Ultra cross is not like every day CX. It’s old school! What follows is NOT a race and it is NOT an event. It’s merely my suggestion of what would be a great ultra cross route in Boulder, and the date and time below seems like a good time to do this. If you do choose to do this at that time you’re doing so on your own volition.
For those of you not in the know, cyclocross didn’t always have man made barriers and run ups. It used to traverse much rougher ground where streams, logs, ditches and grades too steep to ride were just part of the course. Ultracross (UCX) takes these origins and the longer distance format of the UK’s classic Three Peaks race. Most UCX events are 30-60 miles, but here in the US all of the American Ultracross events are East of the Mississippi. That makes me sad.
Distance: 52.5 miles
Surface: ~1/3 paved, ~1/3 gravel, ~1/3 more interesting
GPS map: Map My Ride version, Garmin Connect
Cost: This isn’t a race or an event so it only costs you what ever a normal 50 mile ride costs you – nothing
Support: See cost
Location: A good place to start is the Mosaic Cycles shop at 1001 Lee Hill Rd just West of Broadway.
Date/Time: A Sunday such as October 14, 2012 at 9 am would be good. I’ll say a few words at 8:45.
After Party/Awards: Much love to Aaron of Mosaic Cycles for opening his shop. If you grabbed a bell we’ll pass out schwag at the shop. This will happen at 2:00. Some of you will be done early so you might want to bring a weather appropriate change of clothes and your favorite mug. There will be post ride beverages.
The Course: The course linked above contains some of the most fun and most challenging segments in the foothills outside Boulder. I can tell you what’s guaranteed:
- Pavement, gravel, jeep roads and singletrack
- Fast paved downhills
- Rideable grades up to 18%
- 2 run-ups you won’t be able to ride
- 2 set of stairs
- An obstacle you won’t be able to bunny hop unless you’re Danny MacAskill
No guarantees but you might see some of the following:
- A creek crossing
- snow, rain, sun, mud, sand, blood, beer
- A princess doing bacon handups
- Pros and national champs who are faster than you
You will NOT see any of the following (because it’s not a race – get it?)
- A pit area
- Chip timing
- Course markings
- Tons of adoring fans
- Sheep (probably)
This takes place on open roads and trails. You MUST follow all traffic laws and rules of courtesy if you encounter other road/trail users. Nothing is worth giving cyclists a bad name. I promise there are sections where you are unlikely to see anyone else and plenty of backroads.
WARNING: You can crash just about anywhere but there is one place you’ll especially need to take care. There is a semi-cliff at one point in the course. In good conditions it’s rideable if you’re skilled and careful (more so on a MTB) but a fall here could seriously ruin your day. I’ll note it on the map when it comes out and if you appear on the morning of Oct 14 I’ll remind you. Consider yourself forewarned. It looks like this:
Preparation: To prepare yourself you may choose to read the article Advice for Friends of Cyclocross by Eugène Christophe from the 20 Jan 1921 issue of Le Miroir Des Sports. Christophe won the prestigeous French cyclocross championship six times 1909, 1910, 1911, 1912, 1913, and 1914. Note: Christophe rode a fixie (bad ass that he was) – you don’t have to.