While it had nothing to do with Black Sheep Cartel in any way shape or form I feel I must comment on an underground cyclocross race which we staged over the weekend, the West Bottoms Urban Cyclocross Challenge.
To fill the lull in cycle racing between the end of cyclocross season and the start of road season (it started this weekend actually) several of us over the past few years have developed an underground cycling series. No USA cycling licenses, very little spandex, and more often than not, no gears or breaks.
The West Bottoms Urban Cyclocross Challenge, a full fledged cx race, on par with any cx race you may have raced in the past, with some alterations. For those unfamilar with Kansas City, Mo, the West Bottoms looks like a Post–apocalyptic no man’s land home to massive brick warehouses and factories in different degrees of vacancy and disrepair built at the turn of the century. Basically an area where you can do whatever you please and not worry about what might happen. A perfect place to set up a cx course. No parks and rec departments to deal with, down and dirty bare bones show and go cx racing at it’s best.
The course its self was just a bit over a mile in length, complete with your typical cx course offerings; barriers, run up’s, paved roads, and a nice off chamber area as well. However, this time the barriers were broken down office furniture, dumpsters and bags of trash. Loading docks were used as run ups. And you can’t forget the pigeon guano filled alleys, as were a cobble stone street beneath the 12th Street bridge and broken glass as far as the eye can see. Even a discarded christmas tree found in an alley was drafted into service as a barrier which most ran right over.
15 hearty souls showed up, most unsure what challenges lay ahead of them. Most had never raced a cx race before, and many had no idea what cyclocross even was. Cross is hard to easily describe let alone trying to describe what our bastardized version would entail. Things went incredibly well, one guy got pissed that we moved a dumpster and managed to move it blocking off one turn, however the racers were on the ball quickly found another way into the alley filled with guano and broken glass keeping the race going.
15 started, 14 finished, everyone had fun and somehow there were no flats. Hopefully we can convince those who enjoyed themselves to come out this fall and try a legit cyclocross race. Who knows, maybe we can convince them that they should join the Cartel and rock the pink too. (Invitations are always open, contact us for more information.)
Now that road season is upon us, I really need to figure out what I’m going to do. Racing road on a cx bike was a bad idea, I tried that last year with less than stellar results, not enough gears to keep up. I guess I could use my old Bianchi, I suppose with a few upgrades in components it would serve me well enough, it just wouldn’t be as fancy as all of my competitors fancy pants machines.