Monday, October 13, 2008

Cyclo-cross in Gloucester

Gran Prix of Gloucester is a cylco-cross race held at Stage Fort Park. It’s been running for about six or seven years now. This year’s event has proven that the Gran Prix has come of age. Now I’m no cyclo-cross insider but I can say unequivocally that it’s a world-class event. Teams from as far away as Illinois and Canada were there. The bikes themselves are the coolest. Here’s what I could find out: Cyclo-cross bicycles are similar to racing bicycles: lightweight, with narrow tires and drop handlebars. However, they also share characteristics with mountain bicycles in that they utilize knobby tread tires for traction, and cantilever style brakes for clearance needed due to muddy conditions. They have to be lightweight because competitors need to carry their bicycle to overcome barriers or slopes too steep to climb in the saddle. The sight of competitors struggling up a muddy slope with bicycles on their shoulders is the classic image of the sport, although unridable sections are generally a very small fraction of the race distance.Having a big time event like this in here certainly adds a little sparkle to things. It’s fun seeing tables of riders and their crews at restaurants, they all love the event, and they get a real kick out of Gloucester – how flattering. I get a kick out of them, and cyclo-cross girls are as hard-core as it gets. Pretty cute too.Just one thing: Shouldn’t it be Grand Prix (Grand with a “D”), instead of Gran Prix? If that’s the way you want to do it, why not Gran Pree?