Outdoors Inc Cyclocross Championship Race in Greenbelt Park 

This year, Outdoors, Inc.'s annual Cyclocross Championship race celebrates its 32nd birthday. That makes the USA Cycling-sanctioned event the longest running cyclocross race in the United States.

"Cyclocross is older than that, but other races have come and gone," says Outdoors, Inc. owner and cycling enthusiast Joe Royer. "And we're still here." The Memphis tradition has attracted racers from coast to coast, including both national and world champions. The event's continued to grow and, according to Royer, the sport is more popular now than it's ever been.

click to enlarge Down by the river — Cyclocross 2018 - OUTDOORS, INC. FACEBOOK
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  • Down by the river — Cyclocross 2018

Cyclocross is a winter cycling sport that mixes riding with running and throws in plenty of obstacles. Sometimes racers carry their bikes. "They go over barricades. Run up hills with bikes over their shoulders. It's the coolest thing in cycling," Royer says. "Fans will come out with cowbells, horns, and signs."

Not everybody who participates on race day is an elite cyclist. While some take the sport seriously, others are in it for fun. There are kids races for children 2 to 12. There's a B-Race for more seasoned riders, and a race for professional level riders.

Royer's not just a casual fan. He's been an avid cyclocross racer. More recently, he attended the world championships in Innsbruck, Austria. He bikes the Big River Crossing daily and is inspired by Memphis' expanding, bike-friendly infrastructure. A decade ago, the race settled into its current home in Greenbelt Park in order to take advantage of the unique Downtown landscape and showcase the river.

"We're just really proud," Royer says. "We've attracted racers from Durango, Colorado, Los Angeles, Canada. Everybody knows it's going to start on time, and it's going to be very precise."

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