What Is Cyclocross – Training Guide

What is Cyclocross? Cyclocross is essential in improving overall fitness, handling skill, intensity maintenance in winter, and racing techniques. It’s also a fun activity that many enjoy engaging in and watching. A forty-minute characterizes it to one hour racing period covering not more than three kilometers. There are many people involved who compete against each other with timing chips tracking the position of the fastest rider. It’s mostly run in areas with fewer obstacles, especially in mixed terrain. Many rides develop riding techniques, which leaves behind the technique.

What is Cyclocross? – The Type of Cyclocross Bikes

Source: Global Cycling Network

Given the specifics of this type of training, it’s obvious that you can’t use just any bike. You need a special type of a bike to race in the cyclocross training. There are several options to choose from starting from a mountain bike to gravel bike or cyclocross bike. The cyclocross bike is the best option due to its light weight and the placements of handlebars which enables you to race in a more aggressive position faster for a longer time period. Gravel bikes are also worth consideration. But let’s look at every option one by one.

First things first, if you are on a tight budget and can’t purchase an entire new vehicle but the race or the training period is coming up, it’s okay. The good news is that no matter the type of bike you have, you can put certain things together to create a short term alternative to the professional cyclocross specific bike. Even though whenever you have sufficient finances, it’s advised to buy one as it will just makes things easier for you.

So, in conclusion, if you have no specific cyclocross bike fitted for the training, ride on what you have at hand. You will see yourself what type of bike you are going to need to purchase. As well as other details about your future model starting from handlebar height to speed and tire options. Let’s now look at what type of bikes are actually used in cyclocross training.

MTB

Source: Insider

Mountain bikes are the first obvious option when it comes to cyclocross riding. Given its design specifically made for dealing with rough terrains with enough strength, stability and speed, they will likely be the first on the list of bikes you would want to buy if you are considering participating in anything cyclocross related. Mountain bikes make it easy to do all the tricks given the type of large and knobby wheels they have.

One tip for all types of bikes is to get rid of all the extra stuff that those bikes come with or you as a rider take with you. When training or participating in a cyclocross race you are not going to need much. Just your bike and yourself.

Keep in mind that the frame needs to be as light as possible. Definitely lighter than the full suspension bike. When participating in cyclocross race you don’t actually need a fat knobbed wheels. They are great on rough roads but they aren’t half as speedy which is what you should be aiming for. So choose something not as wide and half slick. Pay attention that the knobs are on the side of the tires rather than in the middle.

If you just replace your tires on a mountain bike, it’s good to go. Just make sure it’s lighter, less knobby and half slip.

Road Bikes

Source: Bikerumor

It may sounds unbelievable but you can indeed convert your road bike into a cyclocross bikes. First things first, the tires. Just like with mountain bikes, if you just switch to the correct tires, you are halfway ready to race or train. Keep in mind that when it comes to frame, you need something with a considerable clearance. This is important to support larger tires as well. Especially during cold weather. IF your road bikes has a aluminum frame, it’s perfect. Steel frame will do too.

As for the wheel, truth being said, most road bike wheels are actually quite compatible for cyclocross training. So you may not even have to switch them. Tubular wheels are a great selection here so in case you own them, make a use of them.

Again, tires are the most important part. Something around 32 mm should do. This is the standard sizing for the majority of cyclocross bikes nowadays. So something not too wide but also not too narrow, although that was a trend at one point back in time. If your frame is for a touring bike, then choose something slightly wider. To provide better stability, as the frame will likely be heavier and need more support.

Hybrid Bikes

Source: Editorial El Pirata

Hybrid bikes for cyclocross are an interesting choice and here’s why. Cyclocross bikes share many similarities with road bikes. They kind of have the same purpose. While hybrid bikes share similarities with mountain bikes as well as race bikes. They are best fir for long distance rides where you also need to pick up some speed. So they might actually be the perfect choice. Second only to Gravel bikes.

The major issue here would be tires. You will most likely need to switch them to something narrower as hybrid bikes tend to have wider tires. This is because they are mostly used on muddy and rough terrains. They are fat and knobby. Knobs on cyclocross tires should be on the sides, less in the volume as well. As for the handlebars, it’s okay if your hybrid bike has a drop set as some cyclocross bikes do too.

Gravel Bikes

Source: Cycling Weekly

Aside from the cyclocross bikes, which are specifically modeled for cyclocross races and trainings, gravel bikes come at the top. Gravel bike are perfect on pretty much any terrain any weather condition any distance and time. They are one of the most versatile among all the other types. They perform well on mixed terrains which could be an additional benefit, especially during races. It mainly depends on you and your riding style. When making a choice between buying a special CX bike or a Gravel Bike, we definitely recommend buying the first option.

