Cyclocross World Championships Hit Just as Cycling Envy Reaches Full Stride

Cognitive dissonance. It’s basically that emotional tension of balancing conflicting thoughts at the same time. It’s like commiserating with your closest gal-pal as she vents about her boyfriend, but secretly agreeing with the boyfriend on just about every point.

We want to be amped for skiing in this otherwise under-achieving winter (weather-wise), and we are. It’s just that we’re equally excited for the dirt-grit-grueling-sufferfest of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships. At Ibex, we’re always on-board for a cyclo-cross event, and this year’s weak showing in the snow department happens to be stoking our bike excitement even higher than normal.

In a few short days, February 2nd and 3rd to be exact, the best riders on planet Earth will gather in Louisville, Kentucky for the premier event in the sport. To put the magnitude of this event in perspective for new cyclo-cross fans, this is the first time in 60 years UCI Worlds have been held outside of Europe.

No event in the realm of sport better captures that old tagline from “Wide World of Sports”: the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat. Imagine mud, obstacles, sand, pavement and hike-a-bikes that would break the spirit of mere mortals. Now, shake it all up in a roller derby-esque atmosphere. It may not be officially sanctioned to touch elbows, but “rubbin’ is racing,” afterall.

The elite men will have 60-punishing minutes lapping the 2-kilometer (approximate) course. The weather will dictate the condition of the course, so the estimates range from seven to 11 laps covered in the hour. Elite women will most likely cover five to eight laps in their 40-minute heat.

Check out this rad video of the Louisville 2013 cyclo-cross course at Eva Banman Park, by the Ohio river.

Unlike, say, any other professional sport in the U.S., cyclo-cross encourages its fan base to be a part of the action. We’re not talking a potentially awkward kiss-cam; we’re talking get wired, get weird and get involved. Event organizers designed the laps for easy viewing and to take advantage of the distinctive cyclo-cross tailgating culture.

If we need to spell it out: this means beer, cow bells, costumes and cheering. If you’re anywhere near Louisville this upcoming weekend, don’t let us down.

So, in thinking about it, maybe we aren’t as emotionally conflicted as we thought about rooting for biking in the middle of winter. Maybe it boils down to that a wheel and beer culture is rolling into the bastion of ponies and whiskey. We’re not sure who will win out in this cultural divide, but we’re pretty sure everyone will have a good time getting it done.

Best of luck to all the competitors and early congrats to Louisville for what we know will be a fantastic event.

– Ibex

Photo above by Lyne Lamoureux, courtesy http://www.louisville2013.com