With cyclocross, the bike race season never ends
Spoke 'n Word
For some, this transition period into winter is an important act of recovery from a long summer of cycling. But for those who may have gotten a late start to their season, or racers with a competitive fire that canand#8217;t be doused, end-of-summer bike riding is an unhappy time.
If you find yourself lamenting the cold weather and lack of serious bike riding, I have a solution to your problem and#8212; cyclocross. Cyclo-what? Itand#8217;s an off-road style of bike racing, a mix of riding on pavement, dirt, grass, sand and mud combined with some running, obstacle hurdling and bike shouldering.
The courses are usually short, no more than a mile or two and are run for multiple laps for up to an hour. Itand#8217;s designed to be a fast, hard event that can be performed in any type of weather, including snow. Cyclocross events are usually ridden on mutated road bikes with knobby tires and cantilever-type brakes, however, specialized equipment is not needed to be competitive. Many cyclocross racers simply use a mountain bike.
Does the experience of an hour of bike racing, suffering and possible puking while leaping over obstacles into ankle-deep mud sound appealing? If so, I have more good news. Thanks to the Reno Wheelmen Bike Club, all of this fun can be experienced in our region.
If you are nervous about racing, or have been scared away from other competitive bike events in the past, give cyclocross a chance. The atmosphere and attitude surrounding a cyclocross race is unlike anything else in bike race culture.
Itand#8217;s generally understood that racing in nasty conditions on the precipice of winter is a little ridiculous; hence, not too many riders take it seriously. Itand#8217;s not uncommon to see your fellow racers in full Halloween costumes zooming around the course receiving alcoholic beverage handouts. So grab your bike, bring a smile, get ready to race and come participate in the craziness of cyclocross this fall.
and#8212; Team rider Nick Schaffner is the author of this weekand#8217;s Cyclepaths/Wild Cherries Racing column. Cyclepaths/Wild Cherries Racing (www.cwcracing.org) is a Truckee-based cycling team focused on racing and local bike advocacy.
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