Happy Halloween: Did US cyclocross start with Miss Gulch?

“I’ll get you my pretty, and your little dog, too!”

The well-known movie quote has permeated American pop culture for decades, an instant one-liner hit since 1939, when the movie “The Wizard of Oz” debuted.

But what most assume is an emphatic statement directed at Dorothy Gale by the Wicked Witch of the West/Miss Almira Gulch could actually be competitive “locker-room talk” directed at her cyclocross competitors.

Gulch was a socialite and neighbor of Aunt Em, Uncle Henry and Dorothy. Using her status, she rides her bike to the family’s home in Kansas in the beginning of the film to threaten to have Dorothy’s dog, Toto, put to sleep for biting her.

Gulch appears to have a swift cadence on the bike trundling along dirt roads and an impressive dismount (seen at end of video above).


Although cyclocross origins have been traced to the early 1900s in Europe, the first U.S. cyclocross national championships did not take place in until 1963. Before that time, historical records are murky at best.

One fact we do know: Gulch’s first name, Almira, is strikingly similar to a Specialized bike model – the Amira.

Could it be that Gulch pioneered the early beginnings of cyclocross in the United States and she competitively raced her rivals on the dirt paths of Kansas, dodging cattle, jumping over barbed wire and cornering fence posts?

One thing’s for sure: Had Gulch been alive/real today, she likely would be a Cat 1 racer taking on the U.S. pro cyclocross calendar.

Happy Halloween from Clipped In