A participant races through a straight away at the It's a Bexar Cross Race. Photo by Scott Ball.

The early Saturday morning rain may have dampened some plans in San Antonio, but it only added to the fun in an open field at Brooks City Base on the city’s southeast side for an event billed as “Bicycle Heaven’s San Antonio Cross, it’s a Bexar.

Imagine a competitive bike race with the terrain built for mountain bikes – water crossings, bridges, wooden barriers, and mud – and add the speed of road bikes. The cycling community in San Antonio is growing so many have heard the word cyclocross (CX) mentioned before – but if you haven’t, here’s how a cyclocross race works:

Cyclists start together and are given a specific time for each race. The competition normally ranges from 30 minutes to one hour of constant ride time, riding the same course over and over. Cyclists wait for someone to make a mistake or lose energy as scores are based on how many laps they complete.

It’s a game of endurance and technical ability.

Specialty bikes are needed to compete; lightweight yet sturdy, built for speed, and tires for riding on a multitude of surfaces. Jumping barricades is probably the most technical maneuver in the repertoire of a CX racer. It involves dismounting your bike, jumping over the wooden barricade, and then hopping back on – all while keeping rhythm and time. Think Zorro running and jumping on to his black steed. It’s kind of like that.

Jumping over wooden barricades is a classic CX maneuver. Photo by Scott Ball.
Jumping over wooden barricades is a classic CX maneuver. Photo by Scott Ball.

This isn’t your ordinary bike race. Men wearing short shorts mock the contestants with blaring bullhorns. Heavy metal plays loud in the background. Plenty of beer. It’s quite the scene.

The event was organized by Bicycle HeavenJoe’s Pro Bikes, Kickstand Racing, BikeReg.com. It’s a welcome addition to the variety of other cycling events that occur this time of year. Without a doubt, this on of the best spectator sports – just don’t get upset if you get splashed with a little mud. Okay, more than a little.

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Scott Ball

Scott Ball is San Antonio Report's photo editor and grew up in San Antonio.