Cyclocross season is short. When the leaves start to change colors (here in Houston they go from green to insta-dead brown) many bicycle racers put on their 3/4 length knickers and race their knobby shodden road bikes through muddy, mucky slop and get insanely dirty, much to the amusement of spectators.
There’s beer too. Did I mention that?
West End Bicycle Gallery, close to the mountain biking trails at memorial park, has been taking a few of the dedicated dirt lovers on a periodic ride which embodies the spirit of cross. The “Crappy Road Ride” rolls onto some of the rockiest roads inside the city, with plenty of quick 90 degree turns and curb hopping, and even an included stair run-up. If you wanted to try your hand at cross, but aren’t quite ready to throw down and pin numbers on your jersey (or to your skin, cos ‘crossers are TOUGH. Rawr!) this ride should give you a taste of the flavor, hold the puking please (race cross just once and you’ll know what I mean. No pre-race burritos.)
If you’re going to come along, bring a mountain bike, or cyclocross bike preferably. I just finished riding the course on my GIANT XTC 29’er and had an absolute blast. I kept the FOX fork on full lock for that nice bumpy gravel massage.
Follow the ride on facebook.
-Photos by Blaine Grove