Blue Sky (or Not!) - CycloCross

Photo by Scott Brunner

Bill Gibson of Blue Sky Bike Shop (565 E 185TH ST) sponsored Race #8 in the 2010 Northeast Ohio Cyclocross (NEOCX) series, "Blue Sky (or Not!) CycloCross" at Coulter Avenue Park in Euclid (also known as the sledding hill behind McDonald's.) The event took place on Sunday, November 14, 2010. 102 racers participated, coming from as far away as Michigan, Pittsburgh and Erie, Pa. There were three races: a Novice Category race 30 minutes in length, a Sport Category race 45 minutes in length. and an Expert Category race 60 minutes in length. Matt Weeks was the top man, Sally Price was the top woman and Ryan Madis was the top Junior. Euclid and Collinwood area racers who participated were: Andrius Stalliulionis 8th. Steve Drazdik 22nd, Chris O"Donnell 23rd, William Maxwell 24th - all in the Novice race. Cheers to them for rising up to the challenge. Ten per cent of all proceeds went to the Euclid Police Athletic League.

OK, so, what the heck is CycloCross? According to Gibson, CycloCross is not what people typically think when they think of bike racing. It's like steeplechase on wheels. Well, with cowbell-bearing bystanders. It's fast, fun and family friendly. Even dogs came out to watch. It's a grassroots kind of sport. It's not just for pros - people who would never think of racing bikes do this, too - just less smoothly and more slowly. The hill at Coulter Park, already popular for sledding, will now be appreciated by - or infamous to, depending who you ask - those who meandered up, down and around it as a CycloCross course. Gibson really wants to make sure all who volunteered for setting up the course and running the event know they were greatly appreciated with a special thanks to Jim Sonnhalter, a bicycling enthusiast and the City of Euclid's Community Projects Manager for the Department of Community Services and Economic Development.

Gibson is a self-proclaimed middle of the pack racer. He says it's a great sport for the average person who wants to do something athletic, the kind of person who would do something like a 10K or tri-athlon. He feels it's relatively safe because the worst thing that happens is someone falls on the grass or in the mud and hops back up. Said Gibson, "Everyone has their own reaons. Maybe we're sick, but we love it."  

Don't let Gibson's humility fool you, though - he's a great bike mechanic and keeps many people in the neighborhood rolling around on well-maintained bikes. He offered an Einstein quote for inspiration as well:  "Life is like riding a bicycle; In order to balance, you have to keep moving."  

"I'd strongly encourage the public to come and watch an event. It's a spectacle. The beginners are comical and when you watch the pros, it's beautiful," said Gibson with enthusiasm. Locations are posted on their web-site.  Gibson said he is planning on hosting another event this year and says he's "cooking up some cool additions."   

For more details on the race visit the NEOCX web-site at

For more information about Blue Sky Bike Shop and to shop products on-line, check out  Or just stop in the store and check it out. 

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Volume 3, Issue 1, Posted 1:10 PM, 03.08.2011