Wednesday, April 16 2014 10:54 PM EDT2014-04-17 02:54:16 GMT
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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- The Masters Cyclo-cross World Championships got underway on Tuesday, with racing beginning in windy and muddy conditions.
About 650 riders will take part through Friday, and there's a lot of excitement about the course. Twenty-four riders between the ages of 60 and 64 are going head-to-head at Champions Park near the old River Road Country Club property.
They are going up and down hills, and even running through the mud with their bikes.
Dave Luczynski, a 50-54 age group rider from Elgin, Illinois, tells WDRB News, "We got here and it offers a lot of challenges. The grass is soft so you thought it would be a speedster course if it was dry and hard, but it's not, not ridden in, got a workout, so it's a good course."
Meredith Miller, Cyclo-cross athlete who wasn't competing, but was lending support to friends who were, said, "I think it's exciting, the momentum and growth of cyclo-cross in the US has been huge. Part of that has been because the world championships are here in Kentucky and U.S. American cyclists are excited about it because in the history of cyclo-cross, world championships have been never been held outside of Europe until this year."
David Gaylinn of USA Cycling was asked about any preparations for the weather, and he responded, "Oh, no, it's not baseball. They will ride, if the course gets too dangerous, they'll delay it. But, for the most part they'll ride through anything, like football."
The majority of the riders for the Masters are Americans, but some Europeans are competing as well. The youngest competitors are 30 years old -- the oldest more than 80 years old.
Many of the Masters athletes will be watching the elite riders on Saturday and Sunday.