The Indy Cycloplex is hosting the Major Taylor ‘Cross Cup: an off-road cycling race meets mud run meets the biggest block party you’ve ever been to –a cyclocross race. If this sounds a little chaotic at first, hold on to your hat. On December 3 and 4, over 300 cyclists from across the nation, from wobbly amateurs to seasoned elite riders, ages 7 to 50+, will congregate at the Indy Cycloplex, home of the Major Taylor Velodrome on Cold Spring Road, to race up the grassy hills, skid through muddy corners, and the navigate tricky obstacles the course has to offer.
Cyclocross is an off-road cycling race that is not quite mountain biking but definitely not road racing; the courses, equipment, and physical demands are in-between and unique. The bikes are specifically built for the muddy trails and obstacle-course-like sections. They look like road bikes but with knobby tires, increased mud/grass clearance, and sometimes have disc brakes for heightened stopping ability.
The race course itself is a short circuit with a variety of terrain, including grass, dirt/mud, gravel, and some pavement, and elements such as staircases, steep run-ups, or logs/boards requiring the rider to run with their bike. The trail-like race course is barricaded with snow fencing and ribbon tape to separate spectators from competitors, but the nature of cyclocross allows spectators to see most, if not all, of the course from one central location. With a little bit of hiking and some time to explore, you can see everything that the course has to offer. The landscape at the Indy Cycloplex lends itself well to ‘cross with a huge, central parking lot, permanent restrooms and infrastructure, and plenty of terrain including a stone staircase, singletrack trail, steep climbs, some twisty ‘power’ sections, and – if it rains— plenty of mud.
That’s where the mud run part comes in –there are sand pits and sections of the course that can become too muddy to ride, or sometimes course builders intentionally include an element too difficult to pedal through, forcing a racer to shoulder their bike and run with it. As you can imagine, these obstacles lend themselves to comical, muddy slip-and-slides as well as epic displays of skill and control.
And you better believe the course is lined with rowdy fans waiting to see this happen. The Major Taylor ‘Cross Cup features a festival surrounding the race course for family, spectators, and visitors. Riders will often stay at the event long after their race to watch the rest of the races, ‘pit’ for their teammates, and enjoy food and drink. Local food trucks, Sun King beer, dedicated cheering sections, and exciting competition will be part of the action on both race days.
Each day of racing includes a different event for all categories from beginner riders all the way up to professionals, and includes a variety of age groups for every member of the family to compete. The cyclists will be racing to earn series points, international ranking points, and cash and merchandise prizes. Riders will conquer the challenging course and cross the finish splattered with mud, pain-facing to the line to the sound of cheers from family, friends, and the excitable announcer. So come on over, grab a Wee Mac, and watch some great cycling action in one of the most family-friendly parks in the region. This event is free to the public.
The Major Taylor ‘Cross Cup
Saturday December 3 and Sunday December 4
Racing runs from 8:00am - 5:15pm each day
Indy Cycloplex, Home of the Major Taylor Velodrome, 3649 Cold Spring Road, 46222
Food Provided by: Der Pretzel Wagen and NY Slice Pizza
To learn more, visit www.indycycloplex.com