Cyclocross course takes riders over pavement, grass and obstacles

Published: Oct. 3, 2021 at 10:23 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Arctic Cross held its fifth cyclocross race of the season at Service High School on Sunday. What is cyclocross, you might ask?

“It’s a kind of bicycle racing. We use a wide variety of terrain, some grassy fields, a little bit of pavement, trails through the woods,” said Chris Wrobel, co-director of Arctic Cross. “And then we even have obstacles where people have to get off their bike and jump over some barriers.”

Though many might not have heard of cyclocross, Wrobel says it dates back to Europe in the early 1900s.

“Even during World War I,” Wrobel said. “People would use bicycles as a way to communicate back and forth from the trenches back to command, so they would be running back and forth through the mud, through the trenches, picking up their bikes over barbed wire and obstacles, trying not to get shot and it’s continued through Europe. It’s become quite popular throughout the rest of the world and we have our own series here in Anchorage.”

Cyclocross, in Anchorage at least, is a family friendly event.

“Just be prepared to have fun and see what happens,” Wrobel said. “It’s a very supportive race. It might be fast, it might be sloppy, you never really know what you’re gonna get but we have a great community here and there’s always people willing to help out if you need a hand.”

There is a strider event for the youngest participants who can’t quite manage riding a bike yet — and it isn’t only two wheels.

“We had a group of unicyclists come out this morning. They’re great,” Wrobel said. “They’ve been coming out to do this for years and years. We see people on fat bikes Some people bring their mountain bikes. You can bring any kind of bike you have. If it rolls...and you are the one powering it, you’re welcome to join us.”

The next race on the Arctic Cross calendar is Saturday at Goose Lake.

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