Itâ€™s a cool, Tuesday fall evening. The leaves are changing and the sky is a soft, gentle blue.
Families sit on foldout chairs on a grassy hillside just in front of New Belgium Brewery, watching as the sun sets over the trees. From a distance, it looks like a youth soccer game is underway.
All is calm except for the spandex-clad racers zooming by, kicking up clouds of dirt on the mile-and-a-half course of bumpy singletrack.
They careen at high speeds through the turns, panting as they dismount their bikes and carry them at a dead sprint across a sand pit, one of the many obstacles built into the course. All of them are covered with dirt and most of them are bleeding.
This scene means one thing: itâ€™s October, and the 5th annual New Belgium Cyclocross series has arrived.
â€œItâ€™s great fun,â€ said Nate Petter, a CSU student who placed third in his division at last Tuesdayâ€™s race. â€œItâ€™s a killer way to train during the off-season, and cyclocross is just awesome.â€
The course sits directly on the grounds of New Belgium Brewery. Jason Trujillo, a quality assurance analyst at the brewery, created the series.
â€œI donâ€™t remember why we built it, I mean it was five years ago, that was pretty much forever ago,â€ Trujillo said. â€œBut itâ€™s cool to have, and I love cycling, so thatâ€™s that.â€
The Cyclocross Series is a collaboration between New Belgium and local bike shops that raises money for the Foundation For Youth Cyclists, an organization Trujillo started for young riders looking to race and improve their knowledge of the sport.
According to Trujillo, the race can attract 200 racers, consisting of men and women of all ages and ability levels, in one night.
â€œThis was my first time racing,â€ said Joe Stevens, a Fort Collins resident. â€œThe community here is really welcoming, and itâ€™s got a totally relaxed vibe thatâ€™s just perfect for trying out the sport.â€
Last yearâ€™s series raised $2,000, and according to Trujillo, this year, the figure is expected to rise.
â€œEvery week, more and more people come out,â€ Trujillo said. â€œCyclocross is becoming increasingly popular. And weâ€™ve got beer â€” pretty much, these races consist of all of the things that you could ever want in life.â€
Races take place every Tuesday evening in the month of October, with registration beginning at 4:30 p.m. and races running until 5:30 p.m.
The entry fee is $5 for adults and free for juniors 18 and under. There is a beer and sandwich garden where cans of New Belgiumâ€™s brew are available.
â€œThe race series is an awesome opportunity,â€ Trujillo said. â€œWe donâ€™t care if youâ€™re on a $2,000 cyclocross bike or a mountain bike that you bought at Walmart. Itâ€™s an awesome thing to be a part of.â€
Outdoor Life Reporter Allison Sylte can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.__
Bike for a Cause
- What: New Belgiumâ€™s 5th annual Cyclocross Series
- When: Tuesday nights through the end of October. Registration at 4:30 p.m. Races go until 5:30 p.m.
- Price: $5 for individuals 18 and up
- Proceeds go to: The Foundation for Youth Cyclists