What is Cyclocross?
Cyclo-cross (sometimes cyclocross, CX, cyclo-X or ‘cross) is a fairly new form of bicycle racing. Races typically take place in the autumn and winter (the international or “World Cup” season is October–February), and consist of many laps of a short (2.5–3.5 km or 1.5–2 mile) course featuring pavement, wooded trails, grass, steep hills and obstacles requiring the rider to quickly dismount, carry the bike while navigating the obstruction and remount. It is typical for a CX course to be muddy, sandy, and maybe even have snow. The best way we know to explain it simply is to says cyclocross little like a “Spartan style” mud run and a bike race mixed together.
Races for senior categories are generally between 30 minutes and 90 minutes long, with the distance varying depending on the ground conditions. Juniors in the USA typically race for 30 minutes. The sport is strongest in the traditional road cycling countries such as Belgium (Flanders in particular), France and the Netherlands, but has grown quickly in the USA in the last 10 years.
Compared with other forms of cycle racing, tactics are fairly straightforward, and the emphasis is on the rider’s aerobic endurance and bike-handling skills. Cyclocross is 100% on a closed course, often set up at a park or farm, and is very spectator friendly. For these reasons we believe cyclocross is a GREAT spot for a junior to start racing!
Cyclocross season begins in September and runs through January. Because the season does not end until January, your “race age” for cyclocross is the age you WILL turn in the FOLLOWING year.
If you just want to come try out cyclocross, first wear clothes that are appropriate for the weather (it’s usually cold), a helmet, and tennis shoes. You can technically use any off-road capable bike to begin racing cyclocross, but it is recommended to have a bike that you can easily lift and that has clearance between the frame and tires for mud build up!