Master COY Cross Creek Cycling Club

Meet 2021 Masters Club of the Year: Cross Creek Cycling Club

By: Jim Rutberg  March 31, 2022

In a city accustomed to impermanence, the Cross Creek Cycling Club has created a long-standing culture of excellence, diversity, and openness. Fayetteville, North Carolina is home to Fort Bragg, one of the largest military installations in the world. Although the area is a permanent home for many people, it is a more temporary destination for many members of the military and their families. It might seem like the constant flux would make it difficult to build and sustain a successful cycling club. However, just like the men and women of the US military, the Cross Creek Cycling Club has found a way to turn a challenge into a strength.

Leveraging Fayetteville’s Unique Cycling Culture

USA Cycling’s 2021 Masters Cycling Club of the Year currently has about 140 active members, up from 85 in 2019. Most live in the Fayetteville area, but the club has some riders who keep their memberships active even after they move to another post. Vice President James Brown noted,

“I’ve cycled all over the world, with clubs in France, Senegal, England, and probably 30 different cities in the US, and this is the most diverse and best club I’ve ever seen in terms of developing new riders. We’ve had a big influx of female riders over the past few years, in part because of Christina Kenon’s leadership as the club’s first female president. We have a lot of African American and Hispanic riders as well. Our group rides – at all levels – are a good reflection of our community.”

Cross Creek Cycling Club President, Christina Kenon, added, “A large percentage of our members are affiliated with the military somehow, whether active duty, a veteran, a spouse, or a contractor that works in connection with the military. I think that has a lot to do with the club’s diversity, and I love it!”

Perhaps indicative of the strong military influence in the area, the Cross Creek Cycling Club thrives on structure and consistency. Although the club divides group rides into A, B, C, and D categories based on distance, speed, and experience, all groups meet at the same location and time each week. In addition to encouraging greater social interaction, bringing the groups together at the start encourages riders to level up over time, and enables experienced or faster cyclists to ride with friends in development categories if they choose to.

Due to the fact some riders have been attending the group ride for 15 years and others for 15 minutes, every ride begins with a briefing that covers safety, the routes and specifics for the day’s ride, and club news. Once out on the road, the groups are marshalled by designated ride leaders and click off the miles in an orderly 2x2 paceline.

In some ways, the transient nature of the area’s population contributes to the club’s welcoming culture. The atmosphere is not conducive to the development of cliques; there are always new people to welcome and good friends departing – even if temporarily.

Racing and Community Outreach

In addition to being a social and training resource for cyclists in Fayetteville, the Cross Creek Cycling Club actively supports competitive cycling in the region. For the past four years, the club has hosted the Carolinas Cycling Association Regional Time Trial Championship.

Since the club’s inception in 2003, members have raised more than $100,000 in support of multiple charitable organizations including the Eastern North Carolina Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society; Wounded Warrior Project; Ride to Recovery; Cumberland and Scotland Counties Habitat for Humanity, The Army’s Army and others. The club also supports The Bicycle Man Community Outreach Project, a local non-profit that donates 800-1000 new and reconditioned bicycles to kids in the Fayetteville area each year. Club members have provided funds for parts and helmets and donated countless hours of mechanical assistance assembling and tuning bicycles for community kids.