport unto itself. It’s competitive, tactical, and certainly more physically demanding than curling or golf. In fact, without the screaming, beer-drinking, cowbell-ringing fans, cyclocross is really just a cold and dirty road race. No self-respecting spectator shows up at a cross race without at least one cowbell – the more obnoxious the better. Then one must find the perfect location – generally to be found at the most soul-sucking point in the course where the racers will be at their worst and most likely to crash. From here, spectators can be heard trying to one-up each other with the best heckling line, or perhaps seen engaging in one of cyclocross’ signature spectator activities: the hand-up. While not officially condoned, it’s not uncommon to see hecklers tempting racers with cash hand ups, bacon hung from a fishing rod, or plastic cups filled with beer.
Cyclocross tends to bring out passionate and somewhat fanatical fans. Perhaps the main reason for this is that many of the fans are also cyclocross racers themselves. The sport is exploding at its grass roots and amateur level, with an ever-increasing number of races across the country. And while the races themselves are highly competitive, the discipline is loved for its laid-back vibe, sense of humour and camaraderie.
The Beer Garden and Expo Area will be buzzing with energy throughout the weekend. In close proximity to restaurants and food vendors, this area will no doubt be the social heart of the course. It is also close to some of the most exciting parts of the course.
Photo credit: Kyle Thomas