Bikes, Cowbells & Beer on a Sunday Morning- My Cyclocross Experience.

Cyclocross racers carry their bikes up a set of stairs at Cerise Park in Montorse, Colorado.

Photo by Angela Moyer

Cyclists sprinting through the woods, hopping over barriers, climbing steep muddy hills and making sharp hairpin turns. This is cyclocross and this is how I spent my Sunday morning.

Over the past 2 or 3 years, the sport of cyclocross has exploded here on the Western Slope of Colorado. I've attended races in Grand Junction, Fruita and Carbondale to cheer on my fiance and our friends. I've even taken photos of the action for local publications, but I never competed until this past weekend.

For as long as I can remember, Hollis Brake and the crew at Cascade Bicycles (our favorite local bike shop) have been dreaming about hosting their own race series here in Montrose. They had the chance to make it happen on October 25th, 2015 and I must say that they really pulled it off!

We arrived early on race day to register (I'll admit that it took some convincing for me to actually race, as I've seen some gnarly injuries). Montrose is generally pretty dry, but it had rained every day leading up to the race for the past week. We got lucky and had a dry, sunny, beautiful weekend. The muddy spots in the wooded sections had dried up by the time my race began at 10 and the grass was damp, but didn't present any issues.

Tammy Kulpa looks ahead on the course at Cerise Park in Montrose, Colorado.
Photo by Laura Matacia

The course was a great mix of straightaways, chicanes, barriers, single track, and short steep climbs and descents. The terrain varied from grass to crushed gravel, forest, a pump track and even a steep set of stairs (only for the A and B classes, thankfully!). There was plenty of cheering, heckling, and beer hand ups which added a certain ambiance to the morning.

Tammy Kulpa navigates the pump track at Cerise Park during a cyclocross race.

Photo by Russell Ickes

Ok here is the part where I talk about how great my SP-L3s were. I chose to ride with flat pedals and sneakers, like I do when I mountain bike. I like having the freedom to easily hop off my bike while bombing up a hill if the person in front of me doesn't make it without having to think about un-clipping from my pedals.

My SP-L3s kept my feet warm and dry during my practice laps when the grass was still wet. The Vibram soles provided me just enough stickiness to keep my feet from slipping off the pedals. A lot of mountain bikers, especially those who race downhill, prefer a stiffer sole (ask us about our firmer sole option). Since I'm petite and this course was mainly flat, I had no issues with the soft, flexible sole on my pedals.

Since my soles are a little worn (I wear these for pretty much everything) I was little worried that I wouldn't have enough traction if I had to push my bike uphill (which I did twice) but I was able to stay on my toes and sprint up the dirt hill with no slipping. I definitely appreciated the light weight and flexibility of the shoe during this section of the course!

The SOM Footwear team took 2nd place in cyclocross at Cerise Park in Montrose, Colorado.

I was stoked to bring my 2nd place trophy to the office today! The Cascade crew (and everyone else who helped out) did an awesome job bringing cyclocross to Montrose. The New Belgium Beer Garden was pretty sweet too. Well done everyone!

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