23. Dirt Derby – Cyclocross Races Tuesdays At Del Valle

It was an accident that I found this litte-known Hot Spot.  Hungry and bored, I was requesting the company of one of my good girlfriends over dinner.  Instead, I found myself heading out to a familiar supercross track in Del Valle to watch her and our friend, Jordan (who we affectionately named “Pup” as he is young and totally cute), race cyclocross.  This racing is different than anything I’ve ever seen.   It’s crazy.  They ride what appear to be road bicycles with tires having quite a bit more tread to ride on the dirt (who cares, right?).  There are places on the course where riders have to dismount their bicycles and carry them to hop over barriers.  Because this is a supercross track, there are some pretty steep “jumps,” but the cyclists don’t have the speed of a dirtbike, so the jumps end up being short, steep, pointed hills.

As outdoor motocross is to superbike, so is cyclocross to crit racing.  If you’re not into racing, I realize I may have lost you with that statement.  Just hang in there with me; I have a good point to make.  Different than crits, the atmosphere in cyclocross is really, really laid back.  Nobody’s in any hurry, the competition is light-hearted and the atmosphere is very social.  Plenty of folks grill and have a beer after racing.  People standing trackside hoot and holler for their friends as they ride by.  There’s also a particular hilltop along the outside of sharp right-hander (in motocross it’s called a “berm”) where people stand with dollar bills that the competitors try to grab as they sweep by on their bicycles.  See what I mean?  Crazy!

Dress casually and plan on getting a little dirty.  This is a dirtbike track after all. Being such a social gathering place, it would be easy for you and a group of friends to plan to tailgate here and get to know some of the guys getting in their weekly racing fix.  There is no entry fee to watch.  Spectator friendly, you can walk around to get a different vantage point and can see several sections of the track all at once from just about anywhere.  The biggest field of racers start at 7pm, for the intermediate class.  Pros race just after 8pm.  Work this into your schedule as soon as you can because the season officially wraps in mid-December.  I’ve been informed by the promoter that it’s very possible that the series could be extended into early February.  Regardless, be sure to check the Dirt Derby website to confirm the schedule, especially if it’s raining.  The track is often closed on rainy days.  You will definitely meet some super-nice guys, should you choose to go and socialize.  Entertaining bicycle racing is a bonus.


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