Though I touched on many of the reasons that cyclocross stirs my spirit in a previous article, I failed to fully explore the social aspect. Being the social animals we are, humans enjoy interacting with others of a like mind. And cyclocross provides us with ample opportunities to scratch this itch.
At the races, we hang out with our teammates (if you are attached to a team/club), sandbagging, trading training tips, catching up on life, and gossiping about who’s riding fast. We also catch up on the wider circle of racers we call friends as well. While warming up or checking out the course, we’ll strike up conversations about bike set up and canvas for opinions on optimal tire pressure for the course. We seek out folks who have already raced to find out where the tricky bits might be.
All this is done with the ostensible purpose of gaining a competitive advantage but mostly it’s just being social.
Cross races often take on a festival atmosphere. Teams and sponsors strike their easy-ups along the perimeter while racers and spectators (most likely family and friends) mingle with each other as they circulate around the course. Because the races are fairly short and only limited numbers of fields can be combined, there’s ample opportunity for the racers already done or yet to compete to hang out, watch, and heckle.
Since cyclocross draws from the full spectrum of competitive cyclists, I won’t claim that crossers are somehow friendlier. It’s just that the compact course and race schedules tends to bring folks together and allows their social tendencies to blossom.