Fayetteville, Arkansas brought the UCI 2022 world cyclocross championships back to the United States for the first time since 2013.
While the U.S.A. hosted the road worlds in 2015 in Richmond, Virginia, and also a handful of mountain bike and ‘cross world cup races over the recent years, a world championship event is a much bigger deal, drawing much bigger crowds, faster racing, and a lot more excitement.
Racers and fans were treated to progressively warmer temperatures throughout the three days of racing at the end of January, and by the end of the day on Sunday for the elite men’s race, dust was more of a concern than mud or snow and ice.
Of course, the fast and fun conditions did not deter fans from lining parts of the course four-deep to get a close look at some of the best bike racers in the world.
Ireland sent a team, so of course, fans were on hand to cheer.
Flanders flags flying added authenticity to the ‘cross atmosphere.
Taylor Phinney and Colin Strickland were nearly incognito at ‘cross worlds.
Jeremiah Bishop, in the flannel, was on hand and spectating, too. The 18-time national team mountain biker was eager to get some time on the trails near the ‘cross course.
Kerry Werner had an enthusiastic fan club cheering for him.
Madigan Munro of the U.S.A. chased Kristyna Zemanova of the Czech republic in the U-23 women’s race.
Munro, near the Trek enclosure, before the start of her race
Munro even had her own fan club on hand. The 20-year-old Trek Factory racer attends Colorado Mesa University, in Boulder Colorado.
Photographers queueing up and getting ready to do their thing. The weather was mild for the end of January — which was welcomed by riders and photographers alike.
Flags and beer and a flag depicting a beer? This must be a ‘cross race!
A view from the top of one of the defining elements on the course, the stairs.
A German rider struggled to remount a tubular just so she could ride to the pit to get a bike swap.
Fans displayed hats with world championship stripes, and gaiters with the USA Cycling logo.
The statement on this mask said it all.
A steep hill at the top of the stairs made for fast descents and was also a great vantage point to watch racing on the 3.1-kilometer course.
The view from the top — or about as close as one could get when they showed up late.
Fans from Belgium — wearing matching tracksuits and ‘BIER’ bling — made the trip to cheer for Toon Aerts.
On-site COVID-19 testing was available and even encouraged. VeloNews‘ Ben Delaney explored the coronavirus testing service that was offered to racers, fans, and the press.
While racers put on a display of ‘cross skills, other talented riders put on a display of precision bike handling — with the help of a brave fan.
Parenting win: That time your daughter asked you to hold that beer while she dry-tobogganed on an empty cardboard beer box down a grassy hill.
All media guests and their human companions were welcome behind the scenes, with proper credentials, of course.
Winning riders were asked to sign commemorative jerseys. And there were a lot of jerseys to be signed.
Once racing was over for some of the French riders, they cheered their teammates who raced in other events.
The view from the start.