Earlier, I promised to write about things you'd like to hear about on request. @bikesanddogs on Instagram asked me about the differences between European and American CX racing. It's a good question, and one that requires a considered response, so I've called Lisa's Mum* to the plate. *Lisa's Mum, world-renowned road cycling expert -turned CX afficianado, former understudy to the Paul Sherwen/Phil Liggett Tour de France commentary team, currently completing PhD on Everesting.
Lisa's Mum likes European CX racing because she enjoys mayonnaise, frites, and second-hand cigar smoke in equal measure. She also enjoys being paid to START races, rather than finish them, because it appeals to her je ne sais quois air of casual indifference that characterises many Euro CX pros racing in February. Before world champs (typically the last weekend in January), riders are dead keen. You can tell they're frothing for a good world champs by how narrowly their eyes slit when asked if they want dessert. AFTER world champs, however, one turns up, one collects one's start money, and one turns one's pedals in anger. Then one retires to the campervan and eats speculoos.
In America, people seem to be keen ALL THE TIME. Very few gallic shrugs have been observed in Sacramento thus far. America is also the home of the hand-up, a tradition dear to cross riders everywhere, and slowly making its way into Australian CX racing when the commissaire is not looking.* Last year at Cross Vegas a young Focus compatriot of mine almost paid for his trip with handup money, although he did have to drink a lot of bourbon. Luckily, he is Australian.
*@bikesanddogs I notice you did not ask about Australian racing, presumably because of shyness. Fortunately Lisa's Mum can tell that you are really bursting to know about the emerging CX scene down under.
European racing is also COLD. Cold enough to require three layers of merino before breakfast. Cold in a 3-pairs-of-kit-at-each-race type cold. Cold enough that you don't take gatorade to races; you take soup. Lisa's Mum was not present at the 2013 world champs in Louisville, Kentucky (where it was so cold that water froze on bikes as the pit crews were blasting them), but appreciates that the US enjoys a spectrum of racing conditions not seen in Europe. The first world cup in Las Vegas next week, for example, is forecast to be around 40 deg C, a temperature not seen in Belgium since Sven set fire to his enormous campervan at Superprestige Hoogstraaten. This means that European riders must learn to master foreign actions like mounting bidon cages and wearing short sleeves. Time will tell how this will go.
Lisa's Mum is open to receiving more questions from her public so that she can flex her CX grey cells. Hit her up at @LJridehappy on Instagram/Twitter, or pop a comment below.