WallyWorlds

The Stud, retired from the bike shop, found himself with a little free time and more than a few unpaid bills.

The UCI-Walmart 2022 Cyclocross World Championships kick off today in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

I won’t be there, and neither will my old ’cross buddy Brook Watts, whose baby this is.

Or was, before the political climate in Arkansas took a distinct turn for the worse, presenting him with an insurmountable run-up to race day.

Those were not cheering throngs at courseside. Cowbells were out, bullshit was in. Not even shoe spikes would help, unless applied to asses, and maybe not even then. Some days a fella can wear out a couple dozen pair of kneecaps kicking ass and all he gets is practice.

You can read Brook’s take on the whole mess at VeloNews. And for those of you who enjoy such things, here’s a hot GoPro lap of the course.

 

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15 Responses to “WallyWorlds”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    I have heard some rational discussions of the complications of trans athletes competing, and also heard the knuckle dragger version. I’m not knowledgeable enough about the testosterone, height, weight, power, etc., issues to want to wade into this crossfire.

    One SI article I just read said “leave it to the governing bodies in each sport”.

    https://www.si.com/college/2022/01/20/ncaa-updates-transgender-athlete-participation-policy

    Seems better than leaving it to politicians, who probably know less about it than I do, which is pretty much nada. What does Pelkey think?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      As I understand it the uproar had more to do with Arkansas legislators deciding they knew more than the medical community about trans people. They assembled and passed legislation banning gender-affirming treatment for trans youth (even overriding a gubernatorial veto). The women-in-sports stuff followed.

      Once everyone started hollering it seems Brook was getting it in both ears, though he did not hold the event license. A tall tree catches the most wind, and Brook has been a very tall tree indeed in the cyclocross world. He spoke his mind, and it cost him.

      I dunno what Charles thinks on the issue. But I’ll bet he has an opinion or two. At the moment it all seems less about lawyers and more about loudmouths. Think we’ll see dueling gangs of protesters in Fayetteville? Or has everyone moved on to the next battleground?

      • khal spencer Says:

        Well, between letting politicians taking over from the medical and sports communities, the battles over Critical Race Theory, Huck Finn, anything by Toni Morrison (who my wife taught), etc., it seems the nation has plenty of issues on its hands other than the ones that are really important. I read the Brook piece and it was sad that someone would put in so much work and then get the shaft. But…it is Arkansas. Let the buyer beware.

  2. Jon Paulos Says:

    Boy, that’s too bad. I was at the Richmond road worlds in 2015 and saw how successful a world championship can be. It had the backing of the governor and there were so many people at the pro mens road race I could hardly get around. The cobbled climb where I spent the last third of the race had the Norwegian corner and I think they had started drinking several days before. I spoke to a couple of Dutch guys who “only” booked their room two months before and had to settle for a Hampton Inn 1-1/2 hours drive up the interstate from the course. I stayed at a friend’s house and we could only drive to within a couple of miles of the course before parking ran out.

    The tifosi make the difference between a champs that merely goes off without a hitch and one about which people say “ya shoulda been there.”

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Yeah, I’ll be curious to see what the turnout is like. A lot of marquee names bailed for one reason or another. And I know at least one journo who canceled his trip over The Bug.

      My favorite race so far was the 1999 nationals in San Francisco. The course got bobbed at the last minute over some kerfuffle, but the promoters rebounded and it was a helluva race, with spectators running around to different vantage points to catch the action as it unfolded.

      One thing about a ’cross race is that a lot of the spectators are pretty fair runners.

    • DownhillBill Says:

      The Belgians (IIRC) at the bottom of that climb had set up HQ in the pub and ran up a $300 tab for buckets of cheap American beer. The coed wrestling, flashing, and assorted festivities had to be seen to be appreciated. Ya shoulda been there.

