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Cyclo-cross for a bike-centric community

Yes, it’s true. The world is continually getting more competitive and complex.

Nowhere is this more visibly true than in athletics. People keep going faster and further — they keep pushing the envelope of what has been considered humanly possible. Youngsters are doing things on skis, snowboards, bicycles, and other wheeled and no-wheel contraptions that would have been considered unimaginable a few years ago.

Of course, the equipment keeps evolving to keep up with the differing demands we put on them. Consider bicycles. Most of us more mature folks well remember how many speeds were on the bikes that got us around as kids: one. Of course we had heard of “21-speed English racing bikes.” But few of us had ever seen one, much less ever ridden one. These started to become more common as what we call “road bikes” today.

Then along came BMX bikes and all the races and tricks that grew around them. Then along came mountain bikes with suspensions and disc brakes and all the different kinds of cross-country and downhill races that developed around them. Then along came the hybrids of all of the above: trekking bikes, cross bikes, commuter bikes, city bikes, comfort bikes, cruisers, et al. All of you know the variations and differences in each of these, right?

In case you hadn’t noticed, Pagosa is increasingly becoming a bike-centric community. We are an outdoorsy, healthy and recreation-minded bunch of folks. Bikes get us to work, to the grocery store, into the woods, down the highway, and almost everywhere we want to go. Many of us love our bikes and hate the thought of hanging them up in the garage just because winter is coming.

There is a small but growing group of local cyclists who decided to push back against that thinking. The result? Cyclo-cross racing has come to town, and these local athletes are actively traveling and competing in races now.

Cyclo-cross races typically take place in the autumn and winter and consist of many laps of a short (1.5-2?mile) course featuring pavement, wooded trails, grass, steep hills and obstacles requiring the rider to quickly dismount, carry the bike up, over or through the obstruction and remount. The sight of competitors struggling up a muddy slope with bicycles on their shoulders is the classic image of the sport.

There are many stories about the origins of cyclo-cross. The one I like best is that European road racers in the early 1900s would race each other to the next town over from them. They were allowed to cut through farmer’s fields, over fences, through streams, or take any other shortcuts in order to make it to the next town first. This was sometimes called steeple chase since the highest and often only visible landmark in the next town was the steeple.

Our local cyclo-cross racers — Brianne Marshall, Peter Marshall, Morgan Murri, and Scott Slind — have variously competed in Longmont, Louisville, Durango, Dolores and Cortez this fall. Both Brianne Marshall and Morgan Murri have “podiumed” at the races. The next race in the Four-Corners Cross Series is on Sunday in Aztec. Good luck to these local athletes who don’t want to put their bikes away … just yet.

PLPOA appliance drive

The PLPOA had the most successful and largest appliance drive last week since the program began four years ago.

With dollies, maps, trucks and trailers in tow, the appliance pickup began on Nov. 1 — a sunny Monday morning with 63 appliances on the list called in by 50 Pagosa lakes residents. These defunct appliances were delivered to the local landfill.

PLPOA explored other avenues for recycling or salvaging the metal without success — service providers were also not interested or willing to come to Pagosa. The other option was to deliver selected appliances to Farmington or Pueblo, but this was not cost effective.

A huge thank you to the PLPOA Board of Directors and employees for masterminding this appliance drive and kudos to Hal Stevens with A-1 services for removing the Freon from the refrigerators and freezers at no charge.