Wednesday October 17, 2012 | 07:30 AM
It's impossible to describe cyclocross in a word. Or even several words. What the mix of cycling, obstacles, mud, pavement and cowbells requires is a paragraph - much of which will focus on what the sport isn't:

DowneastCyclocross.jpg

It isn't a mountain bike race, but MTB riders often compete. It isn't an event filled with drafting and climbs, though riders pedal close together and there are the requisite small hills. It is run on courses built in fields and parks that include pavement, single track, dirt, mud, open space. And it does include obstacles that require dismounts during which riders shoulder their bikes and run before jumping back in the saddle.

Cyclocross has a little bit of everything - for everyone - and it's happening for the section straight weekend in Maine. This week's event is the Downeast Cyclocross at Pineland Farms where two days packed with races will kick off at 8:30 a.m. Saturday. The final races each day go off at 3 p.m. and in between will be categories from juniors to pro men to elite women.

View the schedule here.

In cyclocross the courses are designed with spectators in mind and riders are judged by how much of the course they cover in the time allotted for each race. At Pineland races will run from 40 to 60 minutes. With an average lap time of 7 to 10 minutes that's a lot of riding.

If you head out to watch, plan on being loud and rowdy and hearing a lot of cow bells.

If you plan to ride, click here to register online. Registration closes Thursday, Oct. 18 at 11:45 p.m.

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