Here at Hammer Nutrition®, we are very proud of the annual nationwide events that we sponsor (more than 2,600 events this year!). However, we get extra excited about the ones that take place right here in our own backyard. One of those races is the always entertaining Woodland Park Cyclocross Race, put on by none other than Hammer staffer and racer extraordinaire Matt Butterfield. Matt has been making quite a splash all summer, most recently last weekend with a 3rd place finish in the 4-man championship class at 24 Hours of Moab.
This is Matt’s first fall here at Hammer Headquarters, but not his first year to organize the Woodland ‘Cross. In past years, he put on the race in conjunction with his former employer and great place for Hammer products, Sportsman & Ski Haus, just down the road in Kalispell, Montana. Having raced two previous editions of this ‘cross, I can assure you it is a gem of a race that offers fun for all.
Dozens of fans come out to Woodland ‘Cross, most of them congregating at the top of a gnarly run-up near some railroad tracks. They scream for each rider to hit the run-up as if we were in the World Cup. I know this firsthand, as I have competed both at the front and at the back of this race. That’s one of the wonderful things about ‘cross fans—they don’t care and often don’t even know who is in the lead!
I caught up with Matt—not too difficult as he sits right next to me at Hammer Headquarters—to find out what he had to say about Woodland ‘Cross.
HN: What makes Woodland ‘Cross worth your time and effort each year?
MB: I guess it’s a mixture of things . . . the euphoric feeling I get from riding a bike around the same city park that I used to as a kid is one pretty cool reason, and now I can do it as an adult without feeling too foolish (spandex and shaved legs aside). The main reason, though, has to be when racers approach me after they’ve just finished turning themselves “inside out” just to say, “Your course is awesome. Thanks for putting this on!” and that makes it all worth it.
HN: How long have you been involved with this race?
MB: I’ve been doing this race for the past four seasons and as long as I can get a crowd to show up year after year, I’ll keep it going.
HN: Why should the average rider try racing ‘cross, especially Woodland?
MB: You haven’t lived until you’ve ‘crossed, reason enough. Seriously though, it’s a pretty physically demanding sport, but it makes you a much better rider for doing so. Whether you’re a core roadie, a cross country racer, or just a weekend trail rider, ‘cross can really turn up your bike handling skills and general riding awareness. Even if you get out there and find out that ‘cross just isn’t for you, races are no more than an hour long, so before you know it, you’re off the bike tossing back a brew and laughing with your buddies about the hell you just survived—and that’s good living. Why Woodland? ‘Cause our course is the coolest, that’s why.
Well said, Matt! There’s just something about Woodland ‘Cross that sets it apart from the obligatory stops on the Montana State Cyclocross Series. It may not have the glitz of Rolling Thunder, Starcrossed, or Cross Vegas, but we all love Woodland just the same. It’s kind of like going to brunch after a big wedding . . . not quite as fun as the night before, but definitely still worth the while.
Check out the sweet race flyer and hope to see you all on Saturday!