GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - LTR Sports is back for a fourth year of hosting its Cyclocross Series, four bike racing events which run through early December.
According to USA Cycling, cyclocross, which started in Europe, is the largest growing cycling discipline in the U.S.
Short events; fun, local park courses; and easy spectating make it attractive for athletes of all skill levels.
In keeping with the Halloween season, the first LTR Cyclocross event, the Creepy Canyon 'Cross, is planned for 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, at Canyon View Park.
It's the only night race of its kind in Colorado, said Brent Steinberg of LTR.
"The stadium lights will be turned on, as racers fight for the podium under the lights," he said.
Participants can register at LTR Sports, 2470 Patterson #3, for $20, or day of for $25. For more information, visit LTREvents.com or call 970-25-SPORT.
In our quest to learn more, Steinberg answered some questions, which follow:
A: Cyclocross is a cycling discipline, often practiced in the fall and winter months. It comprises riding a 1-2 mile marked course around local parks, with a mixture of grass, dirt trails, pavement and sand. Participants will come to a couple obstacles during the lap that will make them dismount and jump over a barrier, before pedaling again. With events lasting 30-50 minutes, the events are perfect for keeping some fitness and having a blast on two wheels as the weather turns colder and days get shorter.
A: You're wrong. This is the fourth year LTR has been of promoting cyclocross in the Grand Valley.
Our events keep getting bigger and better, with more athletes and partners on board. We host 12-15 cycling events per year in many different disciplines, and cyclocross is the one that is growing the most. It is the perfect discipline for the everyday rider who might not have a lot of time to devote to riding or going to events.
It is short, fun, local, and can be done on almost any type of bike. So far, we have athletes from around the region, from the Front Range, Utah, Durango, Ridgway, Moab, and more.
A: Any bike can work. Cyclocross bikes look like a road bike, with curly bars, but they have wider, knobby tires as well as more clearance in brakes for obscure conditions. At our races, 40% of our participants will have cyclocross bikes, while the other 60% will be on mountain bikes.
A: We cater to all abilities. The great thing about cyclocross is that anyone from a beginner to professional can participate and have fun. With the courses being short, beginners are never more than a minute away from the start. We have categories from beginners citizens, to youth and up to professionals. There are three different waves and start times with similar categories and skill levels combined.
Last year, our youngest participant was 5 years old, and the oldest was 74 year old. We had first timers who had ridden their bike just a few times, and had others who traveled around the country racing.
A: The four cyclocross events will have one to two obstacle sections per race. One section might be a 12-inch barrier that participants will have to jump over, or a downed log. There could be some logs on a short hill that will make riders run-up, or a sand-pit that they can either ride or run through.
A: Look for a great battle in the A races this year. John Klish will be a force to reckon with, since moving back to the valley after a few years of living in Eagle. The CMU Cycling team will be in attendance, with National Criterium Champion Patric Rostel tuning his form for the Cyclocross National Championships in January. Look for some great races from Citizens, to Juniors, Masters and Pros this year.
A: This past year we hosted many different type of events. We added some mountain bike races, such as the Rumble at 18 Road which brought 250 racers from out of town to the valley in April, hosted the CMU Mountain Bike Race in October, and threw in some family fun events, like a Poker Ride during the Fruita Headless Chicken Festival. These events, along with cyclocross will be back in 2013. We will finalize out 2013 events after the cyclocross series, but look forward to some bigger and better events.