Training

This time we are looking at Cyclocross or CX training.

THATS RACE!!


Cyclo-cross (sometimes cyclocross, CX, CCX, cyclo-X or 'cross) is a 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.[1][2] Races for senior categories are generally between 30 minutes and an hour long, with the distance varying depending on the ground conditions. The sport is strongest in the traditional road cycling countries such as Belgium (Flanders in particular), France and the Netherlands.

Cyclo-cross has some obvious parallels with mountain bike racing, cross-country cycling and criterium racing. Many of the best cyclo-cross riders cross train in other cycling disciplines; however, cyclo-cross has reached such size and popularity that some racers are specialists, and many prioritise cyclo-cross races over other disciplines. Cyclo-cross bicycles are similar to road racing bicycles: lightweight, with narrow tires and drop handlebars. They are typically differentiated by their greater tyre clearances, lower gearing, stronger frames, cantilever brakes and more upright riding position. They also share characteristics with mountain bicycles in that they utilize knobby tread tires for traction and, increasingly, disc brakes. They have to be lightweight because competitors need to carry their bicycle to overcome barriers or slopes too steep to climb in the saddle. The sight of competitors struggling up a muddy slope with bicycles on their shoulders is the classic image of the sport, although unridable sections are generally a very small fraction of the race distance.

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. Drafting, where cyclists form a line with the lead cyclist pedalling harder while reducing the wind resistance for other riders, is of much less importance than in road racing where average speeds are much higher than in cyclo-cross.

A cyclo-cross rider is allowed to change bicycles and receive mechanical assistance during a race. While the rider is on the course gumming up one bicycle with mud, his or her pit crew can work quickly to clean, repair and oil the spares. Having a mechanic in the "pits" is more common for professional cyclo-cross racers. The average cyclo-cross racer might have a family member or friend holding their spare bike. (from Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclo-cross)






                       

                         Thanks to Kris Westwood


The Bike

Almost a road racing, but stronger

Make your own CX experience

Cyclo-cross bicycles generally resemble road racing bicycles. Cyclo-cross-specific frames differ with their wider tire clearances, knobby tires, cantilever or disc brakes, and lower gearing.

Cables are generally routed on the upper side of the top tube, which allows the rider to carry the bike comfortably on the right shoulder through portage sections, and prevents cable contamination by dirt.

Popular on many cyclocross bikes is routing the brakes so that the right brake is often the front brake. This is done to allow the left hand to control speed while approaching obstacles requiring the bike to be carried, while the right hand grips the frame ready to lift the bike onto the shoulder as soon as the rider`s feet touch the ground.

As a high-end bicycle purpose-built for a specific sport competition, they also differ from ordinary cross bikes, which are general-purpose utility bikes fitted with slightly wider 700C tires for use on unpaved paths or trails


Clothing is similar to that of road racing. However, since cyclo-cross is a cold-weather sport there is an emphasis toward warmer clothing such as long sleeves, tights, knickers and arm and leg warmers. While many racers will use standard two-piece road kits, there is a very strong preference to wear one piece skinsuits to maximize freedom of movement. The other advantage of skinsuits is that they are tighter, preventing the jersey from getting caught on stray tree branches during some singletrack sections of the race course. The one piece construction of the skinsuit also prevents it from exposing the torso while the rider shoulders the bike. Mountain bike shoes are adopted, as they allow the competitors to run, unlike their road racing counterparts, and due to their degree of traction (compared to smooth bottoms found on road racing shoes). Toe spikes are used to aid in running up steep muddy slopes and in the adverse underfoot conditions. Full-finger gloves are optional but generally recommended for hand protection and for grip in muddy/wet situations. Experienced riders racing in dry conditions will often eschew gloves, presumably for better tractional feedback though the handlebar, and more natural bike portage.


Races usually consist of many laps over a short course, ending when a time limit is reached rather than after a specific number of laps or certain distance; the typical length for senior events is one hour, with 30 and 45 minute races for lower categories being the norm. Generally each lap is around 2.5-3.5 km and is 90% rideable. Races run under UCI rules must have courses that are always at least 3 m wide to encourage passing at any opportunity, however sections of singletrack are common for small races in the USA and Great Britain. A variety of terrain is typical, ranging from roads to paths with short steep climbs, off camber sections, lots of corners and, a defining feature, sections where the rider may need, or would be best advised to dismount and run while carrying the bike. Under-tire conditions include asphalt, hardpack dirt, grass, mud and sand. In comparison to cross-country mountain bike events, terrain is smoother. Less emphasis is put on negotiating rough or even rocky ground with more stress on increased speed and negotiating different types of technical challenges.