It takes a special breed of person to go out and punish their body on purpose. Cyclocross racing is a hot topic and the HoliCX race at HoliMont has become a popular stop in the WNY Series.
You can find 16 different races in the series this year, but only one punishes you like the race at HoliMont. Whether it’s the weather or the course, it’s always an event to behold. You wouldn’t think that a bike race that lasts 45 minutes to an hour would hand out such a butt whipping, but when you see the faces of racers in the “pain cave”, you start to get it. Imagine being shot out of a cannon on a bicycle wearing spandex and then having to navigate a zig zag course filled with all sorts of obstacles that try to knock you down. To top it all off, you’re in a packed crowd of racers all trying to beat you to the end. The end is defined by how many laps the fastest racer can do in the allotted time. To make matters even more fun (or worse, depending on how you look at it), spectators cheer, heckle and try to distract you.
It’s a sprint race that lasts longer than your self-preservation instincts want to allow. The mental and physical demands make it a very strategic style race.
I race. I’m a cyclocross racer. I constantly talk to myself during the race. I push myself even though it hurts. I take chances that I know could end up leaving me in more pain. Even though I’ve been doing it for years, I still make mental mistakes, like passing someone in my class too soon and blowing it in the end because I ran out of gas. Not drinking enough water before the race is a classic mistake and the result can be massive cramps due to dehydration. Bike preparation is key since the last thing you want to talk about at the end of the day is how your bike let you down. Loser!
So why would anyone want to do this? I believe it’s the sense of accomplishment, but more than anything, it’s the camaraderie. Even when competition is at its pinnacle, racers support and encourage each other to keep going, push harder and by the way, nice job. At the end of the day everyone laughs about the stupid things we do when the only thing you can focus on is pedaling more. One popular bike company has a slogan: “Shut Up Legs.”
As for spectating, that is an event all by itself. At some races you’ll see spectators handing out prizes as racers go by. These prizes run the gambit from beer to cash. Lookers-on ring cowbells, blow horns, encourage and heckle racers. There have been times while racing, I’m laughing even though I can barely breathe. The race audience often finds the hardest section of the course to crowd around and make it more fun and louder. From across the course you’ll here cheers as racers summit the climb or navigate a muddy pit of nastiness.
Do yourself a favor and come to HoliMont on October 19, 2019. The race takes place from 9am-2pm in the area near the bottom of our Sunset and WestMont slopes. New for this year is an unsanctioned format that allows unlicensed riders to take part in the fun for no additional cost. There will be an open mountain bike class for those who don’t own a “cyclocross” style bike. You can register online, the preferred method, at BikeReg.com. Just search HoliCX. If you’re the type that makes last minute decisions, we do accept walk-up registrations, but it does cost an extra 10 bucks.
We couldn’t do this race without the support of our sponsors including Excelsior Orthopedics, Kind Human Bicycles, Loud Performance Bicycle Shop, Kickstand Culture, Dina’s, 42 North among others, some of which will be on-site with treats, beer and goodies available. Find out more by calling HoliMont at 716-699-2320 or going to our website at www.HoliMont.com.