Because nights come earlier these days, the sixth and final race of the 2015 cyclocross series started a little bit early.
“It's a low-key, local race,” said race director Lee Waldman. “It's like getting together with friends.”
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But racers put forth some tough competition.
The reason the race works is because it is for all skill levels, said racer Chris McGee of Golden.
“We say from eight to 80,” McGee said. But sometimes there's younger or older out there racing.
The weekly series started in September, bringing together cyclists on Wednesday evenings near Johnson and South Golden roads. Cyclocross modifies a road bike with knobby tires and stronger brakes so it can be raced off-road.
The race is truly unique, said racer Megan Hottman. And the course is different every week.
It includes obstacles, both man-made and natural and some of which require racers get off their bikes.
And there's hand-ups — sometimes it's food, sometimes it's beer. For this race, Eric Francis and his team from Pedal Pushers Cyclery in Golden were passing out waffle-bacon-hot dogs as competitors raced past the tent.
Monique Twite and Liz Bravman cheered on the 10 “kiddos on the cyclocross team” of Golden Bicycle eX-perience (GBX) Juniors.
GBX is a youth mountain and cyclocross team that just started this spring, Bravman said.
“It's an opportunity for them to come and learn not only bike-riding skills,” she said, “but skills about health and wellness, safety, team camaraderie, trail respect, bike maintenance and, most importantly, how to have fun on the bike.”
Jesse Swift, a teacher at Bell Middle School, had a couple of fans — former students now part of the Golden High School mountain bike team — cheering him on.
Watching the race is just as beneficial as racing, agreed R.J. Duarte and Wyatt Young, sophomores at Golden High School.
“You get inspired,” Duarte said. “You get to see what you aspire to be in the racing community.”
Racer Nicole Novembre of Golden likes getting in a mid-week race. And it's convenient — Novembre can ride her bike over to the race after work.
The cyclocross series started five years ago, and it's gone through a grassroots progression, race director John Shearer said.
People come to ride and train, he said. But they also come to “have a lot of fun with it.”
“There's a big sense of community,” Hottman said. “When we're not racing, we're cheering the others on. We're lucky to have cyclocross in Golden.”
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