This was to be my first race in a long while, and though I was looking forward to the mid-night hi-jinx of the Dark Knight, I was sadly destined to be but a spectator.
With that said, I meant to do it up in style – We got whole family packed up, snacks, drinks and cowbells in hand and set off to C.O.P. to soak in all in.
For those not entirely familiar with cyclocross, one of the most beautiful things about it (other than getting to watch the pain and suffering of others) is how truly spectator friendly it is. From our main vantage point (where most of the fans were camped out) we could see roughly half the course, which included a sand pit, a number of harrowing corners, a log strewn ascent and the finish chute. Turn down the lights and we had all the makings of a stellar evening… The Dark Knight didn’t disappoint.
We managed to catch the C, B and A groups and as each group geared up to go, the sun got lower and lower and the crowd got louder and louder. It was an electric atmosphere to be in… The crowd was so crazy the officials told us not to ring our bells along the finish shoot because it was too distracting for the racers and volunteers!
The night was full of pain and suffering to be sure, but almost everybody was out there to put on a show… The full spectrum was out in force – From Katy Curtis rocking’ her badass Venom outfit, to Mike Sarnecki sporting his sunday best.
The racing was outstanding as well… Watching Kate and Pat Doyle battle back and forth got the crowd frothing at the mouth, and watching the “A” race leader Shawn Bunnin hit the deck on the log-riddled ascent had everybody holding their breath, then laughing as he shook the whole thing off.
It was awesome to truly see an event like this from the sidelines, with no race-day pre-amble entering my head. It was inspiring for me to see “dad’s” go out there and rock in on the course, then come back into the crowd to be embraced by their kids, and entertaining to see the rabble of teens that came out to see what the hell was going on… “I never knew there was bike racing like this even existed!” was one of the comments I overheard ;-)
Pure entertainment for all involved.