Cyclocross World Championships - Louisville did great
There were some snafus but overall it was a great event.
I attended the UCI cyclocross world championships in Louisville, Kentucky this past weekend. You probably know by now that the elite racing was moved from Sunday to Saturday because the course sits on a flood plain. As the weather conditions worsened, it became apparent by Sunday what was once a dry (okay, muddy and snowy) course would be under several feet of the Ohio River, which runs alongside the venue. A last minute (and in hindsight very wise) audible was called and the main events were moved up a day to Saturday.
Mother Nature isn’t a cyclocross fan as the weather in the Louisville area ranged from tornado warnings and snow flurries, to rain that would cause potential flooding. Locusts were the only missing ingredient in what people were jokingly calling the “crosscalypse.”
The Euros took it with a shrug and in classic fashion resigned to the fact that the world championships were going to happen a day earlier. Stuff happens. Plus, this added to the Euro flavor that is sometimes missing from American ’cross races.
So here I was with my media credentials around my neck checking out my first UCI cyclo cross World Championships. Reports had the crowd attendance at between nine to ten-thousand screaming, chanting fans, but it felt like a lot more. Or maybe the many swigs of bourbon I had from friends were impairing my ability to make an accurate count. Chris Smith of Lazer Helmets put his official count at “a bunch” followed up by “it was rad.” Who could argue with that?
The atmosphere was amazing and the crowds got into the spirit by chanting “USA, USA, USA” whenever a mud-splattered American kit came into sight. Equally loud were the cheers for the Belgians, the Dutch or whoever was in the lead. However, behind the cheers and back slapping of a job well done, the world championships had been in a dire financial situation just several weeks prior.
To quote their website Exergy is a “multifaceted renewable energy company entrenched in wind, solar, bioenergy, geothermal and hydro” and was to be a title sponsor of the UCI cyclo cross world championships. However, the company wasn’t able to meet its financial obligations for the event and things weren’t looking good for the race. Luckily WD-40 lube, Trek Bicycles, Papa John’s Pizza and the city of Louisville stepped up to help fill the gap. It was touch and go, but as the clock ticked down to the race date things always seem to work themselves out, so the Worlds stayed in Louisville.
While everyone behind the scenes thanked their lucky stars for everything working out (except of course for the flooding which necessitated moving the race up a day) the fans didn’t mind. Everyone I spoke to said they were having a great time and no one mentioned “You Know Who” or doping. It was quite refreshing. Usually people always ask my take on a doping news item that pops up. Instead it was questions like, “Did you talk to Powers?” or “Do you want more bourbon?”