While in Las Vegas for the 2015 Interbike show, a few of us were lucky enough to attend a historic event, the first Cyclocross World Cup in the USA. Having never been to a professional cyclocross event in my life, I was very excited to see what all the hype was about. Luckily Shimano/Pearl Izumi was awesome and hooked us up with some free VIP tickets, and cowbells, for Cross Vegas.
Before the race started, we got the opportunity to walk around and check out all of the different obstacles and features that the course had to offer. With dirt, logs, and deep sand on various regions of the course, I was very interested and new it would be thrilling to see the teams race. The one thing that I was really surprised by was how deep the sand was. If you have ever tried to ride a mountain bike or cyclocross bike in thick sand, you know how difficult it is and how easy it is to fall. Let me tell you, this sand was thick and intimidating, I couldn't wait to see how 40 riders attacking this portion of the course was going to turn out.
After walking the course, we headed back to our Shimano area and got ready for the race. With an incredible view of the action and unlimited tacos and beer, it was a great way to unwind after the first real day of Interbike. Before I knew it, the race was off and the pack was barreling down the bridge just inches from where we were at. Watching these athletes compete in the first ever Cyclocross World Cup on US soil was a pretty special thing, and we were all really excited to be a part of it.
I quickly learned, that in a cyclocross race the action is fast and if you want the best views and action, we would have to leave the comfort of the VIP area and head to the obstacles. We quickly headed to the sand pit and the step obstacles to watch the various rider's techniques for conquering these challenges. It was incredible to watch the speed and precision with which every rider blasted through the sand pit. From the head of the pack to the very last rider, everyone blasted through the sand with little more than some wobbles. Not one rider crashed, making me realize how terribly inadequate I am at riding in the sand.
At the end of the day, the Germans conquered and swept the podium, and it was quite interesting to watch how riders looked as they finished. Some were laying on the ground gasping for air, while others looked barely phased at all from an hour of pure exertion. It was a thrilling event to watch, and definitely will not be my last cyclocross race. If you ever get the chance, it is definitely worth checking this exciting sport out. Well that is enough racing and cowbell for me, until next time.