It should be obvious to any close follower of the sport that Cyclo-cross is a growing phenomenon in the cycling world, but it often suffers as a poor cousin to the road, track and mountain bike disciplines.
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7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:38 PM

The reasons for its growing success are varied, but in many ways
Cyclo-cross (CX) is the ultimate cycling sport for today. Outdoorsy,
action-packed in often purpose-built natural amphitheaters, easy to
televise because of its compact racing time frames and perfect for
attracting vantage point gate receipts.

The sport also has strong
roots in its Belgian and Dutch heartlands and a rich history to build
on as it branches out from its European playground.

Cyclo-cross is also
growing in America, the biggest economic market in the world, and its
roots have even snaked all the way to Australia, with a growing group of
pioneers giving it a red hot go.

Clearly there is enough there for the sport to stand on its own as a full-time cycling option for aspiring athletes.

But
there is more to be done according to British rider Helen Wyman, who
today penned a passionate and ringing call to arms for her sport, telling potential
talent that there are riches to be had outside of the usual pathways of
road, track and mountain biking.

The piece applies equally to riders here in Australia as it does to those in the United Kingdom.

"I
want you all to know that Cyclo-cross is a good career path as a
cyclist. You don't have to be an MTB rider, or a track rider. If you
love Cyclo-cross, please race Cyclo-cross," wrote Wyman.

"There
are good teams at the top of the sport, wonderful people running
development teams, there is huge financial reward, there is fame (for
those of you that want that), and perhaps most importantly there is fun.
Lots and lots of muddy fun.

"Over the years I've been racing,
I've heard so many stories directly from racers who say they wished
they'd stuck with Cyclo-cross instead of chasing an Olympic goal.

"They've
realised when it's already too late. They've turned down contracts to
follow a path they felt they should, but it hasn't worked out.

"I'm
not saying life is always rosy. I'm not saying CX racing is always
perfect. But I am saying that in 2014, although your careers adviser
will not inform you of this, CX is a legitimate career pathway.

"You
can be rewarded financially both as a man and woman. CX is no longer
just about a rich life experience. It's a rounded, fulfilling career,
that makes me excited to go to work everyday."

As they say, head over to her website and read the whole thing. Its terrific. And motivating.

The
sport here in Australia is only in its infancy and still relies on
riders who crossover for cross training purposes or the sheer fun of it,
the muddy fun Wyman loves.

But if Wyman's call is heeded here,
from those early efforts by Aussies who ride road, track and mountain
bike will grow another group of riders, pure Cyclo-crossers.