There are several reasons I love cyclocross, and why it’s remained a part of my cycling training program. It’s also a great sport for anyone looking for something new to try: It’s relatively easy to perform well in races with minimal training. Races are much shorter than typical cycling events; it’s more like a criterium. So it’s not that important to train for five- or six-hour rides. Signing up for races can be incredibly motivating, too, because it gives you something to look forward to and work toward.
Here are some tips to help you get started on the right track (so to speak!):
Cyclocross racing can involve getting off your bike and carrying it over certain sections of the course. Please know: Jumping on and off the bike is a skill that falls into the “Don’t try this at home” category. Have an expert show you how to do it, and then practice. Know it’s OK to slowly dismount so you can safely continue the race. That said, carrying your bike is also not for the faint of heart. Spend some time (at least six weeks) strengthening your core and back muscles to help stabilize your body and prevent injuries.
One of the advantages of cyclocross is that you can be alone when you train. It’s extremely peaceful, but solitude has its risks, too. If you crash and injure yourself, you might need some help. Always carry a mobile phone, and always make sure it’s fully charged before leaving for a ride.
Be sure to bring some food and at least one water bottle. You could be far from a gas station when heading off on the trails, and having something handy to snack on can literally help fuel your rides.
In Germany, our biggest predator is the fox. OK, the wolf is making a comeback, but it’s nearly impossible to see one. That might be a little different in Northern Europe and North America. While I love wildlife, we’re now talking about bears, mountain lions, wolverines, and wolf packs. Attacks are completely unlikely, but if you happen to ride between a mama bear and her cub for instance, she could get angry. Similar to hiking, if you’re going somewhere where it’s known there’s a lot of wildlife, it might be a good idea to bring a friend. Animals are less likely to attack if you’re not alone.
That wasn’t meant to scare you at all. Cyclocross is incredibly rewarding and peaceful. Let’s head out now for a ride, shall we?
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.