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PDF Cyclocross for Roadies: How and Why to Get Started

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Nah, maybe just a few minor catastrophes, but think of the new dirt opening up in greenland! And who rides near the coast anyway? A decent idea at this point would be to have Pinkbike put on there own series. Put together a group of Pros, mechanics, or photographers even amatuers in a video contest. Make the parameters about riding in the winter, training, or whatever and do a tournament style bracket and have the PB community vote.

Do it once a month and have a point system then crown a winner come spring time. That would cure the winter blues If i understand right the pros can't ride non-uci events. Prevents competition from inovative new formats. I hate UCI. It is a monopoly and should be dismembered. You can't dismember it!!! It wouldn't have a leg to stand on. Birmingham BMX track last night, flood lit till and not a drop of mud insight!! Bring it on.

Any sport that's dirty and has beer at the end is worth watching!! Bowen Oct 10, at I have drank more watching CX than DH.

Create Your Own Cyclocross Racer on a Budget by Converting an Old Road Bike

Local CX guys party surprisingly hard. Cross racing has a whole different feel to racing than anything else. It really is mostly about how far you can push your body and how much you can hurt. It takes a twisted person to really enjoy cross. There is some sick pleasure from battling in a pack in shitty weather and cold and finally breaking the other racers and pulling away all while feeling like you lungs and legs are going to explode.

You have to really enjoy pain and pushing your body to the max. And then there's the extra level of crazy that some of us take it to, and do it on a singlespeed. And destroying the ground that you're riding on. Yeah, let's get out our road bikes, put nobbys on the tires and ride through some nasty mud, maybe we will carry the bike around for a while too.

How to Convert a Road Bike for Cyclocross Racing

Likely to be the most ignorant thing I've witnessed. And DH doesn't tear up the mud? Anything with a lot of bikes in the mud is going to tear things up. Quit being ignorant and giving DHers a bad name. A mountain biker complaining about cycling associated erosion and calling it ignorant Being ignorant? DH is nothing like CX. In CX, they choose random grass parks and make 6 inch deep mud spots, randomly without any thought of drainage.

Completely irresponsible building, which is the opposite idea of building mountain bike trails. Do you guys understand now? Don't knock cyclocross until you try it. I'm a diehard mountain biker at heart but tried it last season and am hooked. It's perfect as it helps you keep your fitness up in the offseason while having a good time out in the muck with friends. It's interesting to see which courses different riders excel at too based on your primary discipline. Check one out!! Johnny-W Oct 10, at Or how about some bright spark organises races in places that are now in season?

The UCI needs to get the hell out of our sport, the fact they started the race season so late and the weather was shite for the last 2 races just go to show they haven't got a clue. Since the local trails have been taken over by nimby, "lowest common denominator", "flow trail" bullcrap, I've started riding the CX bike there to keep things interesting.

As trails all over are being dumbed down, I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to keep things challenging. Sure it's a road bike, but when you're passing the local closet roadies who push those lame changes, it's fun to see the frustration on their faces when they realize making the trail 4 feet wide with zero rocks or roots only made things worse for them Hey dude, you're a short drive from Kingdom trails!

I thought the article was about having another spectator mtb series.


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Not participation. I don't think cx would be fun to watch on a screen. I can hear Warner saying, "look at the time. So they're more interested in winter sport promotion. I bet there's some rad racing or slopestyle going on that doesn't get any coverage. I'll be completely honest with you. CX seems quite dumb until you try it. I've raced a little bit, and it really is pretty fun. Most of the people doing it aren't doing it out of competition, it's a big party. After you finish your race you drink until you puke.

Hmm the demise of 4X? Any how in the Uk 4X racing continues to sell out races at Chicksands bike park all over winter. MCMbiker Oct 10, at I'm doing Southridge USA races in Fontana from now until March, there are like 9 between now and March, they would fill in a few days for sure!!!!

This isn't the time or place to debate the demise of 4X, but what is certain is that doing gate starts in the cold, slick mud is no fun at all. Two start gates at the top of a grass bank, one finish line at the bottom and some flags in between to make a course. A sport that makes the most of the winter weather and combines those two great, universal human passions of head-to-head racing and watching grown-adults sliding on their face in the mud.