  3. Pat O’Brien Says:

    I don’t know a thing about cyclocross or organizing an event of this size and importance and even less about the contractual complexity involved. But, seeing wally world and uci banners together doesn’t surprise me one bit. And, that explains Arkansas. Maybe Sarah Sanders can sort it out.

  4. Herb from Michigan Says:

    Well written piece by Brook. I’d like to say I’m in a position to boycott the race but hell…I didn’t know nuttin bout it until POG threw the spotlight on. I truly believe in the Vote With Your Wallet movement and hats off to Neil Young and Joni Mitchell for declining Spotify’s stingy payments. I pulled Spotify off my queue awhile back. The politics of Arkansas is/will bite its economy in the arse. A top level auto industry person told me the last thing they want or need is a factory full of gun loving, right wing nut jobs. The stampede to non-union, down south locations isn’t working out so well now that companies are looking for a more sophisticated worker who won’t F up a $50k vehicle. I expect those states that keep racing farther to the right edge will see a reduction in new companies and expansion. It’s likely places like Texas will be seeing some flight or will simply be where dirty energy companies are happy to wallow in their messes.

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      Well said Herb. Especially that last sentence. Dirty energy companies, and the mostly autocrats/royals/dictators that control them, should wallow in their messes. Ukraine is all about gas and oil after all, since that is where the oligarch autocrat asswipe causing this trouble gets his cash.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I know the Walton heirs have been spreading the mountain-bike love, but I’m not sure this makes Walmart a natural partner for cyclocross. The company pays shit wages and sells shit bikes, dubiously assembled, and if it weren’t for SNAP and Medicare they might have to raise their prices a penny or two to cover better pay and health care.

      Alas, as we know, Americans love them some cheap shit, and they don’t care how they get it. And so Walmart doesn’t give a rat’s ass what kind of drawers you wear, they’re gonna pull ’em down just the same.

    • Shawn Says:

      As one who has lived in what can typically be called the red neck south, it’s wise to remember that there are a whole lot of good, hardworking, free thinking progressive people there. It’s unfortunate though that the heritage of the region is repressive and it is difficult to shake that off. When I lived in Texas the first time, soccer was a minimal sport in the state and cyclocross was still something in one of those other parts of the world. It’s taking time but slowly the freedom to actually think for one’s self is growing.

      A thanks to Wallymart for financially involving themselves in the event. Although I believe the event should have been cancelled, it’s good for our American youth to see that we can kind-of compete with the Europeans even though we have an advantage of 20 to 1.

      It’s very unfortunate that Brook’s was not allowed to continue with his experienced guidance of the World’s event. Staying apolitical is an extremely difficult thing and like him, any sense of repressing my leadership position would have been ridiculous. Although his deportment is sad, I believe for his sake, and perhaps the future direction of another World’s event in a progressively freer part of our country, it may be a good thing. That course really looks great but the gopro video gives the course a tamed-down look in my eyes. It seems there should be some dismount barriers in a couple of places. Perhaps in the interest of covid excitement, several flat screens could be added at key corners on the course – the screens of course, displaying rowdy drunken fans shouting and clanging cowbells and bellowing “Heb je pindakaas in je korte broek of ben je altijd zo traag!”.

      and Hey! Thanks for another Stud.

  5. carl duellman Says:

    i’m going to try to watch the women’s race if i can find it on youtube. clara honsinger has ridden well this year and i hope she has a good race.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Thare aren’t many options for watching from a distance, according to VN’s Ben Delaney. I’d like to watch a race or two a year, but not at those prices.

      Weather looks too good anyway. Windy, but dry. Where the filth at?

      Speaking of prices, the Euros are getting a taste of the sticker shock Yanks face when they cross the pond. I may be wrong, but I think Jesse Anthony was one of the recipients of support from the American Cyclocross Foundation, the op’ Charles Pelkey and I ran Back in the Day® to help American riders pay their way to worlds.

    • carl duellman Says:

      the uci has allowed a few full races to be put on youtube. as for the dry course i bet they could open a few fire hydrants nearby to flood some of the course.

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