The Ultimate Go Cross Spectator’s Guide: Get Ready for the Raddest Weekend Around

Cross is here folks! Get ready for a weekend that’s not just about the cycling; it’s about the spectacle! Virginia’s Blue Ridge Go Cross Cyclocross presented by Fat Tire weekend is the perfect time for spectators to pull out those 80’s costumes, embrace their inner rebel, and perfect those heckling skills. In this guide, you’ll find all the necessary info to have the best time at Go Cross whether you’re a seasoned pro or have never heard of Go Cross until just now. 

What is Go Cross? 

Go Cross is the first event of four in the USCX Cyclocross series. We like to describe cyclocross as NASCAR on bikes—competitors are pushing their physical limits and bumping up against one another on courses that are a wild mix of terrains. We’re talking pavement, grass, dirt, sand pits, gravel, stairs, and barriers that would make Super Mario proud. You’ll get to witness cyclists running up hills, bikes flung over their shoulders, gracefully (fingers crossed) mounting and dismounting, and jumping over obstacles. The goal of the race is to complete as many laps of the course as possible during a specified time (typically between 30 minutes for beginners and 60 minutes for the pros). 

There will be announcers giving you the rundown the whole time so you can be fully involved in the action. 

Where & When? 

the “where” is Fallon Park. Enter from Dale Ave, and you’ll immediately see signs for free parking in the soccer fields to the left. Here are the details.  

Races start at 7:30am and end at 5:00pm both Saturday the 16th and Sunday the 17th. Get the full schedule here. Both days, the schedule is the same – giving racers two chances to win on the course. With Go Cross, Day 1 is classified as “C1” – which means riders all get more points for winning and the pros can earn higher payouts on Saturday. Sunday is Day 2 and classified “C2” – but the competition is still hot because the pros are working hard to start off the season in a high standing.  

What Should I Bring? 

Like NASCAR, cyclocross is a spectator-friendly sport. The energy of the crowd creates a totally tubular atmosphere. Loud cheering and heckling are not only encouraged but expected. Cowbells, hand-clappers (you know, those ridiculous neon-colored toys), vuvuzelas, or any kind of noise maker are highly encouraged. You may want to bring a folding chair or maybe an inflatable couch and umbrellas for shade (because nothing will rain on this parade) to set up in your viewing spot of choice. 

Where Do I Watch? 

Speaking of viewing spots, there will be multiple prime locations throughout the course to catch the athletes making some gnarly moves. Here are some of the features you won’t want to miss: 

The PROthirteen Sand Pit- This is no kids’ playground or a walk on the beach. Tilled before the race to keep it fluffy and fresh, this fun feature eventually turns into a technical ride with firm ruts to max out those heartrates and burn out the quads.  

The Black Bibs barriers- You know that sound in Mario when he’s jumping over things? That’s what we hear when we see the racers getting over these higher-than-normal obstacles. 

School Hill- The permanent cyclocross course is located at Fallon Park, where Fallon Park Elementary School sits atop the highest part of the course (hence the name). This feature “elevated” the course back in 2022 at the start of each lap, but this year, race director Frank Deal, decided to stir the pot. You’ll get a chance to see riders take on the hill at the beginning AND the end of each lap. You could call that a double whammy.  

The Avis Construction Flyover- The CX flyover, which basically looks like a bridge, is always a crowd favorite and will be located near the lounge area. This here is a prime viewing spot to catch some riders with a little hang time. 

The Stairs- Thanks to our buds at PLAY Roanoke who installed railroad ties into the side of a hill, you can witness the true athleticism it takes to toss a bike over the should and run up the 10-step flight. We get winded just thinking about it. This feature could be a super decisive spot when the race is close! 

The Lounge- If you aren’t cheering along the tape at one of the features, then you’ll want to be hanging out with us in the wading pool, sippin’ on brews, chillin’ in the Adirondacks and hammocks, or maybe grabbing a coffee from Cardinal Bicycle (available until 11am). There will even be some bike features set up for non-racers to try out! In the lounge area, you’ll catch plenty of racecourse action all around you. On Sunday, be sure to play some yard games with our friends from I Heart SE

What’s the Food and Bev Situation?

This year, we are stoked to have Fat Tire Ale as the presenting sponsor. They’ll have plenty of booze flowing to keep the groove going. Yardbull Meats, a local butcher, will be there providing smash burgers from 11-4 (or until they run out), and Las Tapatias Taco Truck will be there dishing up food all day long. And just in case to 80’s vibes get to be too hot, The Rad Shack Shaved Ice truck will be serving up icy treats. 

What Else is at the Race?

Go Cross is a family affair, so you know we’ve got stuff for the kiddos! On Saturday and Sunday at 12PM, the Lil’ Belgians Kids Race takes place for kids aged 8 and under. It’s the perfect chance to let your youngsters try out a short cyclocross course. Someone is bound to have the next rising pro! This event is free, but kids will need to bring their own bikes and helmets.  

And of course, we’ve got the annual favorite Go Cross Beer Mile Relay presented by RunAbout Sports Roanoke on Saturday at 2:15. This year’s theme is the 80’s: The Good, the Bad, and Vice! Prizes will be given to the best costumes, so go big, go bold, and gather a team of Betty’s. The race consists of four Fat Tire Ales, four laps (about ¼ mile each), and two to four runners per team. Not into beer? No problem! This year we’ll have a non-alcoholic option of root beer as well.  

Another can’t miss? At the end of the day on Saturday, there will be a special Meet and Greet with World Cup Winner and Multi-time Canadian National Champion, Maghalie Rochette, and some of her closest pro-athlete friends. Here’s a chance to rub elbows with the elite racers (without having to face them on the course). 

So there you have it…

fellow thrill-seekers! Your inside scoop to an awesome weekend of cyclocross spectating. For the full schedule of events, click here. Go Cross weekend will be a dazzling collision of tight pants, bright colors, wild wipeouts, and an absurdly good time. See y’all there!