The Thrilla Cyclorcross series began in Bend Thursday evening.
“One of my favorite disciplines in the world of racing bicycles,” said race participant John Fry. “It is this bizarre, beautiful form of racing.”
Cyclocross is the sport of racing bicycles over rough terrain that usually requires carrying the bicycle over obstacles. It is a race series different than the rest.
“It’s a circuit race,” Fry said. “So you’re you’re doing laps on a course. The courses can range from very technical, which will favor a technical rider, to just a horsepower course which favors a rider maybe who isn’t as technical, but has a lot more fitness.”
“There’s these little stairs that you have to carry your bike up, and then it takes you down to where these people are going to the sandpit, and there’s just some little switchbacks that you go back to the far back,” said 11-year-old Soren Donnelly.
At the Athletic Club of Bend, the Horner Cycling Foundation’s Thrilla Cyclocross Series began Thursday with close to 200 participants.
Chris Horner, the 7-time Tour de France and Olympic competitor, as well as the only American to win the Tour of Spain, was involved in the event this year,
“It first started back in the day with all the road racers,” Horner said. “They used to get cold when they’re racing their bikes over in Europe. They’d jump off their bikes and start running on the side of the road to warm up all their fingers and your toes and stuff, and then hop back on the bikes. And then they decided, ‘Hey, let’s do this thing called cyclocross’ and they started that.
Each lap is close to two miles. Racers complete as many laps as they can in 30 or 45 minutes.
“You’re playing this chess match with the other racers while trying to defeat the course yourself without it kind of defeating you,” said Fry. “So yeah, it’s awesome. It’s very fun.”
The series is free, but donations are encouraged.
The races continue every Thursday through the end of September.