Worlds Recap - To say that the days spent in Louisville were sublime would be an understatement. Walking up to the tent each day we were greeted by Niels Albert’s mechanics and swath of no fewer than 7 race ready bikes. Chris, head mechanic, told me that they brought over 7 as a backstop against any potential problems - Niels would have a new bike for each lap if necessary! That’s World Champion level preparation and a testament to the focus necessary at the very top. When you are World Champion you get lots of special stuff with Rainbows on it...
So we’d roll up to the tents, break out our display cases and then the day would simply flow from one conversation to the next...usually about brakes, often about rider X of Y, but always about cyclocross. In the months before the race I openly worried about the choice of venue - middle of nowhere was my first lament - but it turns out that Louisville is actually right in the middle of everything. Riders came from near and far to race the Masters Worlds sure, but I was more impressed with the number of people - of FANS - that came just to watch. By race day there were roughly 10,000 people on site and most had come from elsewhere. Think about that for a second - fly into town, get a hotel, food, entertainment, transportation...it was at least a $500 (very conservatively) propostion to come to the race, and more like $1000-$1500 if you figure $300 for airfare, $100+ per night of lodging, $50/day for the car, $50/day for food, etc...that people would gladly drop those dollars to stand around in the middle of nowhere and watch racing is awesome.
A big THANKS to Louisville for all that they did to host a truly impressive Worlds. The course was tough, the weather spot on, and the hospitality of the town was appreciated.
Speaking of....I’ve read, and even said, that it was a truly EURO course and experience...i’d like to amend that to say that it was a World Class course, but well and truly an American experience. I don’t think we need to recreate Europe to validate our racing...we are doing just fine at creating true cross racing in the U.S. - from CrossVegas to Louisville this year has been a showcase of variety!