Unless you aren’t a fan of Sven Nys, Cyclo-cross has been great fun this year, with none of the long solo breaks that made last year odd, and lots of duels, thrills, spills and exciting action to make it a cracking season finished off by the Kannibal. The sand, mud and more mud have been in plentiful supply, and have ensured, again unlike last year, that ‘proper’ cyclo-cross can be played out.
But what of the future? If the environmentalists are right, then soon the world will be hotter then the face if the sun itself, we will all be dying of Swine flu if we haven’t drowned in the torrents of tidal waves sweeping in from the Atlantic. Of course, simultaneously, we’ll be in a perpetual state of drought, especially in England, where we’re famed for our impressively wet droughts, but this will apparently cause all mositure to be removed from the soil, leaving the cyclo-cross fields of Belgium flat, cracked, and unsuitable for purpose.
We’ll thus need some new obstacles to improve the race, as without the mud, it won’t be the same. We already have logs, and these can be very amusing when people don’t bunny hop them properly, but most of the time they just run over them and frankly, we all sadistically want to see them bunny hop, mostly because it looks much better:
But also because this can happen:
The sand pits are very amusing to, especially as everyone slides all over the place, and the downhill one they had a week ago was a stroke of genius. These could certainly be improved upon though, as could the artificial ramp structures they put in every so often, and even the stair cases could be made to impress more. So here’s a handy guide for the organisers to what we (read: I) would like to see in the future. Note that this is pretty much an attempt to turn it into Mario Kart however.
Now, Cyclo-cross isn’t BMX or mountain biking, but would it hurt to put a jump in for a bit of show? The ‘hurt’ is probably why they can’t to be honest – if someone crashes, then a load of burly men with hard carbon and metal bikes are going to be landing on them in a few milliseconds time – but maybe a small one that just gets them off the ground for a second could be done? We could say it test their bike landing skills or some nonsense like that. Just get them off the ground.
Of course, in our hypothetical future, water is scarce, which is why there’s no mud, so this would be an expensive feature. Back in the real world, it would be quite fun: riders would have to decide whether they could ford it and paddle through, or if they have to run through and carry their bikes. It’s genius. Even better, they could have more water pumped into them during the race to make them deeper and bring some tactical endeavor into the race – what was fine to power through one lap 1 might be impossible on lap 3 for instance, so the riders would have to judge it. Seriously, this is brilliant, if i do say myself.
The stairs in cyclo-cross serve little purpose other to get the riders off their bike for a few seconds, as they do them so quick these days they’re essentially just another log. So let’s end the easy maneuvering with some spiral staircases that force the riders to properly run up the stairs, getting dizzy whilst they go. They’ll then have to plunge down some obscene slide at the top.
Some of these already exist, such as an odd one in the UK where if you drink a shot, you get to take a short cut, but these could be made much more itneresting -make the aforementioned jumps give you the opportunity to get to one for instance. Yes, yes, it’s all very video gamey, but imagine how much fun it would be.
You’ve seen total wipeout where they shoot the competitors with water pistols. So why not do it in Cyclo-cross? The logic is, er, infallible. Not only would it solve the problem of the sponsors logos being hidden by mud and dirt, but it would also allow the crowd some interaction, although obviously we’d have to check what they put in their machines. You could spray your favorite with warm water for instance, and squeeze off ice cold fluids at his rival. Or fans could not be allowed and they could just be a waterfall the riders have to ride through, getting soaked in the process. Yeah, lets go with that one! If we went with waterguns though, the riders couldn’t fight back…unless we gave THEM the guns and they could use them on each other, stowing them in bottle cages! Yeeees!
Picture the scene. The riders turn a corner, only to be confronted with a 2m tall solid brick wall. Obviously they can’t go through it (though they can try…), so they have to go over it. Imagine the joys of watching them trying to figure out how the best way to do it is, and how to carry their machine. Much better then 20cm high planks.