I wanted to give Axios readers a firsthand account of what cyclocross riders experience at the new course at Centennial Park.
- Brannon Pack, director of cycling tourism for Experience Fayetteville, was happy to take me on a tour.
What happened: After a short walk on the course, we donned helmets and clipped our shoes into gravel bikes.
- Cyclocross bikes aren't wildly different from a sturdy gravel bike with a low center of gravity. But there's more clearance around the tires to allow for muck and mud.
The details: The course is about two miles long and has elevation gain of about 150 feet. That's roughly equal to climbing an 11-story building between the start and finish lines.
- The course is deceptively pleasant at first as it drifts gently downhill into the woods.
Yes, but: This course isn't for joyriders. It's made for monster competitors.
- One hill riders will tackle is 17.8% grade over two-tenths of a mile. In layman's terms: it's stupid damn steep. This is where your heart earns its keep.
- Then riders have to dismount and carry their bikes up a 38-step feature.
- From the top of this feature is a killer drop with a maximum 21% downhill grade. After five minutes of envisioning my neck snapping, I took an easier descent (so this feature is missing from the Strava map I posted).
- Then there are some nice rolling short hills that are a lot of fun.
- In competition, they'll start all over again. And do it 12–15 times or so.
The bottom line: This may have been the toughest 2 miles I've done on a bike.
Of note: The course is being prepped for the Oct. 13 World Cup for the next couple of weeks, so it's closed to the public for now.
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