Hwulex Oct 10, at I agree whole heartedly, as long as you can find some grass. This is exactly what we did a couple years ago once the Bike Park closed down. I thought the cyclocross explanation was fn hilarious: "As far as I can tell, the main deal with cyclocross is to use an awkward bike to make dull trails less boring and suffer trying to pedal through the worst filth you can imagine. Except that cross is not raced on trails really and that cross bikes aren't awkward, they are the fastest bikes for the course.

So true, nailed it with that, the author did! Most surely I am going to get hammered by this, but the truth is that in my not so humble opion CycloCross is sort of pointless, why do Cross Country in the Mud in Road Bikes? I mean what is the point of riding something that can actually be ridden in any XC hardtail? Well, as we say in my country: there is always something for any taste.

CX was around long before mountain biking it started in as a means for road cyclists to train during the off season. The road bike frame gives the correct geometry and lightness for carrying. Anyway, give it a shot and you'll understand. XC races dont often get handups of beer, bacon, and cash mid race.


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Where I live the real mtb trails get muddy in the winter and they get rutted and trashed. Please, please, please go for a Cyclocross ride instead of wrecking the mtb trails. Cyclocross is so much fun. I can definitely see how it doesn't appeal to a lot of people. You really are riding through the worst conditions imaginable only to throw your bike on your shoulder and sprint up a hill that is too steep to ride up. Personally, I love it. Winter is a time for CX and skiing. My big bike can come out to play when the trails thaw out.

Less time watching Red Bull TV means more time getting out and riding. I suppose for event organisers the possibility of ice, or snow, on the roads or the course is a big variable affecting the turn out, and therefore the potential sponsorship etc, not to mention emergency service access. And with DH races could affect uplift availability.

There's also the extra environmental impact which could limit the venues and routes available. As far as I can tell Cyclocross races, with a couple of exceptions, are generally just riding round a muddy field in a not too remote location. So this stuff is less of a problem. You may be required by race organizers to remove bar-ends or other accessories for safety reasons, so make sure to verify this with the race officials. If you have a touring or commuting bike, it may also work for cyclocross.

Another option is to look for used cyclocross bikes. Like most race bikes, they are often easy to find when serious racers upgrade every year or two. However, because they can be treated to tough conditions, always make sure any used bike you purchase has been well maintained and is still structurally and mechanically sound. If in doubt, have your favorite mechanic take a look at it before you buy. Please do keep in mind that for some races, you will be required to ride a cyclocross bike, not a mountain bike or modified touring rig. Always be sure to check with the race organizers or commissaire well before the event if you are unsure of the suitability of your bike.

In the past, cantilever brakes were the most common type of brakes used on cyclocross bikes. Many cyclocross bikes will have the brake and shifter cables mounted along the top of the top-tube, rather than along the bottom as is typical on a road bike. The reason for this is to allow for more comfortable portaging shouldering of the bike, as the design keeps the cables clear of your body. Disc brakes have since become most common in cyclocross with newer bikes. In spite of their strong stopping power and excellent performance in muddy conditions are ideal for the sport, they were initially banned by UCI regulations until As such, most cyclocross specific bikes were sold without them until they also became common in the pro ranks.

But as soon as they were allowed in the pro ranks, most mid to high level cyclocross bikes quickly also changed to feature disc brakes. These secondary levers can be quite useful on tricky courses, and are well worth considering if you are trying out the sport for the first time; they may increase your comfort in dicey situations by allowing you to apply the brakes without moving your hands to the hoods or drops. It is also quite common to see cyclocross racers with a single-chainring setup, which simplifies maintenance and decreases mechanical complexity, minimizing issues in tough muddy conditions.

Almost any type of c road wheel can be used for cyclocross. However, since the sport can be hard on gear, it may not be the best idea to use your fancy low-spoke-count ultralight carbon racing wheels. You may see some racers with deep-dish carbon rims, which tend to be lighter weight and some argue cut through the mud a bit better. However, I suggest leaving these to the guys that can afford them or are good enough to notice the difference! There are a few major considerations when choosing tires for cyclocross; type clincher vs.

The first choice you will have to make is between tubular and clincher tires. Obviously, if you already have a bike and wheels, you will run tires that match with the type of wheels you already own. However, if you are looking to buy a new bike or wheelset, you will need to make a decision. The main advantage of tubular tires is that they allow you to run at very low pressure, which as you will learn below is very advantageous in cyclocross racing.

