Sure, Munich has its traditional Oktoberfest each fall, replete with plentiful beer, brats and a rocking party atmosphere. But the Wood River Valley, with our deep European roots but upstart ways, takes Oktoberfest and makes it our own with Crosstoberfest, a weekend of cyclo-cross bike racing, a craft beer fest and much, much more.
Cyclo-cross is a type of bicycle race; one that pits cyclist against cyclist and racers against a full complement of terrain that can include gravel, dirt, mud, sand, stairs, pavement, and yes, in Idaho, in the fall, even snow. Riders compete in many laps of a short course and must dismount, carry their bikes to navigate obstructions, remount, keep riding and do it again. It is America’s fastest growing cycle-sport and it is great fun for both participants and spectators.
Cyclists ride all kinds of bikes, but cyclo-cross specific bikes are lightweight with narrow tires and drop handlebars. They typically have a greater tire clearance, lower gearing, stronger frames, cantilever brakes and a more upright riding position.
Our version of Oktoberfest is about more than just racing, though – like it’s German cousin, it’s also a celebration of beer, food and music. Now in its tenth year, Crosstoberfest, sponsored by Hailey’s Power House Pub & Bike Studio and Sun Valley Magazine throws a party with two days of original live music and almost 75 different pours from 20 breweries. Locally grown and raised Bavarian-inspired food keeps racers and spectators energized.
Crosstoberfest Idaho is the brainchild of Billy Olson, a former professional road bike racer and owner of the hybrid bike repair shop/burger and beer joint (with really good food) that is Power House in Hailey. Olson is a huge proponent of biking of all kinds, for every age and ability level, in the Wood River Valley. Crosstoberfest reflects his philosophy that biking is for everyone, with race categories for children, juniors, masters and mixed groups.
This two-wheeling weekend takes place at Old Cutters Park in Hailey. Men’s and women’s events launch Friday, October 11, at 4 p.m. and the fun resumes at 11 a.m. on Saturday. Prizes abound for participants and include everything from beer for the adults to cash prizes. The event benefits Road & Dirt, a non-profit organization promoting local cycling events.
With more than 1,100 miles of mountain bike single track in the immediate area and endless road biking, the Sun Valley area is rightfully recognized around the country as biking Nirvana. And it’s only getting better. Atop Bald Mountain, work continues on the new flow trails being cut and readied for summer 2014. Nine new trails, all with lift access, are planned to add thrills to summer fun in the coming seasons.
Don’t forget it’s also sheep weekend in Sun Valley. The Trailing of the Sheep Festival kicks off on Thursday and activities abound for the entire family.
The weather this weekend in the Sun Valley area looks like it will cooperate, so get out there and enjoy everything this wonderful, chock-a-block weekend has to offer whether it’s biking, sipping a beer, eating a lot of lamb, or enjoying the region’s rich history.