New Mexico Cyclocross

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    photo by: Curtis Gillen

    Fiesta Cross at Balloon Fiesta Park

    Every year as we are graced with the beauty of fall in New Mexico, the bicycle racing community celebrates the end of the riding season with cyclocross racing. For those that don’t know, cyclocross looks a lot like a mashup of criterium road racing and short track mountain biking, with a generally rowdy and carefree atmosphere. As someone who used to race cyclocross when I lived in Colorado, I certainly appreciate this segment of bicycle racing and look forward to catching another race this season. Of course next time, in addition to having my camera gear ready, I will bring my son and some cow bells. Cyclocross spectators need cow bells and kids are relentless cow bell ringers!

    photo by: Curtis Gillen (racer: Grady Fowler)

    Cyclocross racing generally has a mix of dirt, grass, and some man made obstacles over undulating terrain. The Balloon Fiesta Park provides a great venue northwest of the main field and north parking lot. The fastest lap times were around five minutes in which racers endured suffering and fun through sand, pavement, and loose hardback. Although I didn’t capture any of the competitors dismounting over the first obstacles, the sand hill looked exhausting near the end of every lap.

    photo by: Curtis Gillen (lead rider: Ryan Travelstead, Second Rider: Grady Fowler)

    Although a purpose built cyclocross bike is ideal for racing cyclocross, it comes as no surprise that there are other ways of racing. The current gravel bike segment can easily cross over and many gravel bikes were inspired by CX bikes anyway. Another option is to just use your mountain bike as long as the race series allows it. In year’s past, I have used both a cyclocross bike and a hardtail mountain bike to race and found the mountain bike worked just fine for my competitive expectations, but the gearing can be a disadvantage on flat fast sections.

    photo by: Curtis Gillen
    photo by: Curtis Gillen (racer: Matt Eichenfield)

    If you haven’t been to a cyclocross race, I highly recommend checking out the scene. It is fast paced and very conducive to spectators and hecklers with the short course format. Speaking of hecklers, I hope to see more heckling at the next New Mexico Cyclocross race. I always appreciate spectator’s antics and when done in good taste, the heckling can be motivating.

    photo by: Curtis Gillen (Lead Racer: Douglas Torres, Second Racer: Thomas Jones)

    The New Mexico Cyclocross series is made possible by race enthusiasts and some like minded sponsors. Each race is hosted and organized by a different race team, club, business, or sponsor. The Fiesta Cross on November 4th was organized by 505 Cycling and Sports Systems, with support from other sponsors as well. For information on the 2018 New Mexico cyclocross race season, visit to see the event calendar. To see more photos from the Fiesta Cross Race, follow this link.

    photo by: Curtis Gillen (Racer: John Verheul)
    photo by: Curtis Gillen
    photo by: Curtis Gillen (racer: Matt Eichenfield)



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