The world's best lined up at the CrossVegas World Cup on Wednesday night-- 58 men from more than a dozen countries, including 17 Belgians and 16 Americans. Among them was Cyclocross World Champion Wout van Aert and JAM Fund's Scott Smith.
The race at the Desert Breeze Sports Complex was a bumpy 2.8k course that sucked the life out of every rider.
"The grass was very thick," Smith said. "It zapped my legs. I couldn't coast at all. There is almost no recovery."
As the announcers placed their bets for the odds-on favorites, the start lights turned green. Then, mayhem and riders bumping into each other and swerving to get around. Smith started in the back row and got through.
"I barely squeaked by," he said. "One Belgian on the ground kicked my down tube. I was that close."
Thousands of fans lined the course to watch the big show under the lights.
"I love the energy and all the people around," Smith said. "It's super cool racing the best in the world."
Smith was selected for the Vegas World Cup team this summer.
"In mid-August I got an email from Marc Gullickson who coordinators all the off-road world cup riders for USAC asking me if I wanted to go," Smith said. "I was next in line because someone turned down their Vegas spot. I was pretty psyched to get that email."
This is Smith's second season in a World Cup race. He competed at the World Cup in Hoogerheide and World Championships in Zolder last winter.
Smith is resting this weekend. His next race is KMC Cross Fest on October 1.