Originating in Belgium, cyclocross has deep roots in neighboring European countries like France and the Netherlands.
For an in-depth history of ’cross in America, Issues 6 and 15 are a great place to start. We hope to see the American ’cross scene one day rival that of Europe, where it has become a major spectator sport. For instance, the 2012 World Championships in Koksijde, Belgium, drew a reported 60,000 fans, while the Louisville World Championships only brought in 10,000. Bring friends and family to the races and help the popularity grow!
Check out some of our past articles on the history ’cross:
- Crossin’ Through the Generations
- Past and Present Cyclocross World Champions: 1950 to Present
- Cyclocross Nationals in History: 1985 Throwback
Want more? Read up with these books that delve into the history of the sport:
Behind the Stare
by Geoff Proctor
“What inhuman resolve,” Geoff Proctor asks in his intimate, lyrically wrought study of European cyclocross, Behind the Stare, “Does it take to grind off every shred of energy to the point of dementia? Where—in the legs, the lungs, the mind, the heart—the hell does it come from?”
What, indeed, makes a champion? The search for this answer is the thrust behind Proctor’s journey through the 2007/8 season as both journalist and EuroCrossCamp coach, where he brings us a behind-the-scenes, to-the-bone dissection of the world’s best racers—from the legend himself, Sven Nys, to his rival Bart Wellens; the fading champion Erwin Vervecken and the high-flying Lars Boom; the sensitive but strong Ryan Trebon, and the struggling Jonathan Page, trying to find his place in Belgium. Proctor takes us beyond race reports and course histories to bring us cyclocross through the eyes of those who sacrifice everything for it, trying to find the secret to the “extra dimension that only a few athletes in the world possess. A sixth sense. An inner chamber to the competitive soul that makes the difference.”
If ever there was an American you wanted to write about cyclocross, Geoff Proctor is it: US Worlds team member in 93, 94, and 96, as well as the founder and director of EuroCross Camp. Proctor has gained the respect of, and access to, the biggest names in cyclocross, taking us into the inner sanctum of these men’s homes, training grounds, and private lives. It’s as intimate an experience as being one of these men’s soigneurs.
To read the rest of the review from Robbie Carver, make sure you check out Issue 21!
by Molly Hurford
“Cyclocross is a far more emotional cycling event than anything else. I think it’s because you’re on the limit right from the beginning. It has more tragedy—mechanical tragedy, crashes, rolled tires—it’s a game of mistakes, it’s very much like a Shakespearean drama.” -Richard Fries
If you’re new to cyclocross, or want to get a better sense of just what exactly this sport is, and who the key players in the US are, this book is a great primer on cyclocross in the US, from its origins, to the pros, to how you can get into it yourself.
From one Amazon.com review: ’Cross ain’t easily explained. And to understand how it seems to instantly hook almost everyone who bumps into it, you just have to go, just once, even just to watch (although you’ll wish you’d brought your bike). Otherwise, thankfully, there’s now Molly Hurford’s Mud, Snow, and Cyclocross: How ’Cross Took Over U.S. Cycling. Bound in bacon, smelling of frites and beer, and shipped to your door in a bucket of mud, Hurford’s new book may be as close as you can get to the greatest sport in the universe without actually freezing your butt off.
Get schooled in cyclocross with our Cyclocross Academy class list here, and make sure you’re subscribed to Cyclocross Magazine, your guide for getting into the sport, and upping your ’cross knowledge. Not subscribed yet? For the newbies, our Issue 21 has a great feature on buying your first cyclocross bike, and Issue 22 has a story on how to get into racing and what to expect at your first race.