The weather is on everyone’s mind as the UCI 2017 BMX World Championships takes off Tuesday in 90-degree heat.
The first day of races is the cruiser category — bikes with 24-inch wheels slightly bigger than the typical 20-inch.
Most fans carried umbrellas — for shade from the sun — as they sat in the stands or navigated the food trucks.
“Besides the heat, it’s been amazing,” said Jennifer Gilbert of Texas, watching her 17-year-old daughter Korie race. “Just the hospitality of the Rock Hill staff here.”
Gilbert watched BMX racing when she was pregnant, and started her daughter in racing at age 3.
“She was born into the sport,” she said.
Tabby Remdeall of the United Kingdom said her family has been to several world championships, including Colombia last year.
“It feels like we’re really kind of in BMX country,” said Remdeall, who is competing at the world championships with her daughter and two sons. “There’s a lot of support.”
She said her son, Zach, started in BMX first. Daughter Elsa, who will be competing in the 9-year-old girls group, was the world champion in her age group two years ago.
Remdeall, who competed in triathlons and other cycling sports, decided to try BMX racing, too.
“I decided to not stand on the sidelines,” she said. “BMX is really different. It’s not the easiest thing to take up at 41.”
Sean Kilian of South Africa said Rock Hill’s Novant Health BMX Supercross Track is “world class.”
“By far the best track I’ve ever been to,” he said. “The facilities are great, the people, the Americans are fantastic. So much so by the end of next year I’d like to be moving here, living here.”
Katie Quinn, a spokesperson for the city, said heat aside, the event is running smoothly.
“The first day of racing seems to be going as well as the practice days did,” Quinn said.