Cyclo-Cross was originally developed as a means for cyclists to keep fit during the 'off season' i.e. the Autumn/Winter months. The sport proved to be popular with many riders, and evolved to be what it is today with a full racing calendar every weekend throughout the UK and the continent. Many competitors now specialise in Cyclo-Cross and have the Spring/Summer as the off season!
So What is Cyclo-Cross?
There are a number of definitions around, but basically--
Its off-road cycle racing normally done on a road racing style bike (with a few modifications), however, mountain bikes or any kind of bikes are allowed in most events.(so long as they don't have an engine!)
In Cyclo-Cross, the most typical race would take place in say a country park, in a school grounds or over farmland/woodland and be based on a circuit of between 1 and a half to 2 miles (there are exceptions). The course is usually designed to challenge the riders' strength, speed, stamina and bike handling skills. A feature that is peculiar to this sport is the need to dismount and run with the bike (usually carrying it!), this is necessary to negotiate certain parts of the course. The course designer will often incorporate some features such as hurdles or very steep banks etc to ensure there is an element of footwork required.
Senior riders (over 18): This is normally 1 hour plus 1 lap (but sometimes less e.g. 45mins/50mins)
Juniors (under 18) Veterans (over 40's) and Ladies: Usually 45 mins
Juveniles (under 16): Often on a simpler course for about 30 mins
Under 12's: Ride on a very simple course for about 10-15 mins
With a few exceptions (e.g. the 3 peaks race and premier events), you can ride on anything! that includes Mountain bikes. Over recent years, specifically designed Cyclo-Cross bikes have become readily available.. click here to find out more about the special features of a Cyclo-Cross bike.
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