Brook runs the best race in the bike business, we caught up with him after the Tour
The Cross season opener for us is CrossVegas during Interbike. We asked the promoter of the event, Brook Watts, 5 questions about the race.
Bike Hugger: CrossVegas is the best show in the bike business, how’d you get so good?
Brooke Watts: My stock answer is, “Better lucky than good,” but the real answer is that I’ve got a team of people who give up their free time and vacations every year to stage the biggest show in cross. If you say it’s the best show in the bike business then I’m very flattered. I started out as a bike race organizer who went to work in the world of promotional agencies representing client’s in sports and event marketing. When I returned to the bike industry several years later I brought that discipline and the need to deliver value to sponsors into everything I do. It also helps that my title sponsor Clif Bar loves a big show and is so supportive.
On top of everything I’m a showman, I love taking things over the top which you can do in Las Vegas whether it’s Elvis, showgirls or neon on the finish banner. I’m currently scheming on a Bollywood extravaganza to take place between races, complete with the Indian choreography and colored dust. I may not pull it together this year but one day….
Bike Hugger: What’s happening this year and how many of these have you done?
Brooke Watts: It’s the Lucky 7 year. CrossVegas turns 7 in September so my birthday gift is Sven Nys racing his only U.S. race of the season. If you’re a fan of cross you have to see The Kannibal of Baal square off against the best from 10 nations and the U.S.
Bike Hugger: Following Worlds in Louisville, do you expect another big season for cross in the US?
Brooke Watts: I’ve seen no signs of a slow down in cross growth. There are strong races in every corner of the U.S. The day after the first CrossVegas in 2007 bike manufacturers wrote the biggest orders for cross bikes they had ever seen. The retailers responded by saying “hey, we can stage races in our towns” and the sport just zoomed.
As an aside, I’m working on a South American cross initiative that vividly illustrates the global appeal of the sport. That’s going to open the door to year-round racing.
Bike Hugger: How do you get over the barriers and through the beer gauntlet?
Brooke Watts: Are you a barrier-jumper or a dismounter? Can you carry a bike with one hand free for a beer? These are the universal questions that people have been seeking the answers to for years.
Bike Hugger: Finally, how does one register, attend CrossVegas?
Brook Watts: Registration opens August 6 on crossvegas.com
Ed. note: After a good run of 42 issues, our magazine app is no longer available, but we’ve archived the content here on our blog.
Also published on Medium.