Cyclocross racing was started in Europe in the early 1900s with an aim of helping racers to remain fit during the fall and winter seasons. It quickly became popular as the sport that intensely helped athletes improve their racing fitness and expertise. Today, cyclocross races are only an hour long making them user friendly for anyone to ride without any specific training.
Just like the triathlon sport, cyclocross mixes riding and running; with more focus on skillful bike handling. Spectators with colored horns and bells, racing pace and cool climate provide a festive environment. Most races range between 1-3Km with different terrains such as tarmac, sand, dust, steep slopes, mud and sometimes run-ups and steps. When racing, the pace at the sharp corners are pretty fast, hence the stop-go guide of the courses and racing require you to have an intense workout.
The races also have hurdles, mud and sand pits, forcing the racers to carry and run with their bikes. Some races are intense and are more focused on single-track trails, tree stumps and roots or any other obstacles. The races are about the rider and the obstacles, making them engaging for all riders with different abilities. There is no getting ‘dropped out’ of the race!
Cyclocross bikes are almost similar to normal road bikes; they are equipped with 700 circular wheels, firm frames and forks and dropped handlebars. However unlike normal bikes, cyclocross bikes have different frame geometry, equipped with cantilever or disc brakes, wider bent tyres, slightly low gearing and more clearance for mud.
Know how to race
Most cyclocross races take place during the autumn and winter seasons, although summer cyclocross races are also gradually becoming popular. Joining club racing events is a great way to start as a beginner because they allow you to grow and perfect your skills and confidence while racing with the more experienced riders. Some clubs have training sessions for young people and adults.