Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A Short History of Cyclocross

Time for a short history lesson. Back in the day, there was a French army private by the name of Daniel Gousseau who used to accompany his horse-riding general around the French forests on his bike. He enjoyed this so much that he started inviting his friends along, and as we all know, when friends get together the competitive juices start flowing. Once they figured out how they could beat the horse, they started racing each other around the woods, and lo and behold, cyclocross racing had been invented.

Now this was early on in the 1900s, and for a while, this style of cycling remained an underground activity practiced by just a few cyclists in disjointed areas of France, but as the word spread, races became more abundant and organized. The first French national championship competition—organized by Gousseau—was in 1902. In 1910, Tour de France winner Octave Lapize credited his Tour win to his off-season racing off-road, and it suddenly became useful as well as fun to race ’cross. The Tour connection continued at the first-ever cyclocross World Championships held in Paris in 1950, won by 1947 Tour de France winner Jean Robic. And in 2004, Lance Armstrong raced a bit of ’cross to keep himself occupied during the off-season, causing a few others to check out the ’cross scene.

History lesson over!

1 comment:

gwadzilla said...

that is a short history