For this reason, you will see some tubular riders with a large collection of wheelsets, one set up with tires for each possible set of conditions.

CX vs XC Bike On A Marathon Course. Which Is Really Faster??

This obviously raises another downside of tubulars—the cost, which for most is considerably higher than clinchers. Clinchers do have some advantages over tubulars. Firstly, they are much easier to deal with; you can easily mount and swap tires, and you can change a tube to fix a flat. Disadvantages to clinchers include weight, lack of selection, and the inability to run at the very low pressures of a tubular tire.

Weight is obviously a consideration, although perhaps not a big enough one to base your entire decision on. This is the main reason most competitive riders use tubulars. The objective in cyclocross is to run at the lowest possible tire pressure you can without pinch-flatting or damaging your rims.

There's No Need to Spend a Fortune on Your First CX Bike

Also, lower pressure allows for a smoother ride by absorbing some of the bumps and vibrations of the course. Riders with lower tire pressure will be less fatigued from vibrations, and thus able to spend more energy where it counts. Choosing the optimal tire pressure can be tough, and the optimal pressure on one course is not necessarily the one you will want to use on a different course or even the same course under different conditions. If the course is fast and not very technical, you will want to run a higher pressure than you would if it was muddy, technical, or very bumpy.

However, some courses will contain a combination of these conditions, so their proportions will help you decide the best pressure for the day. Most will be happy to tell you what they are using, and you can gain their experience simply by asking. In general, clincher tires can be run between 30 and 50 PSI. As mentioned above, tubular tires have the advantage of being virtually immune to pinch-flats, and thus can be run at an extremely low pressure, often in the PSI range. Tire pressure also varies based on your body weight, although less so than on the road. Most entry level cyclocross tires will be a medium aggressive tread, which is a great multi-purpose tire.

These types of tires allow mud to release from the tire as it spins, rather than get packed in the tread, which essentially turns your tires into very heavy slicks! However, the UCI width limit as of is 33mm, so you may see fewer wider tires available in future. Wide tires increase weight and pick up more mud than a narrower tire.

Also, since the low tire pressure allows a narrower tire to deform, it actually has a quite large contact patch. Thus, an even wider tire is not necessary. In some conditions, mud, snow, or sand a narrower tire is an advantage because it allows the tire to cut through the mud and get down to a solid surface to grip. Typically, mountain bike clipless pedals are used in cyclocross as a result of their superior performance in muddy conditions.

Keep in mind that a double-sided pedal is best, as it allows you to clip in to either side of the pedal after remounting, rather than having to flip it around to a specific side. The CrankBrothers pedals are even better for this, allowing four-sided clip in. Mountain bike shoes are best for cyclocross, both because they are designed to work with mountain bike pedals and accept the proper cleats and because they have tread which allows you to run in them, unlike smooth-soled road shoes.

Also, mountain bike shoes tend to be slightly less stiff than road shoes, making running easier on your feet. Another advantage of mountain bike shoes is that many of them have optional toe spikes which screw in to increase grip in muddy conditions. Another option is to lube your pedals and cleats with a light oil to prevent mud from sticking, but even this wears off quickly in sloppy conditions.

Most true cyclocross bikes do not have water bottle cages. If you have a bike with bottle cages, consider removing them. Choosing appropriate clothing for cyclocross can be challenging.

Guide to racing Cyclocross - Cycling Weekly

In general, you should perform your pre-race warmup wearing extra layers that are easy to strip off immediately before the start of the race. Ideally, you would have a friend or family member at the start line who you can pass clothing to just before the race starts. If you are really lucky, your friend will also meet you at the finish with these clothes so that you can put them back on as soon as you cross the line.

Just like road riding, most riders will wear a base layer under their jersey or skinsuit. This can be a sleeveless tank-top style, a T-shirt, or a long-sleeved crew-neck style, depending on the weather. Regardless of the style, the layer should be light and wick sweat away from your skin to keep you dry and comfortable. Most cyclocross racers will wear a standard cycling jersey for racing cyclocross. This is particularly true if you race for a team, and need to represent your sponsors! Long sleeved jerseys are especially well suited for cyclocross, as they are warmer than short sleeved jerseys.

