As you may know, the cyclo-cross series where I got my first taste of racing – the Eastern Ontario Cyclo-Cross Series (locally known as the OBC ‘cross series) has essentially been thwarted and derailed by the city of Ottawa. City officials have determined that the sport is too demanding on the grass of our city’s public parks and therefore, it can no longer allow this over 20 year long series to continue. The city claims that the we cyclo-cross racers are damaging the grass to the point where it will not regenerate and grow by the following spring.
Sigh. As a cyclo-cross racer/fan yourself, you know that this simply is not the case. How many cyclo-cross races have you been to in North America and Europe – how many people have you heard complaining about the grass. Exactly – zero. Rather people are doing the opposite of complaining. They’re smiling. They’re cheering. They’re racing their bikes. They’re making new friends. They’re having good days out there.
This letter to the Ottawa Citizen thanks to the Beteridge family sums up cyclo-cross very nicely. I know this family and have found great inspiration from watching young Lois and Miles race around the ‘cross course. It is disappointing that such opportunities, particularly for kids to fall in love with a sport and to get out and be active might be taken away, all due to some city officials who have really forgotten what makes a public park “public”.