The Beginners Guide to Cyclo-cross

As told by Colin

Cyclo-cross is basically steple-chase on bikes. It is fun, fast, hard, and entertaining. I race the "C" class for now, since I don't have an USCF license to race with, as soon as I get one I will move up to the "B" class and race there. I race in the sport class in mountain biking and decided to get into cyclo-cross racing to keep in shape. Going to race race for the first time can be intimateding, I did the race on my tricked out Team Specialized, and wished that I had a cyclo-cross bike only because everyone else had one. But when I was racing it didn't matter what bike I was on. In my first race I saw the advantages to a real cyclo-cross bike. But in the race I did last weekend it was a muddy, hard to pedal if you don't have a "mudder". I won last weekend (dec. 1, 1996) and was on a mountain bike, other racers behind me were on cyclo-cross bikes. One problem is that there aren't a lot of Jr. cyclo-crossers so everyone is put in the same pot for a "cross" age race. over all I got second place, not to shabby. I hope to have a "cross" bike for next years series but for the average "C" class racer a mountain bike with no bar-ends will do greatly. ----CYCLOCROSS---- Oh the fun, excitment and challenge of a good cyclocross race. What cyclocross is, is a short course ussually in a park with obstacles that require the rider to dismount and run across it. The A and the B class race for an hour, the C class races for half an hour. You may think that this is a short amount of time, but it is a hour or half hour sprint. It is challenging, quick and take endurance. Since it is in the winter it is cold. How Cyclocross came to be was Euro roadies need to keep in shape during the winter. But the speeds on the road were way to cold. So they headed for the woods. In the woods you go slower, the obsacles are so you have to run so you feet stay warm, it is a sprints to the warm blood gets pumping, and it is short so you can get in and get a cup of coffee. It is great sport to get into. Lately it has popularity in the US, but it has been around as long as competitive road cycling has been around in Europe. You can race your mountain bike if you remove your barends, but the best cycle to use is a cyclocross specific bike. This means that it is basiclly a road bike with canilever brakes, smaller gearing, smaller frame size, meatier tires, and sometimes a cushion for throwing the bike on your shoulder. If a cyclocross race is in you area please compete in it. -Some of this wonderful information was assisted by me reading the cyclo-cross article on the NEBC home page- go there for more in depth cyclo-cross information ---While I like cyclo-cross racing, and now really getting into it, my first love was in the woods on a mountain bike. I am fourteen and have been mountain bike racing for two and a half years, each year my skills get better, I go faster, I do better in races and I love the sport more. I race all over New England and have five first places, At Mount Snow I got second place in the open juniors class. Mid-season I got a letter from EFTA saying that I was promoted to the sport class, my best finish as a sport is a third, but still I am happy that I am racing in a higher cat. I race for the Eastern Fat Tire Association Junior Devolpment Team, They are kind enough to pay our entry fees and help us out, and we get to wear snazzy patches. See you at the races! ------All about my bike------ I being a 14 year old freshman had some trouble paying for my bike, but with enough hard work, and perserverence I was able to buy the bike of my dreams!!!! My new bike (I got it the week before Mt. Snow in June) is a "96 Team Specialized S-Works M2, I has XT parts, Kooka Cranks, a Judy FSX Fork, and a whole assortment of parts that are just wonderfull. Take my word for it, this is one race worthy bike, and it's the rider, not the bike. But me, and this steed are one good team. --------My future bike-------- This one is going to take me a while to afford, but someday I will be able to afford the bike. As of now I am cruising the cyclo-cross courses on my mountain bike, but soon I will have a Bontrager CX, specially designed for cyclo-cross racing. You buy it just frame and fork so I'll tell you the parts that I have one this bad boy, I will have Shimano 105 throughout, I will have XT brakes, a USE shokpost, XT hubs, Trek 700cc rims, Specialized tires, and a assortment of goods. This is my ultimate cross bike, and I look foward to improving my skills on this bike. My Review Area!!! editors note: (this is new, and the whole page is new so don't laugh!) USE Shok Post, THE ULTIMATE SUSPENSION SEATPOST!! I first decided that it would be a worthwhile investment to buy a USE post when I busted my back, I could no ride for a while, and when I could again it was painfull, I went to inter bike, and looked at an assortment of posts to cure my ailment, the one that caught my eye was the USE post, this uses nitrogen charged elastomers to acheive 2" of plush travel, the preload is adjusted by a hex key on the bottom of the post. There is a micro-adjust head, and a mud boot to keep the elements at bay. I choose the XCR model which happens to be the top of the line model, This post weighs in at a mid weight of 430grams. Using the post, the post was wonderfull, even after a long ride my back is not sore, you ride the hardtail the same as always because the 2" is not enough to take the big hits, but it is enogh for washboard chop, and it is just the thing for some one not ready for rear suspension. I now have other people at the shop interested, and I will be putting one on my cyclo-cross bike. WARNING!!-The post does have one draw back, after about 100 hrs. of riding the post gets about a 2mm side-to-side play, this is not noticable, but could be freaky to some. PLEASE WRITE ME AT MTBRACER@GEOCITIES.COM AND TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK OF THE SITE, ANY CORRECTIONS THAT I SHOULD MAKE, ANY QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE, OR ANYTHING ABOUT BIKES IN GENERAL, ESPECCIALLY MOUNTAIN BIKES.

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