I don’t have a lot of time to write about Sly Fox with a sick kid and parents coming in tonight (forgive me if I have spelling errors). I wanted to just take a second and look at Sly Fox Cross, what it is, and why they might be so successful in the PACX series. But before we get to all that.. A big congratulations to the Ciabattoni Brothers again on making the CAT 4/5 podium. Eric placed 2nd and Dan placed 3rd. I had a lack luster performance in the Masters 35+ again showing my lack of bike handling skills on tough courses. I flatted on the second lap and just tried to catch a few places for the rest of the race. Big shout out to Nathan Werner giving a go at the 3/4’s from the back. I think he worked his way up to an under 20 finish. So, what is so popular with Sly Fox Cross?
I asked around today getting peoples opinions on the matter. We can’t deny the fact that a 2nd year race pulling in near 500 racers is a big deal. Is it marketing, is it location, is it they just have awesome people? It is all of that and more. This race has good marketing. You know when you see a television crew on the grounds that things are serious. They have awesome people. I personally know some of them and they are all great guys and gals. They are in a central location which helps everyone in southeast PA reach them easily. There is one element that I think is most important of all, Sly Fox Brewery.
Sly Fox is a brewery who is active within their community; active in all the meanings of the word. Think about it. Sly Fox created a beer to help support the Schuylkill River Trail (SRT). They introduced the beer by launching the SRT spree where they bicycled, rode horses, hiked, ran, and paddled kayaks from Pottstown to Philadelphia in support of the SRT. Who wouldn’t love a brewery who not only makes great beer but puts their hard earned money back into things that support cycling and being active!
This includes the most recent UCI Bicycle race held in Berks County Pennsylvania. I was impressed with the amount of support in free beer that Sly Fox provided for this event. Did I mention they also have a track club.
How many breweries have running clubs? They get it; if you support it, they will come. That’s why Sly Fox Cross is so popular. We can talk about marketing until we are blue in the face. However, we cannot look past the fact that Sly Fox as a sponsor, fully engages the active community around them, gives back to the community, and attracts great people. Of course Sly Fox Cross is going to be the most attended race in the PACX.
Now, I will say it again as I’ve said in other posts, cyclocross racers vary widely and greatly on what courses they do and do not like. The Sly Fox Cross course would appeal to a person who enjoys mountain biking. This course is half in the woods, very technical, has a massive run-up, and requires a great deal of bike driving skills. (Run-up video below.)
I suck at all of these except the running up part. So, this course doesn’t favor me very well. However, the atmosphere was so freaking awesome that I forgot how horrible I did in my race. I ran up the giant dirt, stepped hill and was cheered on by at least 100 people ringing bells, planting dollar bills, and screaming some pretty good heckles. It felt like… Cyclocross. The atmosphere, the environment, the heckling, the food tent, the beer tent, the ringing of cowbells, the horns, the music, the laughter… all of it felt like cyclocross to me. These guys and gals do a lot with the real estate they have. They are the premiere PACX Cross race when it comes atmosphere. Enjoy your week everyone and I will see everyone out at Kutztown Cross this Sunday.