Cross is coming! Whether you’re a new rider, seasoned road or mountain bike racer, or weekend warrior, you should give cyclocross a try. While the sport has been around for decades, the recent rise in popularity in the U.S. has made it super accessible to all riders. The local cross scene offers up a colorful, tight knit community of fun-loving cyclists and provides the opportunity to hone your handling skills, get muddy, and keep up motivation during the fall and winter months.
Here are 5 reasons we think everyone should try it:
It’s A Blast
Cyclocross is ridiculously fun. If you haven’t been to a cross race, expect big crowds, friendly racers, cowbells, heckling and beer. No matter how skilled or unskilled you are at cross, we guarantee you’ll have a blast no matter what. Unlike road or mountain bike races, you can get “dropped” in a race and still be a part of the action and party atmosphere. Plus, there are races for most age categories, including kids races and 65+ fields! The courses typically run on short laps less than a mile long, so you’ll always have company and fans cheering you on.
Racing cyclocross will enable you improve your handling skills exponentially. Tight turns, loose dirt climbs, switchbacks, bunny hopping and dismounting will help you understand the limits of your bicycle and give you a huge confidence boost when it comes to bike handling prowess.
The Bay Area has one of the most vibrant cross scenes in the country. There are literally races every single weekend September to December with multiple race series bringing their own personality to the mix.
To name a few series, we boast the Bay Area Super Prestige Series in the San Francisco Bay region, CCCX Series in the Santa Cruz region, Sacramento Cyclocross Series (USA Cycling sanctioned), and the Super Pro Cyclocross Series offering up the wackiest course features of them all. You can check Super Pro’s Facebook page for updates. Most races are unsanctioned which means you won’t need a race license to enter; you can just show up, self select a race category and go have fun.
You Can Get Fit Fast
Did you know you can get into cyclocross race shape relatively quickly? The demands of cyclocross racing do not necessarily require several months of preparation to have fun. If you’re testing out cross for the first time, you can rely on your summer riding fitness and pair it with specific cyclocross workouts to be substantially prepared for your first race. Contact an Achieve coach to get started with a specific cyclocross training plan! Even if you’re not at peak fitness, you’ll still have fun getting muddy, testing your abilities and meeting great people.
Minimal Time Commitment
If you’re a Bay Area resident, most races are located less than an hour away making racing a half-day commitment rather than a full-day. Training time is also reduced compared to road or mountain bike racing demands, meaning you can feel relatively strong in a cyclocross race with just 6 to 8 hours of training per week. That means more time for family, friends, your career and life in general.