Cyclocross Cranks Up For Competition

Kevin ThomasContributor IIOctober 15, 2010

Most of you out there are probably wondering what cyclocross is. “It’s kind of a cross between road biking and mountain biking, and for the most part a person is biking in grass, sand and gravel,” said organizer and senior member Ben Grier. “There are certain barriers that require you to get off your bike and run over.”

Cyclocross is a sport that has been developing over the past few years. “The sport has just exploded over the last few years because people are intrigued by the mix of road and mountain biking, especially in the southeast,” Cycling Club President Jesse Miller said. Cyclocross participation increased over 200 percent last year alone.

“Another reason people like cyclocross is because it’s a winter sport, so it keeps people motivated to train throughout the winter,” Grier said.

The Clemson Cyclocross Clash is going to be held on Oct. 24 at Nettles Park in Clemson. The event will last from 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. and is open to the public. There will be seven races throughout the day: two collegiate events followed by two for women and three for men that are both open to the public. None of the races will last longer than one hour. The Clemson Cycling Club is putting on the event.

The Clemson Cycling Club became officially recognized as a club sport in 2005 and has 30 to 40 active racers along with 100 to 150 active members. The Cycling Club competes in the SECCC. This race is the first of seven cyclocross races in the upcoming season.

There will be anywhere between four and seven collegiate teams at the competition, including Clemson. “There will be five to eight Clemson riders in the event spread out over all different categories, but the most will be in the men’s collegiate event,” Grier said.

The track this event will be held at will be 95 percent grass and 5 percent road. “The thing that will set this cyclocross event apart is we have some extremely steep hills,” Grier said, “which will set people apart technically, whether they are going to run or ride those.” The sport is very exciting to watch and extremely spectator-friendly. “This track is short and has so many turns that spectators will be seeing bikers all day long,” Miller said.

The Clemson Cycling Club would like to thank the Clemson Chamber of Commerce and many other local sponsors for helping them put on the event and provide the prize money. The Cycling Club hopes to see everyone out there on Oct. 24 at the Clemson Cyclocross Clash for a fun-filled day with prizes, music and races.

“If someone’s on the fence about wanting to come, I encourage them to go check out cyclocross on YouTube. There’s some cool stuff on there,” Grier said.

If you would like to find out more about this organization, you can find the Clemson Cycling Club on Facebook.