This time of year, at least in the northern parts of the U.S., the leaves turn colors and the temperatures dip toward winter. Most people put their bikes away because it is getting too cold to ride. There is however, a growing group of people that don't want to hang up their bikes or shove them to the back corner of the garage.
For us it is the time of year to dust off a bike that looks a little different than our normal road or mountain bikes. This bike has a road bike frame, but nubby tires and brakes of a mountain bike. It's been designed to fly over off road terrain. It's tires keep the rider moving through thick mud, dust or sand. The brakes are cantilevers to start with some more expensive bikes now coming with disc brakes. This is completely for mud clearance so the brakes will still work even when covered in mud. Other than that, cross is a high speed version of mountain biking that involves dismounting to run over barriers or terrain obstacles. It's like an off road roller coaster! Welcome to Cyclocross (cross for short)!!
The atmosphere at a cross race is amazing, most people are very friendly to the other participants, it's much more relaxed than your typical road race because everyone is there for a good time. Think loud and entertaining announcers, cowbells and cheering, sharp tongued fans. Think frequent beer gardens and pizza, hot sausages and other bike nutz hanging out together and having a blast forgetting they are adults for a day.
Since the weather in the fall and winter is variable cross races are frequently covered in mud or snow. So imagine riding your bike while slipping and sliding through the mud...it feels just like being a kid again! Plus it is a great workout. So it is a great way to pass a day, one of those types of events that restore your energy and make you feel great. With very little chance of getting hurt since the speeds are slower and the course more forgiving than a road race.
Take a look at this video created by our good friends at SRAM during last years World Championships in Louisville, Kentucky and think about giving it a try!
When you are ready, drop us a note and we can help set you up to try your hand at cyclocross.