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Hurts so good

Cyntergy Hurtland cyclocross event is fun for all ages

Women’s Cat 2 at the start/finish line of Cyntergy Hurtland 2016

Propeller Communications

The third annual Cyntergy Hurtland cyclocross event takes place on November 12 at Owen Park and will feature quite a bit of local talent. Among the competitors will be Tulsa’s Chris Drummond, who is also training for the UCI Masters Cyclocross World Championships in Belgium in December.

Cyclocross is a unique cycling sport that combines an off-road obstacle course with a more traditional bicycle road race like St. Francis Tulsa Tough.

“Tulsa Tough is on the road, 100 percent on the pavement,” Drummond said, explaining the difference. “You typically have higher speeds, you’re in a group most of the time, so it’s pack racing. You can draft off people, so there are times where you’re working hard, times where you’re not working so hard. 

“Cyclocross is much different. You are rarely going speeds on a cyclocross course where drafting even comes into play. Most of the time, you’re kind of on your own. You can be in groups, but you’re not getting any benefit from that group. It’s 95 percent off-road. Occasionally, races will have starts on pavement, or short sections of pavement, but it’s [mostly] off-road, it’s grass. You dismount your bike and run over barriers and run up stairs. Sometimes, they’ll put hills in that are too steep to ride up and you have to run up those.” 

The different and sometimes unpredictable nature of a cyclocross course makes it more difficult to train for than a road race, but this also makes it fun.

“It’s not just going out on the road and doing interval work and training like that,” Drummond said of cyclocross training. “There’s a lot of skill work involved, whether it be running or just how to handle your bike. You spend a lot of time off-road just working on skills … trying things and challenging yourself to learn how to ride that stuff. I ride sand quite a bit right now, deep sand, because I’ll be going to Belgium for the Masters World Championships, and that course is almost 100 percent sand. Depending on conditions that day, I could be running a good portion of the lap if it’s not rideable, or I could be riding—but either way it’s sand.”

Drummond works at T-Town Bicycles in Brookside (4329 S. Peoria Ave.), and is part of the SPCX team, which also includes Paul Bonds of DeLeon, Texas, and T-Town co-owner Jake Lasley. Bonds will be joining Drummond on the trip to the world championships.

Drummond has even recruited his 15-year-old daughter, Aubrey, who has been a teammate the past two years.

“The grand plan is to kind of establish [the team] with our results and the things we’re doing to be a reputable team,” Drummond said, “and then make it into a junior development-type program, where we can bring 14-, 15-year-old kids into it and hopefully help them progress and feed them into professional teams.”

Drummond highly recommends that kids get involved in cyclocross now. The Cyntergy Hurtland event has categories for riders starting at nine years old, and if your kids want to try it, Drummond suggests bringing them out to observe.

“Cyclocross is probably the lowest barrier of entry to cycling for kids because it’s not scary,” he said. “Road, you’re going pretty fast; if you fall, it’s probably going to hurt. Mountain biking, not too bad, but you kind of go off in the woods by yourself, which can be scary for a young kid. Cyclocross is off-road, relatively low speed. You can see mom and dad the whole time.”

Overall, Drummond enjoys Cyntergy Hurtland and encourages people of all ages to come check it out.

“That location is very spectator-friendly,” Drummond said. “It kind of has all the features of ‘cross. I hope it doesn’t have mud, but it could have mud. It’s got some stairs, it’s got some pretty technical off-road stuff in there—flyover, which is an over-under type bridge, and it’s pretty easy to navigate … It’s a good time.”

For more information about the races, visit hurtlandusa.com.

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