The best sports, we say, combine beauty and ridiculousness, and that’s why cycling is a favorite of ours. But, like many others in the Bay Area--too many, it turns out--we’ve recently discovered cyclocross, a form of Pure Sweet Hell. Others have written eloquently on the attractions of this "bike-riding amalgam of roller derby, steeplechase, mud wrestling, and ballet" -- so let us just say here that, as a spectacle, it combines all the beauty and ridiculousness of your standard road race with an added beautiful/ridiculous component of leaping on and off the bicycle to surmount the various natural and artificial obstacles by sadistic (and therefore beloved) race promoters.
The growing number of Bay Area cyclocross enthusiasts are fortunate to have a full calendar of events: the local season was launched September 1st with the first race at the Livermore Area Recreation and Park Department (or "LARPD"--charming!) race series. Our neighbors on the periphery of the Bay Area (i.e., beyond the reach of BART) also host cyclocross series (Sacramento, the Central Coast), but the crown jewel of Northern California is the Bay Area’s own Super Prestige Cyclocross Series, now in its fifth season (or saison cinq, as the preferred nomenclature would have it).