Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Why does cross have to be "something" except hard?

I hear it all the time. "Cross is this" and "cross is that". Or something along the lines of "it's not cross because it's not fill-in-the-blank". Common forms are below.

It's not cross if there aren't hurdles.
It's not cross unless it's raining.
Cross is all about mud.
It's not cross if there's singeltrack.
Cross shouldn't be a grass crit.
It's not cross if it's 70 degrees.

I'll tell ya one thing. The only thing cross should be is hard. Cross isn't anything in particular. The racers make it a race. Not the course. Not the weather. Not the current UCI regulations. Not the temperature. Gimme a break. Race each other. Not the course.

I don't know why, but the hurdles thing really bugs me. It's a bike race. It's not a get-on-and-off-your-bike race. Throwing random hurdles into a field is rather unimaginative and rarely changes the face of the race. Obstacles should be there to break the rythm of the race and force changes.

What's the point of all this? As usual, I don't have much of a point. It just makes me giggle when I overhear a rider in their second season of racing cross telling someone else what cross "should be" or "isn't". The only thing it should be is hard. Now go race your bike.