I know this site is called singletracks.com but today I broadened my scope of riding to include cyclocross racing. In the past I’ve dabbled in enduro and in the future plan on doing some cross country, but I’ve been intrigued but these people in tights racing 10 speeds on dirt and sand trails. To me they just seemed to be roadies who lost their way.
After some thought and a day of spectating I signed up for my very first cyclocross race. I felt a little out of place on a full suspension Santa Cruz Tallboy Carbon. To be honest, I almost wore my full face helmet and downhill body armor. There were 2 of us on full mountain bikes. When the race started I gained a whole new respect for these lost roadies! Some of these guys are fast as hell! Honestly I think my ride was an advantage on the rutted downhill sections and for sure in the deep sand. I pedaled my ass off and had a great only to finish last… oh well. It was my first race of this kind and I finished without an injury or mechanical failure.
Just curious, does anyone else dabble in the cyclocross racing world? I had a great time and the vibe throughout the weekend makes me want to go back and do it again. The other bonus is that it pushed me out of my element and I’m sure it’s going to improve my riding.
This particular series will allow mountain bikes. The one restriction I saw was “no bar ends”. Other than that we are allowed to race. It’s nice to be able to try something without having to spend a bunch of money on a specific bike or specialized gear. I may not have looked like everyone else but I was having fun like everyone else!
Bro, I cyclocross! It’s one of the hardest race formats. You have no time to warm up and get into your groove during the race. You’re pegged on the limit from the gun to the finish.
I really enjoy racing cross, but the major drawback for me is the timing of the season. It starts in the fall, which is my favorite time of year to go mountain biking. So, I can either spend a day in the mountains riding for several hours, or I can spend an entire day driving to and from a cross race and ride for an hour and a half (I usually do two races: single speed and geared).
Either way, it’s super fun to try and even more fun to spectate.
I’ve raced using a dedicated cross bike and a mountain bike. The easiest and best change you can make to your Tallboy is to put narrower tires on your wheels. It will make a huge difference, especially in the flatter sections!
That’s awsome Aaron. I raced my Tallboy and it was tough. Racing my single speed would have been brutal! I’m going to do a few more and decide on getting a dedicated race bike. You are absolutely right about it being tough. Riding at red line for 45 minutes (or an hour depending on class) is harder than I thought. I have a new found respect for those who I used to think were just lost roadies.
I don’t race but do have a trek X01 cross bike. I ride it in the single track sometimes. It is fast in the woods and it works your butt off but is a great time. Got a heck of a deal on it so I could not pass it up.
I’m just finishing up my first season of Cross, have a couple friends who are MTB’ers but have been doing cross for a couple years. They asked me if I wanted to try cyclocross and I said “sure, what’s that” Did my first race on my full suspension bike and came in dead last too. Borrowed a bike for a couple races and it helped so much, and just bought my own cross bike a couple days ago (Giant TCX slr2). It’s loads of fun and the people are great. I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to try something new.
Awesome Cwcolvin! I have a love/hate relationship with cross racing. I hate it while I’m out there racing, but I love it as soon as it’s over. There’s usually a really good community around cross racing too. It’s fun hanging out, drinking beer, and yelling at people on bikes when you’re not racing.
Haven’t raced yet, but bought a cross bike because it is so versatile. I can put skinny tires on it and do my annual sprint triathlon, put fatter slicks for touring and knobby 35mm tires for eventual cyclocross. Plus I love the vibe they have at these races, very loose and lots of friendly heckling!