The Outdoor Gear Builders of WNC had a blast at this year's CycloCross Nationals, held at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. Thirteen of our manufacturer-members took part in the event expo, and we even added a new member while we were there, linking up with Grava Bike Co. out of Lenoir, which makes gorgeous bikes designed for our mountain's difficult terrain and varied surfaces, switching smoothly from gravel to road to tire-sucking CycloCross-style mud with just one frame.
We had a great time cheering on the badass athletes who smiled and slogged through the frozen mud and the steep, challenging course built by the crew at USA Cycling alongside a plethora of local volunteers, and the Buncombe County Sports Commission deserves a special kudos for all of their hard work in bringing this event to the area and bring a linchpin in coordinating it both ahead of time and on the ground.
They were also key in helping our members set up a collaborative, heated(!) 2400SF Local Gear Lounge on-site, right near the race finish line, (check out our Instagram Feed or Facebook Page for photos) that housed ten of our members, while the crews from Industry Nine, Cane Creek, and DeFeet had booths right next door. Being set up right across from Sierra Nevada's big ol' solar beer trailer wasn't bad either!
Inside the tent, we had Bellyak, Blue Ridge Chair, ENO, Fifth Element Camping, GoWorx, Lightheart Gear, Liquidlogic, Native Watercraft, Outrider USA, Recover Brands, Swaygo Gear, SylvanSport, Threshold Provisions, and Watershed Drybags all demoing products and helping spectators, volunteers, vendors, and athletes alike stay warm with seemingly endless cups of hot cider and cocoa. The tent was rocking all week long, and we were cetainly glad that some of our members make gear that's perfect for lounging out in!
We had a blast both watching the races and talking with all the fans, pros, and athletes who came out to CX Nats, and look forward to more taking part in more events like this one in the years to come! It was a truly world-class event, and proves that Asheville and WNC have the chops to put on events that do our region proud.
In the meantime, for more info about the races, and about some of the fun gear that members had on display at their booths, including I9's aptly-named Death Trap, check out the recent coverage of the event on BikeRumor and the Mountain XPress.