A Pilgrimage to Cyclocross Worlds, from a Fan Standpoint
by Dave Queen
I am preparing to make my cyclocross pilgrimage. Cyclocross, like almost any activity, has those who observe, others that dabble, some who are dedicated, and a select few for whom it is their Alpha and Omega.
I am a cyclocross racer. Oval tracks exist only for dogs or horses. Roads and trails are for cyclocross training. Triathlons are therapy for adults with ADD/OCD issues. I finish my season with scabs and bruises. I watch the European ’cross races on my computer and don’t flinch when I have to cross state lines for a ’cross race.
It is my pleasure, indeed my honor – no, it is my moral duty – to travel to Louisville to worship at the altar of mud, sand and forty centimeter barriers. Such a journey is not to be taken lightly. In addition to the temporal preparation, travel arrangements and such, one must prepare spiritually as well.
My season was spent as a “Freecrosser.” I joined races in several different race series and bumped elbows with similarly aged brethren from all points of the compass. My bike has been repeatedly baptized with mud from the north, south, east and west.
As my spiritual focus turned from my own racing to my religious pilgrimage to the Cyclocross World Championships, I began to take steps to prepare my spiritual vessel for the upcoming experience.
I began by increasing my intake of waffles. They aren’t just for breakfast anymore.
I tried to turn all of my tastes toward the holy land.
I tried to adopt the Belgian hardman training philosophy, refusing to let weather deter me. When ice formed on my jersey during training, I knew I was on the right path.
When the weather wasn’t harsh enough, I improvised.
Some of my friends told me I should get my hands on a Flanders flag. This seemed odd to me as Ned Flanders is kind of a secondary character. Isn’t that what faith is? If Stu Thorne told me to dip my tubulars in baby vomit, I’d do it without a second thought. Doing something when you aren’t completely sure is what faith is all about. I believe! I got the flag !
I’m counting down the days. I hope you are too. See you in Louisville!
Have you subscribed yet? You're missing out if not. Get all-original content and your cyclocross fix throughout the year with a subscription and Issue 23 back copy, with features on Lars van der Haar, Jonathan Page, Elle Anderson and more!