words and photos: Joseph Kennedy
I have to admit, there was a point in time when I thought cyclocross was just a fad, something hipsters were into. Every time I saw an Instagram post with the hashtag #CrossIsComing, I’d roll my eyes and scroll on by. The thing was, I had never actually participated in a cross race, so my opinion was one of ignorant observance. I saw something that I didn’t totally understand and just wrote it off. It’s something our society seems to have an issue with at every level. Along with this, the CX scene in Hawaii is almost non-existent… at least in the form that I assume most people on the mainland know it to be. We do have an extremely small CX scene that is completely underground. Usually beginning at the very end of October and lasting till Christmas. It’s organized by one of Hawaii’s key cycling figures, known affectionately as “The Godfather”. Every year he organizes impromptu CX races and sets up a course using tiny marker flags stuck into the ground to denote the route with the help of whoever is there early enough to lend a helping hand. Word gets spread by the coconut wireless and social media in regards to the location and start time with about 20-30 people of all abilities showing up on MTB and CX bikes. Everyone lines up, we do one practice lap and then its go time for 40 minutes. No registration, no categories, no acknowledged winners and therefore no podium. Beer hand-ups are prevalent and the fun factor is about as high as it can get. So after acquiring a CX capable bicycle last November and participating in the every-other-week races, I was hooked. I now totally understand why CX has such a following and why people are so excited to hashtag photos on Instagram with #CrossIsComing or #CrossIsHere. It all made sense and it is now the only form of bicycling racing that I now look forward to. No ego, no BS… just a bunch of people getting together to have fun, ride bikes and drink beer early in the morning before the all the softball, soccer, or baseball teams and families show up to the park we happen to be at.
As InterBike quickly rolled around on the calendar this year, I had just finished grad school and hadn’t started working yet. I needed a vacation… a reset button of sorts, so I jumped at the opportunity to check out InterBike and CrossVegas while I had the time available and having never been to Las Vegas to begin with, it needed to happen. With CrossVegas being a UCI world cup event, I was really excited to get a chance to see what CX racing was like at the highest level out there. The course looked super fun and extremely technical, so it was no surprise that both the elite Women and elite Men’s races were action packed… But I still wish there were beer hand-ups involved. Below is a collection of images I was able to capture while wandering around the massive soccer complex trying to find an exciting location to watch the action…
UCI Elite Women
UCI Elite Men