One of the earliest known examples of the term Black Friday being used was a 1951 article in the trade magazine, Factory Management and Maintenance. It went on to describe how Friday-after-Thanksgiving-itis was a disease second only to bubonic plague. I’m not sure if bubonic plague is a worse or better descriptor as to what Black Friday has become. 

For those that aren’t into the whole shop till you drop and only the strong get the cheap TV’s The Racing Post offers a family friendly alternative in the form of Black Friday Cross. For 2014 the race was extended to include the Saturday after Thanksgiving giving the opportunity for more kilojoules to help burn off that extra slice or three of pumpkin pie. 

Having a cross race after thanksgiving provides a couple of distinct opportunities.  As evident by some of the spectators on the course, out of town parents and grandparents are able to take in what it is their kids and grandkids do on the weekends. Whether or not they come away with an understanding of what that is may still be up for debate though. The other opportunity is a little more nefarious in nature, but pre-registering for a cross race is a good excuse for getting out of crazy shopping escapades and awkward conversations with Uncle Albert who’s in town for the holiday weekend.

The Black Friday course for 2013 was fast with a few technical sections including some 180-degree turns around trees and a spinning pinwheel of death. This year the 180’s were still there, but thankfully the pinwheel of death was gone. In its place though was a creek crossing that only appeared dry until you tried to cross it. Soon after the first few warm up laps though it was a rutted and muddy mess. 

More of a refinement from last years race than an addition were a series of 180’s on the hillside at the back of the course. Taken on the whole the turns made the hill resemble the teeth of a blocky saw. In that same section which required nearly all of my focus during my race I watched Nick Torraca and Rob Sandusky come through on the first lap of the P 1/2/3 race having what seemed to be a casual conversation. Maybe they were talking about EuroCross Camp

In talking with one of the course designers there’s ample opportunity for more technical features.  One of which is a seriously off camber, around a tree turn leading to the creek crossing and then a dirt ledge that would be very difficult to ride.  There’s also another section of trees that could be added to the course, which would have the added benefit of making the course longer.  The time it takes to add those sections being the hiccup keeping them from becoming reality. 


 So for next year be sure you get a “prescription” for your Friday-after-Thanksgiving-itis. If you explain to your family how it beats standing in line for hours at the local big box store waiting for a $50 TV only to have it wrestled away from you by a mother of seven I’m sure they’ll understand. You could even bring some of that extended out of town family to see what this cyclocross thing you keep talking about actually is. Be sure to let them know cowbells and pumpkin pie hand-ups are welcome. 

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