Brecktobercross beats up racers in Breck
BRECKENRIDGE – When the men’s 35-and-over category hit the Brecktobercross course on Saturday morning, it seemed only fitting a controversial 1997 Prodigy song that lewdly refers to smacking female dogs would suddenly come over the public address system.
It wasn’t chosen by race promoter Great Adventure Sports, nor by the timekeepers, Maverick Sports. It was simply the same random mix used all summer at the Summit Mountain Challenge races.
The kicker, as the song repeated its own title over and over again while racers and spectators milled about the start/finish area at the Breckenridge Nordic Center, was when a racer came through on his third lap with drool dripping off of his chin.
That’s cyclocross in a nutshell. It beats racers around, wears them down, and smacks them across the face a few times. But for some reason, people love it.
About 100 people turned out at the Nordic Center to hit the course and sprint as hard as they could for 45 minutes at a time. They raced throughout the day as different age groups hit the course at different times.
It was the first in a long series of cyclocross races being held across the Front Range this and every fall. The races are put on by the American Cycling Association (ACA), a licensing organization based in Denver.
The course rambled through the woods on Shock Hill, in and out of lodgepole pines and aspens slowly reaching their peak of golden glory.
The route featured some tight sections with sharp turns that forced already maxed-out racers to accelerate even harder, over and over again, as well as about a half-mile of paved sections. Three running sections were put into the course, including a long run-up on the backside and a series of obstacles in front of the Nordic Center lodge.
“This is what a cyclocross course should be like,” said Mike McCormack of Maverick Sports. “It reminds me of a Supercup course.”
Supercup is a long-running national series devoted to the sport of cyclocross.
“It’s really painful,” said Mark Taylor, who works at Great Adventure. “I try to tell people how hard this 45 minutes really is.”
Unlike what racers may face later in the fall, the weather was gorgeous, with blue skies prevailing and temperatures in the upper 50s. It’s hard to believe that many cyclocross races put competitors through the same torture in snow, mud, ice, rain, hail, sleet and anything else a temperamental autumn day may throw at them.
But somehow, like in most bike races, the competitors came across the finish with smiles on their faces and walk up to the promoters and thanked them, asking them when next year’s edition will happen.
For the most part, the race drew participants from the Front Range, as the race’s primary form of advertisement was its placement in the annual ACA calendar, distributed to the organization’s strong Denver and Boulder area membership base.
But a few locals showed up. Tim Faia of Frisco won the men’s open division, roughly the equivalent of a pro/expert division in mountain biking. Freddy Valdez of Frisco rode a strong race, finishing in the men’s category 4 race, which would be like winning a sport race in the fat tire discipline.
Darren Cheek of Blue River used the opportunity to branch out from mountain biking. Cheek cracked his scapula in the June Gold Run Rush race featured in the Summit Mountain Challenge, and only recently returned to riding at all.
“It was fun,” Cheek said. “I was looking to do something for the rest of the fall.”
Cheek also said he may try and head down to Denver for other races in the ACA series.
Richard Chittick can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at email@example.com.
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