I love cross season. I think it is a great cycling sport as it seems to bring the roadies and the mountain bikers all into the same circus ring. When I was first introduced to cyclocross racing I was told about all the fun aspects such as feeling like you can’t breathe because you’ve been pegged for the last 30 minutes, the bacon hand ups, and the hecklers.
It sounded great, the crowd being into the racing is good for the sport as a whole. It drives the racers to do the best they can and the spectators feed off of each other to have a great time. It should work like that. It should, but when I go to big cross races, the hecklers are getting it wrong in my opinion.
I’d like to think that we are all at a race to promote cycling, racing, and have a good time, but I can’t understand how telling the over weight 40 something year old rider towards last place that he is losing or he sucks is bettering anyone’s experience but the side liners. Even more frustrating is when I see this coming from people who clearly didn’t race that day.
Look, I’m all for heckling. I’m all for calling the riders out who are clearly sandbagging the cat 4 or cat 5 race, but that’s different. I think a proper heckle to the field should make both the racer and the spectators laugh. A perfect example from this past weekends Chi Cross race was a spectator yelling that he had seen a particular racer in an adult movie because he had a 1970’s porn mustache. Hilarity followed and the racer smiled and kept pedaling because he knew when he decided to wear that man trophy what was involved with such a decision.
We should want people, both spectators and racers to enjoy this sport. Enjoyment and enthusiasm are good for progression. I feel bad for the middle to back of the pack racers who are trying, who maybe at their first race ever, and the crowd is cruel for the sake of approval from the person next to them.
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