Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014 | 5:29 p.m.
Robin Leach has finished his annual summer vacation under the Tuscan sun in Italy, and many of our Strip personalities again stepped forward in his absence to pen their own words of wisdom. As Robin enjoys the remainder of his working vacation with his family, we continue today with our popular guest columns. Here is Brook Watts, who returns CrossVegas cycling to our valley this September.
In a town that’s known for the biggest, boldest and most spectacular events, it should come as no surprise that the biggest, boldest, most spectacular and most prestigious cyclocross race outside Europe takes place right here in Las Vegas every September.
At this point, you’re probably asking, “What is cyclocross?”
Imagine this: You take a road bike like the Tour de France guys race and mash it up with a mountain bike’s fat tires. Then you race it on a course over grassy hills and manmade obstacles — in this case, on the grass of Desert Breeze Soccer Complex — against 100 competitors while your heart is at 95 percent capacity.
That’s cyclocross for you.
CrossVegas is hands down the biggest cyclocross race on this side of the globe. The event, which is as much spectacle as elite sporting event, attracts the sport’s best, as well as nearly 10,000 fans annually on a Wednesday evening. This year’s race is Sept. 10.
Normally raced in the cold and muddy fall and winter months in Belgium, Holland or Northern France, CrossVegas brings cyclocross to Las Vegas for a desert-style international season kickoff.
Just six miles off the Strip at Desert Breeze Soccer Complex, competitors from 12 nations love the chance to start the international season in bold and spectacular Las Vegas fashion under the lights before the scene shifts to Europe and the weather changes for the worse.
The CrossVegas crowd is a mix of serious fans and curious newbies alike cheering wildly for everyone from local cyclocross enthusiasts to world champions like 2013 winner Sven Nys of Belgium, the legend of the sport who will attempt to retain his winner status in 2014.
CrossVegas is world-class, elite bike racing in a unique, only-in-Vegas festival atmosphere. I encourage the nonfan to come out for the action. It’s the most exciting 60 minutes of racing in cycling, and you don’t need to know a thing about the sport to get hooked.
The best men and women racers from the U.S. square off against the world’s best with racing starting at 8:20 p.m. for the Elite Women and 9:30 p.m. for the Elite Men.
Fans are encouraged to arrive early to enjoy festivities including food and beverages and the warm-up races like the Wheelers & Dealers race, the battle for bragging rights among bicycle industry members who are gathered for their annual trade show Interbike at Mandalay Bay.
Complete information, including a video teaser, race schedule and online ticket sales, can be found at CrossVegas.com
For those who like to rub elbows with celebrities visiting Las Vegas, come out to Las Vegas Cyclery on Sept. 9 from 6 to 8 p.m. to meet the pros like Sven Nys and other Europeans, as well as the top American stars who will be signing autographs and posing for selfies with fans.
Las Vegas Cyclery is located at 10575 Discovery Drive off I-215 at Town Center Drive.
Be sure to check out our other guest columnist today, go-kart star Gene Woods of Gene Woods Racing Experience. On Thursday, it’s all about SLS Las Vegas opening this weekend with guest chef and nightlife columns.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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