Last sunday, I was invited by a friend to watch a bike race where her boyfriend was racing a road event. A nice surprise involved meeting up with Pamela from my city and I asked about her boyfriend and she said: “He’ll do the cyclocross race at Shimano Fest”.
The couple Pamela and Djonny are the first actual cyclocross champions from my state, and my state held the first cyclocross race in history of this country. This great group effort of cyclocross lovers made the races happen with money from just small sponsors and their own pockets.
After the race, my friend took me to the place where the Cyclocross race would be. The place was packed of people with mountain bikes. When I reached the expo area I thought things were looking strange. I know that cyclocross still is a mystery to a lot of people here, but I didn’t believe my eyes when some of the major brands showed a lineup of CX bikes for sale.
Many of those brands have never helped the cyclocross circus. Brand who never supplied race banners and inflatable portals are now “talking” about cyclocross in Brazil… I found that a bit sad, to be honest.
The race start was finally announced, but more strange things continued to happen; Only 10 people were starting, and 9 of those had never raced cyclocross before. And when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, the announcer said: “the race is reduced to three laps on the course!“.
Djonny looked to me, and we shared a laugh – looking back, we could probably have shared a cry instead – the whole event was starting to look a bit depressing.
The regulation on the event website was clear when it said that race duration was 30min + 1 lap. This was the major reason for Djonny spending his flight mile budget to be on time for the race. He is a passionate cyclocross rider and felt obliged to attend because we all thought it was going to be a historic event.
This was going to be a historical premiere race in the state of São Paulo, because there are already cyclocross races in Paraná State, even including a 3 stage championship…. But, to make things even worse, this was the only cyclocross race on calendar this year.
There won’t be any championships held in my state this year. Because of the Brazilian money crisis, people who used to fund the race out of their own pockets doesn’t have any possibility to do it this year. And there are more or less zero interest from cycling brands and sponsors.
Although Brazil has a big market for mountain biking and triathlon – every other discipline is being overshadowed.
However, the cyclocross race started. Things went on very fast. Djonny took the first place after the first dismount and won the race there. Me and my other friend who was photographing ran to other part of the circuit.
When we reached the middle of the circuit, Djonny was opening the last lap of the race, so we run back to finish line to get his moment of “depressive glory”. And that was it. The only cyclocross race of the Brazilian season was completed in twelve minutes. Twelve minutes!
After the race, some people said “the event had problems, but at least they making something …” But I believe that if you do something, just to say you did it – doesn’t mean you should.
I wish for fair respect of everyone who made an amazing effort, giving money, spending time and working to make cyclocross happen here. Those people have the right to be credited as the pioneers of Brazilian cyclocross, not the brands that decided that cyclocross could be a good way of making some profit in Brazil.
Brazilian cyclocross needs supporters, not profiters.
And this my friends, is why I finish my story saying that brazilian cyclocross scene has a depressive beauty.
Beauty because there are so many passionate people trying to make great things happen.
And depressive because we don’t know how (and to who) we can ask for help to continue make things happen here.