Florida Cyclocross, it’s way more than riding bikes in a random sweltering field…. Bowling Night with the Heavies.
Florida cyclocross is an odd lot fo’ sho’. Not only the toughest 13mph you’ll ever do on a bike, not only the loudest spectators sporting water squirters and beer handups, not only the most eclectic, oddball bunch of regulars from every age bracket, every level of ability… not just those, it’s truly a family of fun loving folks. This is most evident in the things that happen off the race course, from full contact tricycle eliminator (Patrick Cup, check it here) , to an impromptu bowling night after the annual Edinburgh Cyclocross Challenge with these misfits.
“Hey Kelly, you’re a well traveled racer type guy, what’s the deal with Cyclocross in Florida? “Well, Cyclocross itself is a niche sport within a niche sport. One of the things that really sets it apart is the community and grass roots aspect, particularly in Florida. Florida is hardly a bastion of cyclocross racing, though there are certainly dedicated competitors (from beginners to former professionals) and challenging courses.”
Kelly continued: “While Florida cyclocross racing may lack in participant quantity compared to New England or the Pacific Northwest, it excels in the quality of its community of racers, promoters, spectators, and enthusiasts. Last season’s Florida cyclocross season included the usual races and events found in any state cyclocross series. However, Florida is unique with its ‘unofficial’ shenanigans that go on, such as the now infamous Patrick Cup events.” check it here
For years I looked up to Clint Gibbs as a CX role model as he personified everything admirable about an athlete: incredible bike rider, State Champ, YouTube superstar, super family guy yet always humble and professional. But all that changed when we were witness to his bowling skills…sigh. No, really, it was crazy fun to finally get the regular podium residents out of their element.
Kelly continued: ”This past season, the small Florida cyclocross community also met up one night after a day of racing for friendly competition in the bowling alley. Trading their stiff bike shoes for questionable bowling shoes, everyone shared laughter, camaraderie, and an adult beverage or two. This kind of get-together is emblematic of what the cyclocross community is all about – friendship, fun, and a bit of competitiveness.”
Board meeting. photo: @twopagewayne
Kelly continued: “The infamous bike blogger, Bike Snob NYC, once described cyclocross as addictive because it distills the difficulty, suffering, and glory of bike racing into a short 30 to 60-minute event. I think another important aspect is the tight knit community of cyclocross thanks to its grass root background in the United States. Even in the highly packed and competitive fields of New England there is a sense of community. In Florida, it is more than a community – it is a family (dysfunction and all).”
Such a fun night, many thanks to Dunedin Lanes for letting us hoot and holler and throw heavy things. Cya at the next one!