However, if your riding style matches gravel bike more, you may even buy the second option. And if you happen to already be an owner of a gravel bike, you don’t have to spend extra money as it will get you through the cyclocross experience just fine.

What is Cyclocross? – Cyclocross Techniques

One needs to be aware of different techniques to help be more competitive. It does not necessarily mean mastering every technique, but it’s vital not to miss the most important ones.

Cyclocross Running

Cyclocross racing requires running at times which requires heading to the hills with startup sessions. You do not necessarily have to be a good runner since it’s rare to win the race for quick running. The minimum speed of the cyclocross bike denotes how fast an individual can run.

Dealing with Mixed Terrain

Cyclocross racing takes place both in the summer and winter seasons. Winter seasons are becoming more popular with racing with wet muds and sharp hills. Racing during such a time requires simultaneous braking and pedaling. Cyclocross racing requires braking while powering the rear wheel to maintain traction. Freewheeling on the mud causes losing grip, making simultaneous pedaling and barking. It’s such an important trick to learn during the training, which improves the racing techniques.

Sand areas are different, requiring hitting with high speed while maintaining cadence. Positioning the body correctly with the bike is essential in such terrain, which requires intense and explosive efforts in local parks. It’s vital to avoid looking at the trees but focus on where you are going. It lowers the high chances of hitting it.

Shouldering and Dismounting Cyclocross Bike

Source: Global Cycling Network

It’s a skill mainly found in cyclocross, requiring smooth getting down from the bike. Running requires getting down the bike and turning back on it again, which is an important skill to have. It requires holding bars top due to stability, unclipping and swinging one’s leg above the back wheel. The next thing is to put the legs in a similar position while holding the pedals and bike frame. Down tube grabbing follows when running stride to lifting it to the shoulder in a single motion. Such places the tube located t the top between the rider’s neck and shoulder.

Cyclocross Bike Descending

It requires complete relaxation when steep downhill since it is more likely to feel nervous. It’s a process requiring speed adjustment by covering the brakes while using them altogether. While avoiding running above the bars, it’s essential to control overall weight. Next is to keep an eye on where you will avoid hitting available features. Looking at the ahead terrain gives you enough time for adjustment and preparation before reaching it. If there is any chance of wheels interlocking and skidding, it’s best to release the brakes to gain more control and traction.

Bunny Hopping

It’s an alternative to dismounting or running over obstacles during cyclocross. It requires practice due to its requirement of hopping at the running speed. It first requires placing hands on top to gain stability while bunny hopping. The front wheel, pedals, arms and legs help in such an activity. The arms must be straightened with the front wheel kept upright and flat pedals. Arms and legs compression helps move towards the bike while the bodyweight is at the front. The air position of the back wheel requires touching the two other positions, which is a requirement with many obstacles.

Line Choice

Source: GranFondo

It’s crucial to select the correct line when in a cyclocross race to win over the competitors. There are several line options in such a race which an individual chooses. The right section lowers root hitting resulting in a standstill while making it easier to race in such a competition. You will come across different terrain, which raises the need to look ahead. Lines keep on changing depending on the race progressions. It’s vital to be open-minded while not always following the other rider next to you. Bikes handle differently in changing terrain, which one master after training. It adds on confidence and experience, thereby raising the knowledge of dealing with it effectively.

Cornering

Cornering is a technique that requires practice while in the terrain since it is somehow different from the road. Cyclocross cornering tips are essential in assisting the process. There are lower speeds in such terrain compared to roads. Sharper turns require cornering like in the road. It calls for ensuring inside pedals are up while pushed down by the outside. The leg must be straightened to increase the overall grip. It’s not advisable to adjust the speed in the corner since it increases the chances of slipping out by hitting the brakes. Such activity should be done before approaching the corner. The inner shoulder dipping enhances weight transfer to the tires and lowers the centre of gravity. The process aids in increasing maneuverability responsible for whipping the bike in different corners.

Conclusion

Depending on the season, which forms a significant priority, one can start the cyclocross training pretty much any time. It also depends on the type of bike you own. But as you have seen above, with some little switching, you can avoid purchasing a special CX bike altogether.

Cyclocross has many obstacles such as run-ups, barriers and sandpits. The essential skills in such a race are smooth dismounting and remounting. There is a wide variety of bikes to choose from, but racing with a dedicated cyclocross bike brings numerous benefits. It has specific frames featuring longer chainstays and shorter reach, significantly impacting handing and bike stability.

Cyclocross is such an exciting activity to indulge in for fans and in competing with others. Since it is a sport meant for keeping fit in the offseason, the rising demand for cyclocross events calls for exclusive training and makes it a top priority. No matter what type of bike you have, with slight modifications and adjustments you are guaranteed to have fun.

Leave a Comment