Cyclocross is the fastest-growing and most exciting discipline of bicycle racing, and it’s coming to Norfolk for the first time on December 17.
Cyclocross (‘cross or CX for short) originated in Europe in the early 1900’s as a way for road racers to maintain their fitness over the winter months and slowly evolved into its present form. Riders in a cyclocross race compete for a set amount of time between 30 minutes and an hour, riding laps of a fixed course. Courses generally include a variety of terrain, from pavement to gravel to grass to dirt (mud is preferred). In addition, courses include barriers and other obstacles that force riders to dismount and carry their bikes; this has given rise to the popular analogy that ‘cross is like steeplechase, but sometimes you have to carry the horse.
Although there has never been a race in Norfolk, cyclocross has a strong footprint in Hampton Roads. The Suffolk-based Rogue Velo Racing club has won the team championship of the Virginia Cyclocross Series three times. Rogue Velo also hosted two races this season, including the Virginia State Championship race held at Mt. Trashmore on November 13.
The Rustbucket Races are organized by a group of local cyclists who had never ridden in or even attended a cyclocross race before beginning the planning process earlier this year. Given the explosive growth of bikes and bike infrastructure in Norfolk, though, it was time to do something to pitch in and do our part to help keep the momentum going.
The Rustbucket Races will begin at 9:00 a.m. at 1351 Hanson Avenue (northeast of the intersection of Princess Anne Road and Tidewater Drive). There are races for all ages and levels of experience, and it is free to watch – bring a lawn chair and check it out! The Ferg’s Missing Ingredient food truck will be serving lunch, and riders and spectators will re-convene for a post-race social at Bold Mariner Brewing Company at 4:00 p.m.
We are grateful for the help from the City of Norfolk, especially the dedicated staff of the Departments of Public Works and Recreation, Parks, and Open Space, to make our vision a reality. The race also would not be possible without our sponsors, especially Hund’s Re-Cycle Factory, the presenting sponsor of the Rustbucket Races, and the presenting sponsor of the Men’s Elite race, Local Heroes Comics.