In all my years, I have never seen any form of racing as spectacular and fun as cyclocross racing. The sport is a 60-minute off-road race involving modified bikes and obstacles. Also, there are parts of the race where you will have to lift your bicycle over your shoulder and run.
Cyclocross racing was popularized by the French National Championship in 1902, but it was born at the end of the 18th century. Currently, this sport has gained worldwide fame, and the next cross league is just a few minutes’ drive from your home. The good thing about cyclocross racing is you do not have to take special training classes. Despite having professionals amongst them, most people show up just to ride their bikes and have some fun.
Most races take place between March and September, and unlike other sports, the rookies can mingle with the elite, and all ages and levels have their category. Races range from women to veterans, young riders, and seniors so everybody gets to race against equally equipped riders. Seeing that the contest is off-road and involves carrying your bike while jumping obstacles, a little preparation would go a long way to ensuring you finish the race safely and among the winners.
It’s not only the bikes that are different; even your shoes have to be different. Seeing that the race can take place in a muddy area, your shoes need to have a chunky sole to grip the mountain bike clipless pedals used on the bike. The pedals still work even when clogged with mud.
Also, cyclocross bikes have re-routed cables to keep them away from mud and excellent braking power thanks to cantilever disc brakes. The reason most racers love these brakes is due to their durability, great stopping power, minimal servicing, and pad life. Simply put, cyclocross bikes are modified to not only conquer the terrain but give the racers control and stability as well.
How is it Different from other Bike Races?
Cyclocross is unlike any other form of bike racing, and the first differentiating factor is the mud. Other bike races are usually on a track or a tarmacked road and involve no obstacles. Cyclocross racing is the opposite; it’s fun with a little dose of suffering. Also, the kind of bike used in a cyclocross race is way better than the one used in a road or mountain bike race.
Not to mention, a regular road race requires special commitment. If a rider cannot hold the same pace with the pack after 30 miles, they are pulled out of the contest after being lapped. It doesn’t sound like many people go into such a race to have fun.However, cyclocross is friendlier. The string of riders is always within sight, and while you may not be competing to win the race, there will always be people around you to compete with and try to edge out in the last sprint. Lastly, seeing the race is just a drive away from your home, your friends and family can give you an extra boost by adding to your cheering squad.
Cyclocross racing is not all about the mud; the courses feature different surfaces such as tarmac, sand, gravel, and dirt. As long as the trail is off-road and safe, you can have a cyclocross race. Thanks to the internet, you can now find or even join a local league and participate in these amazing races at any time.