On a sunny, Saturday morning, I spent an hour tooling around our new Cylcocross Venue at Evan Bandman Park. Costing $125,000 and touted as having challenges for all abilities, I was curious if I could even survive a once-around on an old school mountain bike with no suspension and street tires.
If you don't know what cyclocross is, picture spandex-clad road bikers magically transported to the woods where they have to ride up sandy hills, dodge trees and run through mud pits.
Located at 1701 River Road, Eva Bandman's 59 acres are bordered by the Ohio River and Beargrass Creek. The cyclocross course winds through an open field and passes into a small wooded area. The open field has three low dirt mounds and a huge sand pit whose only purpose seems to be eating bicycles. Lacking spandex and a cyclocross bike, I never managed more than a few feet across this quicksand. Fortunately, there were only a couple of other riders out that morning and neither seemed to notice me flailing about in the sand.
The wooded area is by far the most fun and dangerous. Featuring a huge sand hill (is it fate that the Nuget Sand Company is next door to the park?) as well as some earthen plunges that drop you 25 feet or so into the trees, there were ample opportunities to make my knees burn with pain. Needless to say, I got nowhere on the sand hill, but loved weaving through the trees after downhill plunges.
Lungs and knees attesting to my lack of regular bike riding, I enjoyed looking at the Ohio River and Beargrass Creek during my frequent breaks.
It was a good ride, even on an old bike.
Read more at the Louisville Metro page on cyclocross .
And don't forget to wear your helmet.
Photo: Shawn Nevins