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Origins of Cyclo-Cross

I guess I could look this up, but just out of curiosity: What led to the origin of cyclo-cross?
The discipline looks like a military training exercise, yet it attracts thousands of people to watch the event.
Why do you like watching a cyclo-cross race?
The announcer at our local races always likes to point out the French origins of cyclocross, as a sort of bicycling steeplechase (cross-country point-to-point to the next church or village). Some light googling seems to back up this version.
 
IMO cyclocross is the best spectator sport in all of cycling. An ideal combination of power and technique and fast action. The Madison comes close but it's almost too hard to follow it's going so fast.
I agree. I'd go even further: it's one of the best spectator sports in the world. Why would you watch Formula 1 if you can watch cyclocross? The only reason F1 is huge and cyclocross is not, is marketing. Because as a sport it's way more entertaining.
 
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IMO cyclocross is the best spectator sport in all of cycling. An ideal combination of power and technique and fast action. The Madison comes close but it's almost too hard to follow it's going so fast.
In the U.S., where local or regional road races have died out, cross is by far the most fun and interesting cycling events to watch in person, and there are lots of them to choose from.
 
Why do you like watching any sport?
That's what I've been asking myself lately.
Although I claim to be a fan of different sports, I realize that I rarely watch an entire game of teams and sports I like.
The sports I tend to watch are those I participated in, so I appreciate the level of skill involved in, say, a bike race.
But unless I'm actually at an event and soaking up the overall atmosphere, watching something like a cyclo-cross race becomes boring very quickly.
 
Rhd: I didn't ask anyone about attending a race in Belgium. Alas, if I do in future, I guess I'm going to have to cross you off my list.

You didn't phrase it as a question, no, but replying to my post talking about atmosphere and beer came across as if you thought I had any experience with that.
Why would I go outside where there are people, when I can stay at home?