We're all acquainted with mountain bikes, and mountain bike races, here in Western Montana. The sport is everywhere on the trails around the Five Valleys.

But this coming fall, we'll renew our acquaintance with mountain biking's older cousin, the rough and tumble sport of cyclocross.

It's a sport that actually has a strong local following, with many events throughout the year. And in November, the elite riders in the sport will return to Missoula for the 2023 & 2024 Pan American Cyclo-cross Championships, all in cooperation with local promoter MTCX. 

Newstalk KGVO 1290 AM & 98.3 FM logo
Get our free mobile app

What is cyclocross?

For the years before the mountain bike emerged from the minds of innovators like Gary Fisher in the 1970s, cyclocross was the REAL way to get dirty and compete on two wheels. The explanation from USA Cycling describes it best.

"Cyclocross is a unique, non-Olympic discipline of cycling that can best de described as a cross between road cycling, mountain biking and steeplechase."

Angelina Palermo

Angelina writes that no one is exactly sure how the sport got started, but it may have been when road races decided to jump off their bikes, run up stairs, mountain trails, and other obstacles for the extra challenge.

The sport is strong in Missoula

In recent years, MTCX has sponsored a cyclocross season that begins at the end of summer, lasting into November no matter what the weather, on courses such as Ten Spoon Winery, the Ranch Club, Big Sky Park, and the UM Golf Course.

Now, USA Cycling has announced the Pan Am Championship will be returning to Missoula, with MTCX as the "host organization" on November 4th and 5th. That's the date mandated by the governing organization for the Continental Cyclo-cross Championships.

"Get ready for low socks, crewneck sweatshirts, crocs, and vibes," MTCX founder Shaun Radley said in the press release announcing the event and noting Missoula's 25 year history with cyclocross. "We can't wait to host the best riders on the continent."

READ MORE: Cyclocross in Missoula

Bitterroot Celtic Games 2022 In Pictures

Bitterroot Celtic Games

More From Newstalk KGVO 1290 AM & 98.3 FM