Cyclo-Cross (often abbreviated to ‘Cross) is generally an autumn and winter sport. Massed starts make for exciting races, usually no more than an hour in length – and shorter for juniors, women and veterans. There are usually free-to-enter races for younger riders. Some organisers are now starting to run summer series, which are proving very popular.
Lapping it Up! Cyclo-Cross races are usually multi lap events, held on short (typically less than a mile and often less than half a mile), grassy courses, generally in public parks or on school playing fields. Less technically demanding than Mountain Biking, Cyclo-Cross often requires riders to dismount to clear artificial obstacles – often wooden boards. The ability to swap smoothly and quickly from riding to running and back to riding in one fluid motion is a key skill for advanced riders.
The short lap lengths mean that better riders often lap some of the slower competitors, but that’s not the end of the race – you can still submerge yourself in the action, enjoy your own private battles and forget whether you are first or a hundred and first – that’s the beauty of the sport: it’s what you make of it that counts.
Cyclo-Cross machines look very similar to road bikes, with dropped handlebars and thin tyres – however the latter have a knobbled-tread for grip, powerful brakes, low gears and better frame clearances to prevent clogging with mud, all of which adds up to make them easy to handle on the rough.
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