Cyclocross series ends with falling rain, flying mud; STGnews Photo Gallery

SANTA CLARA – With temperatures hovering in the low 40s and a steady rain falling on the ground, the Southern Utah Cyclocross series ended on a slick note Saturday as riders navigated the cold, wet and muddy course at Gubler Park in Santa Clara.

Riders navigate a wet, muddy course during the Southern Utah Cyclocross series finale held at Gubler Park, Santa Clara, Utah, Dec. 13, 2014 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News
Riders navigate a wet, muddy course during the Southern Utah Cyclocross series finale held at Gubler Park, Santa Clara, Utah, Dec. 13, 2014 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

Invented by road bikers who wanted a way to train during the offseason, cyclocross is a mixed surface bike race that shares similarities with road racing, mountain biking and even a little obstacle course running, racer Jay Bartlett said.

Popular in European countries where road biking has a stronghold, the sport is gaining a lot of momentum in the United States.

The Southern Utah Cyclocross 2014 series featured four races on three different courses. Riders in each category, or skill level, earned points that were determined by their finishes.

At Saturday’s race, the overall series winners in each category were crowned.

The Gubler Park course featured grass, pavement, gravel, obstacles and plenty of mud as riders raced as many laps as they could in a given period of time.

“I race Cat B, so it is 50 minutes of just go as fast as you can and just hope you don’t blow up,” Bartlett said.

Bartlett rode all four races in the series, and though he didn’t garner enough points to put him in first, he said he hoped to at least make it to the podium.

“I just got my butt kicked on the last races,” he said. “There are some fast guys.”

Riders navigate a wet, muddy course during the Southern Utah Cyclocross series finale held at Gubler Park, Santa Clara, Utah, Dec. 13, 2014 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News
Riders navigate a wet, muddy course during the Southern Utah Cyclocross series finale held at Gubler Park, Santa Clara, Utah, Dec. 13, 2014 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

Adding to the difficulty and fun of Saturday’s race was a steady downfall of rain, which made the course extra slick in places.

Racer Shane Christensen said:

It’s all-out and crazy. The hardest part of it is when you start you just don’t have a chance to let up, but the best part is that we never stop because of the weather. So, today is a great example of what cyclocross is all about because of the rain. It is a lot of fun, and there is a great group of people who gets together to race. And it is great for the youth.

Christensen’s son also raced in the series, which has become a family event for many, with several generations of families participating and spectating.

Karrie Edwards said she came to cheer on her husband while he rode through obstacles, mud, sand and rocks and jumped over things. It’s a lot of fun to come out and watch the racing, she added.

The final race of the series added a touch of the holidays with festive music, hot cocoa and riders bedecked with reindeer antlers, bows, bells and even ugly sweaters.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.

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Email: hreina@stgnews.com

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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