9 reasons why you should try Cyclocross this Winter
The sport of Cyclocross, often referred to as ‘Cross, CX or Cyclo-X’, is a sport which combines criterium-style racing with uphill running. Sound intriguing? We think so, and here are nine reasons why you should give it a go for yourself this Winter.
1. Combines cycling, running & high intensity training
From sprint starting on your bike to jumping off and lifting the bike up steep, muddy hills, good core and upper body strength is the key to victory. Although it’s dependent on the race, for the most part, CX demands more strength than MTB or road racing, so that’s one thing you can brag to your pals about who’re busy moaning about that 100-mile road outing.
As Cyclocross events are relatively short, you’ll be able to enjoy reducing the length of endurance you’d usually do at a long length sportive whilst also increasing your speed.
Also, as CX involves short stints of running with the bike slung over your shoulder, it’s essential that you can muster up a good sprint. Fear not, however, if running isn’t your usual thing, as Cyclocross will allow you to start training, and once the season is over, you might even have caught the running bug. This is great if you’re dabbling with the idea of a triathlon.
2. It’ll test your balance to the extreme
Cyclocross will test your balancing skills in a similar way to MTB. With muddy trails, slippery obstacles to run over, and balancing all of this with a bike on your shoulder, it’s important to have complete balance awareness to not skid off track and lose some vital points. Also, you don’t want to break any bones having a nasty fall.
3. You can use a Cyclocross bike for more than just Cross
You can use your trusty Cyclocross bike for much more than just competing. Take it on the road, gravel trails or through muddy fields. Your CX bike has the right balance for any pavé.
Also, if you don’t have a Cyclocross bike, now is an excellent excuse to get one, right?
4. You’ll improve your handling skills
With Cyclocross demanding an adverse range of handling skills, whether it’s sliding over thick mud, rocky ground or just tackling steep inclines, your cycling skills will be tested that’s for sure. Cyclocross gives you the ability to improve your handling, which you can then transfer back to the road or MTB when Cross season is over.
5. There is a time limit on the races
The longest you’ll ever be racing for is 60 minutes, which for some is a lot more enjoyable than say a 3-5 hour road race. Given that the races take place at weekends, you won’t have to give up too much of your time, and if they’re on a Sunday, you’ll even make it home for that well-earned Sunday Roast.
6. Suitable for all shapes and sizes
When you think of road racing, you’d usually imagine a Chris Froome-shaped physique; lean and usually quite small (albeit Froome is a good 6ft tall, but you catch our drift). With Cyclocross, size isn’t as much of an advantage, as you’ll see a mixture of big, small, lean and muscular whippets flying around the course.
The big guys do well, and so do the small, which we think is pretty awesome.
7. You get to race against the pros
There are not many sports where amateurs of all levels get to race against the pros on a weekly basis. Well, that is except for Cyclocross. Week in and week out, you can race against the best the country has to offer, and whilst this may mean you get lapped, when can your roadie mates boast they race against a National Champion?
8. Everybody gets points for competing
Because of the way, the points are structured. Unless you finish outside the top 100 in your age group (which would rarely happen, as this relies on more than 100 competitors in your age group) you get the points. This means that the more dedicated you are, the higher you’ll climb up the league. Even if you don’t boast great results.
It’s also probably the most accessible form of bike racing. There are leagues based all over the country. All you need to do is rock up with your bike and race. Because it’s a circuit-based race, you can’t really get dropped from the bunch, so you can just race at your own speed.
9. There is so much fun to be had
Ultimately, Cyclocross is a race which will give you endless fun from start to finish. With many races to choose from up and down the country. With the advantage that spectators are guaranteed to have as much fun watching as you’ll have. Why don’t you give it a go this weekend?
Check out the races which are near you thanks to British Cycling.