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Idaho Waffle Cross Series kicks off the season in the rain at the Eagle Bike Park

Posted at 9:44 AM, Oct 01, 2023

Cycle Cross is a unique sport that combines road cycling, mountain biking and steeplechase as riders navigate a course full of different obstacles.

"It is a discipline of cycling that is sort of on road bikes, but with knobby tires," said Wes Hamilton of TRO Cycling. "We incorporate cement, grass, hills, dirt and sand pretty everything you could throw at a bike rider, including things where we have to get off our bike."

A rider navigates the stairs

You read that right, riders had to dismount from their bikes and run up stairs. In a different portion of the course they got off their bike in the grass and jumped over an obstacle before hopping back on.

The course is so unique that every rider I talked to had a different nemesis on the course, for Hamilton it was climbing the hills.

Navigating down the hill

"It is pretty intense, it is really hard," said Hamilton. "Luckily it's about 45 minutes long so you are just in the pain cave for a while and then it is all over, then we go home take showers and come back again tomorrow."

The Idaho Waffle Cross Series will host two more races at Eagle Bike Park, two at Lucky Peak and another at Eagle Island State Park as I found out most people get into this event because of their family.

Tessa, Natalie & Pearl

"My dad bribed me to do it and I liked it," said Tessa. "My dad made me do it because my brother was doing it and then I started doing it," replied Pearl.

The series has divisions for all age groups, including juniors and seniors with both men and women being able to compete as the races run on both Saturday and Sunday. I asked the young ladies what they liked about cycle cross.

Navigating the grass section

“Getting on and off your bike," said Pearl. "The people," said Tessa. "The adrenaline of being able to know that you can do something this cool and have fun while doing it," said Natalie.

Cycle Cross also has a vibrant communtiy and some interesting cultural aspects as loved ones heckle their riders and even pressure them into hand-ups.

Those can be anything from candy, beer or whiskey. We witnessed a wife tell her husband if he wants a ride home he had to take shot during the race, and he did. We heard another rider say the whiskey burned in his chest during his next lap.

A rider is offered a hand-up

"It’s a blast and typically cycle cross riders love it when it is rainy and cold," said Hamilton. "It’s always done in the fall so we all work on our fitness all summer then we all come out here drink beer, get dirty and have a good time."

If you are interested in getting involved in the Idaho Waffle Cross Series, here is a schedule of the races and more information about registration.