As a post-script to the beer throwing and other undesirable spectator activity at Cross Vegas, here are a few quick thoughts:
Cross Vegas is an amazing event that brings the best of the best to the United States. A couple jerks in the crowd should not overshadow that. The story here is that Meredith Miller and Sven Nys took exciting victories over world-class competition.
That being said, the beer throwing/spraying was stupid, disruptive and insulting to the elite athletes who start to prepare for an increasingly long season a couple weeks early to be in top form for this specific event. Yeah, sure, cyclocross is weird. But so is my day job. Yet to date, nobody has doused me with a can of Bud while I try and do it.
U.S. cyclocross is a small, tight-knit community. I don’t have to tell anyone who has experienced it that you are part of something special. There is no excuse, however, for what some spectators did at Cross Vegas. The responsibility for those actions fall squarely on that small-segment’s shoulders and I think for the most part, those involved know what they did was unacceptable. Some have already reached out to the community and apologized, which should give this particular incident some sense of closure.
But here’s the cool part: we can make sure these incidents do not happen again. And doing so isn’t hard. As a “small, tight-knit community” it’s okay for us to self-police. If you see somebody doing something egregious, something that interferes with the race or denigrates those racing, tell them to stop. Or, if you are uncomfortable doing that, tell the race organizer and let them deal with it.
And, no, I’m not saying we should become fun police. If some dumbass is making a complete fool of himself but otherwise being harmless, that’s on him. Let that freak fly his flag. But throwing beer at both pro fields, like what happened during Cross Vegas, or tossing topless stripper cards specifically at the Cross Vegas pro women, is something that should never again happen. I trust you all to know the difference between “stupid but fun” and “stupid but unacceptable.” Remember, you’re at a cyclocross race, not a Limp Bizkit concert.
Peer pressure is not necessarily a negative concept. It can be used for the side of good. Let’s impose a little peer pressure for the sake of the sport we love. Keep ‘cross weird. Keep it fun. But keep it respectful, too. Be it Cross Vegas or any other race this season.
So enough with the lectures, already. Next week in this space we will have Sven on SVENNESS. It’s pretty darn cool. Seriously.
See you at the races.