31 Jan Preview of Louisville 2013–Cyclocross World Championships
A guest post from Laura Colbert of Loose Nuts Cycles in Atlanta, GA
Normally, I’ve just started making my weekend plans by this time in the week, but I’ve had this weekend planned for months…maybe longer. This weekend I’ll be traveling to Louisville, KY for the UCI Cyclocross World Championships! So stoked right now!
This weekend in Louisville is sure to be amazing for several reasons:
1. It’s the first time that the CX World Championships has been held outside of Europe. Last year, UCI gave Louisville a practice run with the Master’s World Championships. The masters returned to Louisville again this year and brought the rest of the World Championship events with them. The first time for anything is fun and challenging and special. This weekend will set the bar for US-hosted world CX events. If it goes well, maybe the World Championships will come back to the US. If it doesn’t, you can bet that Europe will be hosting all the major CX races for years to come.
2. It’s taking place in Louisville’s Eva Bandman Park. Bandman Park is the only park in the U.S. that is specifically dedicated to the sport of cyclocross, which means that the course should be great. If you want to preview the course, check out this guy’s blog. If you want to know what cyclists and officials think about the course, Velo News has a great article with thoughts from a lot of the top cyclists that have ridden it. If this weekend goes well, maybe other cities will consider building their own cyclocross specific venues.
3. European-style excitement about cyclocross! The event organizers say that they’re expecting 5000-6000 people to attend each day of the event. In addition to massive crowds, I fully expect that we’ll see some amazingly ridiculous cheering and fanaticism. Cyclocross is not exactly America’s national pass time, so American cyclocross events don’t often elicit the same enthusiasm that they do in Europe. That will not be case this weekend. The U.S.’s biggest cyclocross fans will be out in full force, with some back up from European visitors and guests from around the world. Expect awesome crowds, creative fans (I bet we’ll see some face/body paint despite the cold temperatures), and lots of noise.
4. The possibility of home court victories for the American cyclists! If you’re not familiar with the US’s world champion roster, check out USA Cycling’s report and 22-person roster here. I do not usually shine with national pride, but I inexplicably swell with patriotism during sporting events. I can’t help it. The world championships are here, at home, and may never return to US soil. Our American cyclists have to make the most of this moment and capture some podium spots. Win on their home court. Prove to the Europeans that America can produce cyclocross champions. Velo News has a good analysis the American chances of winning this weekend.
If you have a weekend with few plans and live in any state that borders Kentucky (or are otherwise reasonably close), you should cancel your plans and make your way to Louisville. If you aren’t able to make it this weekend, no worries. CX Magazine is live streaming the event right here. Also, check the Louisville 2013 Facebook page for updates.
I’m going to be taking lots of pictures, checking out the course, pits, and venue, and talking to as many cyclists and spectators as I can. Next week, I’ll be reporting back about the weekend and the races. Leave a comment if you want me to try to chat with a specific cyclist, or get a picture of a particular part of the course, or whatever. I’ll do my best.
Photo credit to Nathan Bolster of Bolster Photography.