As time nears for our 29th annual OICX we have been busy prepping to host a fun yet competitive event for all ages and levels. In preparation for this thrilling race, we sat down with co-founder/owner Joe Royer to discuss the beginning and creation of the longest running Cyclocross (CX) Bicycle Race in the US.
In order to bring everyone up to speed on the history of this race and CX in general, this style of riding which began in Europe is a mélange of road cycling meets mountain biking and was meant to be a Fall/Winter sport for riders. As Royer said, “The kind of weather we have experienced lately is exactly what Cyclocross riders are accustomed to.”
Royer and Outdoors Inc. cycling manager Joel Glasgow recently attended the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) World Cup hosted in Las Vegas this year to ensure that our event along the banks of the Mississippi River Sunday, November 1st at the Green Belt Park in Harbortown has all the current flair that the premier international event has.
The course is 1.5 miles and asks pros to dismount from their cycles to carry them over obstacles, run up the hills of the park and ride all-out for as many loops of the course as possible in a designated amount of time. Royer says the top cyclists this race attracts can expect each lap to take between six to seven and a half minutes.
The race is not only for the expert and professional riders as it includes a B race for intermediate riders and even three races for children to ride through the course and short rides for kids just learning to ride a course without obstacles to kids riding on tricycles!
Speaking of obstacles, a unique feature found only in this race is that the obstacles riders carry their bikes over are made from recovered logs from the Mississippi River to further add a touch of local flavor. Royer refers to the Mighty Mississippi as North America's “Mt. Everest” and is proud of how amazed even the top cyclists are of this exclusive feature.
Royer summed up his three most important aspects of hosting a fun, respected and responsible race: “Make sure the fans, riders and other park users stay safe and have fun; follow all the guidelines from the UCI and USA Cycling and start on time; and be responsible in cleaning up the park following the celebration and party after the ride. We want to make sure park users have their beautiful, green park back Monday.”
As with this ride, much of Royer’s enthusiasm for his outdoors activities has stemmed from meeting, talking and working with people who find joy in their adventures. For him cycling, paddling the Mississippi (both still current activities) and climbing mountains in the Cascades of Washington to the Alps in Europe have afforded him the chances to engage with other enthusiasts of these sports.
“Experiencing the evolution of these sports has been fascinating over the years. Change is good,” said Royer.
Join us at the Green Belt Park in Harbortown this Sunday, November 1st to ride, cheer and/or just observe a race unique in the US and characteristic of Memphis. Riders can register beginning at 8am. Races begin at 9am for children, 9:20am for intermediate riders and 10am for expert/pros.
Please visit www.outdoorsinc.com or email Joe Royer <firstname.lastname@example.org> for more information and be sure to follow us on Strava for all future rides.
Written by: Hallie Burgess and Eric Bleier. Photos by Joe Royer.