I recently attended the Providence Cyclo-Cross Festival (Providence, RI October 8, 9) and Spooky Cross (Irvine,CA October 15, 16) and I must say I was duly impressed with both events.
The men’s podium at the Providence Cross Fest, presented by Interbike
While certainly not a new category, cross does seem to be steadily gaining consumer momentum as evidenced by the number of product introductions in the category and the growing quantity of racers. A good cross race has a certain epic quality to it, and a spectator element that is very appealing.
As I watched hundreds of riders compete on both sides of the country it occurred to me that cross events are helping accomplish the following…
Encourages more riding participation
Both events showcased race categories far beyond the elite men’s and women’s categories and included all sorts of enthusiast flights and even opportunities for children to get out and compete. I even saw a few costumed riders at Spooky Cross. Many riders told me that they are new to cross, and are riding more because of it.
Promotes use of cycling product
I was blown away by how much gear racers were using to participate at these events. And I’m not just talking about cross bikes (although there were plenty) but trainers, racks, apparel, helmets, sunglasses, tubes and tires, heart rate monitors and more. Many participants that I spoke to mentioned that they had just purchased new product to get ready for the race, and particularly forNew Englandretailers, late season sales are a beautiful thing. And of course cross season goes through the fall and into the winter months.
Cross exposes new eyes to cycling
while many spectators at both events were there to support a family member or friend racing, there were many more that were just there to enjoy the race. And what’s not to love? With speed, strength, endurance, grass, mud, obstacles and the occasional sand pit, cross is a great spectator sport and can help even non-enthusiasts get fired up about cycling.
More riders, more product sales, and an exciting way to introduce the non-ordained to our sport – sounds like the growth of cross is just what the industry needs.
Hats off to GSD events and Rock and Road Cyclery for making these events happen, and for all of the event promoters out there creating cross races across the country.