Your Favourite Fall Sport (You Haven't Yet Heard Of)!

Sep 01, 2016
Blog post & photos submitted by John Hauser, The Silver Goose Race Committee Organizer

Your new favourite fall sport, Cyclocross, is coming to BruceGreySimcoe.  Sure, maybe you haven’t heard of it yet, but you are going to love it!

SilverGoose_2_Blog.jpgCyclocross is bicycle racing's most spectator friendly discipline. The sport began at the turn of the 20th century, in the fields and on the roads of France and Belgium. Road racers looking to extend their season into the fall and winter raced from one point to another with no defined route. Whoever got to the finish location fastest was declared the winner of the day. Cyclists were not confined to the roads: farmer’s fields, wooded trails, and river crossings were all fair game. The popularity of the sport grew in Europe, especially since the extreme nature of the races was beloved by spectators.

As the century trudged forward, the sport of cyclocross changed.  No longer were the races held from point to point; now they are held on a short circuit measuring 2.5 -3.5 km.  Undoubtedly this was a change made to make the sport even more spectator friendly. The courses feature steep hills, tree roots, rocks, sand pits, and barriers, including stairs and hurdles. Racers are forced to dismount their bikes to get through these barriers, quickly remounting as they race to a final bell lap for thirty minutes to one hour, depending on the race category.

Modern professional cyclocross racing is dominated by Belgian racers.  To Belgians, cyclocross is as much a part of their countries national identity as hockey is to Canadians. Spectators surround the race circuit munching on French fries dipped in mayonnaise, many sip a beer.  They are able to be inches from the race action, standing right on the side of the race circuit.  The atmosphere is electric. It is this race experience that is currently developing in North America.  

It is only in the last few years that races of the highest calibre have taken place “across the pond”.  As it just so happens, Simcoe County is producing Canada’s newest generation of international contenders in the sport.  In 2015, three Junior athletes (two boys and one girl) from Simcoe County went to the World Cyclocross Championships in Heusden-Zolder, Belgium.  Prior to their international races, these racers competed in Midland’s Little Lake Park, at a race called The Silver Goose that is quickly becoming one of the most popular cyclocross races in Ontario.

For 2016, The Silver Goose has been selected to host the Ontario Provincial Cyclocross Championships.  On Sunday, November 13th the province's best racers will challenge one another on the course in Little Lake Park to take the title as the best in the province. So, come out, let’s build the electric atmosphere of your new favourite fall sport.

In addition to hosting Cyclocross Provincial Championships, BruceGreySimcoe will also host two top level races in the provincial points cyclocross race series, called The Ontario Cup.  The dates and locations for these events are:  
These three races are partnering to form the Northern Cyclocross Series.  Special prizing will be available to racers that attend all three events.  Visit http://cyclesimcoe.ca/northern-cx/ for more info.