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Get To Know Cyclocross!

Cyclocross is a sport rich in history, with roots in France (like many other aspects of cycling), that has exploded in popularity here in the United States in the past decade. Here in the Midwest, numerous race directors and race officials have commented that the average Cyclocross race now attracts more racers than the average road race, with many times more spectators. Heck, sometimes there are even a variety of food, coffee, and other vendors on site selling their wares at the events!

For us here in the Midwest, Cyclocross is a great way to wrap up your cycling season and make your transition to the pinnacle of the year that is XC Ski season!

Check out this great video by Kona Cycles, highlighting "Cross Vegas" one of the biggest and most exciting Cyclocross Races in the country, and part of the Interbike trade show.

If you're not familiar with "Cross", here are a few things that define the sport:
  • A Cyclocross bike looks much like a road bike, except with a frame that can accommodate a slightly wider and knobby tire, usually about 32mm wide (sometimes even tubulars). Cross bikes generally have canti-lever brakes. A light weight cross bike is important for all the usual reasons but also because racers carry their bikes over barriers on the race course.
  • A Cyclocross race course is usually a short lap course of about 1.5 - 2 miles in length. Races are generally 30 - 60 minutes in length with the racers completing many laps.
  • Races and training sessions are typically held in city parks on a variety of grass, gravel, some blacktop, and maybe a bit of single track.
  • All cross races have "barriers" or steps on the course, which requires racers get off their bikes and carry them whilst jumping over the barriers or running up the stairs. It is amazing to watch experienced cross racers dismount their bikes, get over the barrier, and back on their bikes all in one smooth effortless movement (often without even slowing down).
  • Much like a Criterium Road Race, Cyclocross races usually have a "pit area" where racers can stash extra wheels and sometimes spare bikes in case of a flat tire or mechanical issue.
  • These factors all combine to make what is likely the best spectating in the sport of cycling! Don't forget your cow bell!
Stay tuned to for more on Cyclocross, ranging from the history of the sport, to race reports, to bike set up, to training tips!

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