The 2014 Surf City Cyclocross Finals
Words and photos by Brian Vernor
My own history of racing cyclocross with the Surf City Cyclocross Series is too long to recount in a short article. In brief, Surf City Cyclocross is why I made my first film, Pure Sweet Hell (which premiered ten years ago this month), and why I have kept cyclocross near to my heart since my first race as a junior in 1993.
There are many heartlands of cyclocross. I’ve been to Belgium, Spain, Holland, Japan, and all over the United States, searching for the best action, beautiful courses, and the cult-like communities which make up the cross scene in each of those unique cyclocross heartlands. I appreciate all of them, but I appreciate none of them more than my own scene. That’s how it should be. People here in Santa Cruz have doggedly stuck to the core of what is cyclocross in America. Cyclocross is a contradiction; it sucks to do, and it’s glorious to have done it. Cyclocross will never have the audience and participation of football, basketball, or baseball, though we involved are always trying to grow it while keeping it true. Truth comes first and growth comes second.
The Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds in Watsonville, CA, is the best cyclocross venue in America. The course is hard and scary. The elevation is considerable. The weather sordid. This venue should be the National Championship course, the World Cup course, the World Championship course, that we deserve. And I mean we in the sense of the international cyclocross community. The Fairgrounds deserves the respect of every cyclocross racer in the world. Many people have argued against the Fairgrounds hosting major events, but I race and to me the course is what matters. As a person who has found great inspiration in cyclocross, to make films, to make photographs, and tell stories, the race is truth and the venues which often host our major events fall short of cyclocross truth. Arguments about why one venue should be our Nationals, World Cup, World Championships, often stray toward business and more business, yet the bottom line is beauty.
The photos I present here are simply those I took of my friends this past weekend in Watsonville. I race with friends every weekend and every weekend I am inspired by them. Every weekend I expect the simplest of things, a race which is beautiful and ugly at the same time. That contradiction is what continues to inspire me to ride and also to pull out my cameras.
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