New Brunswick

Cyclists dodge old animal statues in cyclocross race

More than 60 cyclists raced around decaying animal statues, 600 metres of yellow tape and even a spectator dressed in a shark costume at a cyclocross event in Penobsquis.

More than 60 cyclocross racers compete at weekend event at old Animaland theme park in Penobsquis

Cyclo-cross rides popularity

6 years ago
Duration 1:22
A weekend cyclo cross drew more than 60 entrants and many spectators over the weekend 1:22

More than 60 cyclists raced around decaying animal statues, 600 metres of yellow tape and even a spectator dressed in a shark costume at a cyclocross event in Penobsquis.

The weekend event, which was the last race of the season for cyclocross racers, was held at the old Animaland theme park near Penobsquis.

Race organizer Ellen Watters said cyclocross, a sport that combines cross-country cycling with a variety of obstacles, is picking up traction around the world.

A weekend cyclocross race was held at the old Animaland theme park in Penobsquis. (CBC)
"It's huge in the Netherlands [and] Europe. It's huge there and it's really growing in North America too," she said.

Dozens of old statues still dot the grounds of the former theme park.

The statues served as both obstacles and scenery for the racers. 

Spectators also climbed up the old statues so they could cheer on the cyclocross athletes speed by them. 

The large sculptures weren't the only animals spotted alongside the course, however. One fan got into the spirit by dressing up as a shark to motivate the racers.

Race draws new spectators

Bonnie Fraser said the animal statues offered a unique experience for race spectators, especially those who are new to the sport.

Spectators cheered on the 60 cyclocross racers on Sunday. (CBC)
"It is really neat. I've never watched any of this before but it's nice to come back into the Animaland and see all the old statues still standing here," she said.

Troy McGibbon was cheering on his wife Vanessa, who was racing on the weekend.

McGibbon said the race site brought back some very distant memories.

"I was probably around my daughter's age the last time I was here so that's back in the '80s," he said.

The race was moved to the old theme park after the fire at Poley Mountain last year.

The theme park also brought back memories for those who were racing.

When Joel Bragdon showed up to race in the weekend cyclocross event, he said it was likely the first time he'd been at the Penobsquis park since the 1970s.

"I haven't been here since so it was really cool to come down through and check out all the little sculptures all over the place, moose and bears and everything in there," he said.

"It's really cool."

Organizers say the positive response to the cyclocross event means they should be back to dodge some animals again to next year.

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