Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Cyclocross course in Dade City tests legs, lungs of riders

DADE CITY — Cyclocross riders from around the state battled heavy winds, hills and each other Sunday in the second event of the Florida State Cyclocross Series at Little Everglades Ranch.

The race was created by the ranch's horse racetrack manager Dan Millstead, a cyclocross rider who saw the possibilities that the terrain could offer for such a competition.

"I started working here about three years ago and thought that, with how beautiful it is out here, it would be great to host a cyclocross race," Millstead said. "A lot of races around the state are held at public parks or high schools on the weekends, so they don't have this type of terrain. It's a neat place to have a race."

Cyclocross is the fastest growing cycle sport in the United States. It involves mountain biking and overcoming obstacles in which a rider is often required to dismount and carry the bike over and through obstacles. The sport originated in Belgium but is making a name for itself among cyclists around the world.

"Each year the sport keeps getting bigger and bigger, and next year we're hoping to have the state championship here," Millstead said. "The sport is big over in Europe and I think this course gives you a feel of what it's like over there because of the challenges this course offers. Several riders have told me that this is their favorite stop on the tour."

Alan Guillaume operates a Belgian waffle shop that helped sponsor the event and has seen cyclocross grow from its roots in his home country to a fairly well known sport in America.

"This is a lot like how it is over in Belgium, the only difference is that it's more wet over there because it rains so much," Guillaume said. "This event, though, is a legitimate cyclocross event."

The course at the Little Everglades Ranch involves about 90 feet worth of elevation changes and requires competitors to ride on dirt, grass and concrete at different stages. Add to that the wind on Sunday, and the 103 participating riders experienced a significant cardiovascular challenge.

"This course is phenomenal, it's all legs and lungs," said Paul Schmidt, owner of Bikes & More in Gainesville. "This is what a cyclocross course should be like. It's long, it's open, it's a good cross of road and hills, and there's a lot of climbing and lots of obstacles. Compared to some other events, this is really well done for the scale that it's being done on."

Riders in the men's pro class paid $25 to compete. Others paid $20, and kids 14 and younger rode for free.

Millstead designed the course based on other events that he'd seen and was delighted to see that it challenged the riders.

"I tried to make enough technical areas and some open areas so that the riders can recuperate for a second before getting right back into it," Millstead said. "It's constantly taxing the riders, so it's fun for people to watch. One of the fun things about cyclocross courses is that they're so fan-accessible."

Fast facts

Little Everglades Ranch Cyclocross Race

Event held: Sunday

Where: Little Everglades Ranch, Dade City

Info: Races are based on times that are determined by the riders' skill levels. For example, professional riders ride for one solid hour, and at the hour mark are told to complete one more lap. Less experienced riders may only ride for 30 minutes. The event was one stop in the 10-race Florida State Cyclocross Series that will culminate in Tallahassee.

Cyclocross course in Dade City tests legs, lungs of riders 11/10/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 10, 2009 8:34pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Seeking change, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn goes outside for new fire marshal


    TAMPA — Sarasota County Fire Marshal John Reed has been hired as Tampa's new fire marshal, and Mayor Bob Buckhorn said he wants Reed to shake up Tampa Fire Rescue's building inspection bureau.

    Sarasota County Fire Marshal John Reed, 53, will make $118,310 a year as the new fire marshal for the city of Tampa. [City of Tampa]
  2. Ruth: Trump is no Boy Scout in speech to scouts


    It could have been worse. At least the Boy Scouts of America didn't invite Dennis Rodman to address its 19th jamboree to discuss American foreign policy with North Korea and the art of nose piercings.

    President Donald Trump addressed the Boy Scouts’ national jamboree in Glen Jean, W. Va.
  3. PSTA, wary of future cuts, keeps property tax rate steady

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority stands to lose $2 million a year if voters approve an expansion to Florida's homestead property exemption on the 2018 ballot.

    One of The PInellas Suncoast Transit Authority's hybrid busses. The PSTA's governing board voted Wednesday to maintain the current property tax rate. [JAMES BORCHUCK  |   Times]
  4. Rays power way to 5-1 win over Orioles on eve of crucial road trip

    The Heater

    St. PETERSBURG — The Rays didn't get many hits in the early going Wednesday, but they got a couple that went a long way and that was enough to beat the Orioles, 5-1.

    Rays right fielder Steven Souza Jr. (20) hugs catcher Jesus Sucre (45) after Souza's solo home run in the seventh inning. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  5. Man accused of sexually assaulting 5-year-old girl


    ZEPHYRHILLS — Pasco sheriff's deputies have charged a Zephyrhills man with sexually assaulting a 5-year-old girl in his care.

    Brett Campbell [Photo Courtesy of the Pasco County Sheriff's Office]