5 Tips For Your First Cyclocross Race

5 Tips For Your First Cyclocross Race

Well ladies and gentlemen, it’s cyclocross season in the northern hemisphere of the globe. If you haven’t tried it, we highly suggest you do. Not only is it fun to participate in, but the events typically feel more like a party than a serious athletic event. Even at the UCI level you’ll still find a fun party atmosphere. For us though, we’re more about that local level race scene pace. 

Cyclocross is the perfect intersection of MTB skills overlapping with some of our favorite things: mud, beer and heckling. Plus, you’ll see some riders show up on anything from their bar bike, to a fully kitted out Specialized Crux, an old hardtail or maybe even… a tandem (double the watts, right?!)

In honor of the cross season kicking off, we wanted to share our top 5 tips for getting CX ready, brought to you by Brandon, our Ecommerce Specialist and his buddy Cole, our Service Manager. You’d typically find them shredding the skate park on 20-inches or doing shuttle laps on their enduro bikes, but they’re not about to pass up free beer at a bike event so here’s their top 5 tips for getting cross-prepped:

1. Practice

This is a unique sport with a unique set of challenges. You’ll find some obstacles on course that require you to dismount and quickly jump back on.

Make sure you do a little practice first and don’t try to jump straight to the pedals... just take Noah’s word on this one.

Dropper Post Cyclocross race

2. Get Your Gear Dialed

This goes for any race but test and ride any new gear you grab. Sometimes the excitement of races can get you buying some new toys for your bike, and giving them a bed in period so you're not surprised on race day is always a good rule of thumb. Also yes, we highly recommend a dropper post. To quote Chris, our Sales Manager after his last cross race:

I used my Rainier the whole freakin race. All of those hairpin corners or the couple downhills I was dropping the post... I was also desperate for any mechanical advantage to help support my terrible cardio."

3. Warm Up

It's obvious, but the start of a race can be a bit hectic and having your muscles ready to go is key to getting the start you may want.

4. Adopt a Strategy

Speaking of the start of the race... If this is your first cross race, you’ll want to know that the start can be “a thing”. If you’re wanting to put yourself in a good spot for a strong position and are confident in your fitness, you’re going to want to get ahead of the group and battle for position on the first lap. If you’re more wanting to see how things go, there’s no shame in starting mid pack and reading the group to see who you can pass and where on the course to do it. Once you have that figured out, it’s time to take some hand ups.

5. Hydrate

About those hand ups: practice them, and hopefully you'll be lucky and someone won't sneak four loco into those mini keg cups.

Dropper Post Cyclocross

Have fun out there and let us know how it goes!