In very cold situations, some riders choose to wear full-length tights, either on top of their shorts, or alone if they have a chamois built in many cycling tights do not. Bibs are preferable to shorts since they have more coverage on the lower back and also tend to fit better and provide more support. These are nice to have when the temperature drops. Some riders particularly at the higher levels of competition prefer to wear skin suits, which have several advantages over a jersey and cycling shorts. Secondly, skinsuits tend to fit more snugly than standard jerseys, which results in less snagging when dismounting, shouldering, and remounting the bike.

Some companies are now manufacturing winter weight skinsuits specifically suited for cyclocross, which use warmer fabrics to make racing in cool or cold conditions more comfortable. Since it can be tough to choose exactly what to wear in a cyclocross race, warmers allow you to fine tune your clothing selection without re-dressing completely if you choose incorrectly. Some riders choose to wear cycling vests while racing. Since they are generally windproof, vests are a great option for keeping your core warm in windy or cold conditions while leaving your arms unrestricted.

In some very cold or wet races, a windproof or waterproof jacket can be very useful. It will keep you dry in the rain, and, even if worn only during your warmup, will allow you to at least start your race in dry clothing! Wool socks are king for cyclocross! Wool will keep you warm when wet, is very comfortable, and takes all the abuse you can give it. Many companies now make cycling socks of Merino wool, and these are particularly well suited for cyclocross.

However, most good Merino wool hiking or outdoor socks are fine for cyclocross, and many are warmer than the cycling specific versions. Booties shoe covers are another useful cyclocross item. The ventilation in most modern cycling shoes is not ideal for cyclocross, so covering it up with a booty will greatly increase your warmth. Look for booties with open bottoms to ensure you can still clip in to your pedals easily and run when required. Some people associate embrocation warming balm with cyclocross.

Use of embrocation is quite common, although benefits are debatable. Embrocation works by increasing blood flow to the skin. Thus, embrocation makes you feel warm, but actually makes you cool down quicker, since the blood at the surface cools down more quickly than blood deep in your body. However, because cyclocross is such a high-output activity, embrocation is useful to keep you feeling warm for the first lap or two until your body catches up and starts pumping warm blood back to your extremities. One thing to keep in mind when using embrocation is to be sure to apply shorts and chamois cream before applying embrocation!

Also, be sure to wash your hands well after use, since rubbing your eyes may result in an uncomfortable situation otherwise! Depending on weather conditions, you may choose to race in short-fingered cycling gloves, light long-fingered gloves or winter weight cycling gloves. Regardless of the type of gloves you intend to wear, make sure you have enough dexterity to shift, brake and maneuver your bike as you race.

Of course a helmet is not an optional piece of equipment for cyclocross, and you will not be allowed to start the race without one.

2. You learn how to master the mud

It goes without saying that you should also wear your helmet while warming up. In some cases, the visor may be advantageous in keeping sun, water or mud out of your eyes and face. Under-the-helmet-wear will likely depend on weather conditions and personal preference. In warm conditions, a light cycling cap or nothing at all works fine, while a light skull cap or toque is invaluable when the temperature drops.

They will help to keep mud and debris out of your eyes. Depending on sun conditions, you may choose to use dark lenses, yellow-tinted lenses, or clear lenses. Regardless, get lenses that block UV rays to protect your eyes. In some wet conditions glasses may decrease your vision by getting covered in water or getting fogged up. Be sure to pack a bag with post-race gear items, including a warm, dry change of clothes, your recovery food and drink, a towel and other items to wash up.

Belgians are so dominant in cyclocross that in the season both top male and female racers on the World Cup circuit were Belgian. Websites such as cyclingfans. Cyclocross is somewhat of a blend of both mountain and road biking, and for that reason a lot of the equipment can transfer among the three sports. With its blend of fitness, finesse, power, and its uninhibited atmosphere, it is the perfect blend of awesome. So in short; get a cross bike, find some friends or a group to ride with, seek out a race , and have some fun!

Emma Lujan's athletic background began with cross-country running in high school. While working on a Bachelor of Science in Psychology at the University of Victoria Emma bought a road bike and began racing triathlons. After a few years racing at the National level in draft-legal triathlons, she decided to make a switch to road racing. Emma is currently racing at the Category 2 level for a team based out of Vancouver, Canada. She is very passionate about the cycling lifestyle, gaining more exposure across North America, and hopes to bring her knowledge of racing and training to I Love Bicycling.