The bikes are things of beauty -- light-weight, shiny and designed to roll over the smooth pavement for countless laps at top speed. It’s a competition marked by clean -- spotless cycling kit, smooth angles of pursuit and a nurturing audience gently encouraging the riders on.
Saturday at Woodland Park, another side of competitive cycling will be on display at the Anniston Cyclocross Race Under The Lights.
The approximately two-mile route will be anything but smooth. Riders will cross a treacherous sand pit that wears down the riders’ leg muscles. Two-feet tall barriers will force competitors to dismount, carry self and cycle over a wooden board and then remount. The course twists and turns over thick grass, steep berms and rocky ground.
Then there are the hecklers. As riders navigate the cyclocross course they are confronted by spectators dishing out insults.
A few examples:
“You're riding like you're going for a coffee!"
"All of your excuses are ahead of you, you’re going to have to ride faster to get one”
“Don’t worry, you’re not last… you’re like third from last!”
It’s all in good fun, and by the time a race ends, a rider and his or her bike is likely to be covered in mud, dirt, blood and/or sweat.
And remember these racers paid an entry fee for this privilege.
Spectators will pay nothing because the event is open to the public. The first race is scheduled to begin at 4:15 Saturday afternoon and wrap up around 8:30 that night.
Dress warmly and bring your best heckles.
Bob Davis is associate publisher/editor of The Anniston Star. Contact him at 256-235-3540 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @EditorBobDavis.