Yes, it’s fun. Yes, it’s a good workout. But so much about cyclo-cross just isn’t right. Here’s why:
- It’s only an hour long. I was doing longer races when I was 15. Give me a six hour classic.
- The start of the cyclo-cross season reminds me that the road season is about to end. It’s like cross is an after-thought.
- I love aesthetics in cycling, whether the beauty of landscapes or a bike reflecting the sunshine. 20 laps of a potato field in Belgium or a municipal park in a French town doesn’t cut it.
- It’s a Belgian version of tractor-pulling: an excuse for people to gather near a muddy field, eat chips and drink beer from a plastic cup.
- At the pro level the same guys always win. Mourey and Chainel win almost every race in France and the “World Cup” is dominated by the usual suspects, Sven Nys et al.
- It relies on obstacles like wooden planks and the route is defined by plastic tape and fencing, quite artificial. Cycling normally borrows from nature or at least trails and roads.
But as much as I try and say the sport is good, it doesn’t inspire my day dreams and much like winter itself, I’ll endure it until the road season picks up again in the new year. In the meantime, the focus is on the Worlds and the end of season classics.
Footnote: there’s been a lively response to this already. For the avoidance of doubt, anything on two wheels is good. All I’m saying is that cross doesn’t make me dream. In response to my provocation, see the “Why I love Cyclocross” riposte from the Velocast.