If you don’t believe you’ve had fun unless you come home covered with mud, splashed with snow, or decorated with grass stains, then you’ve already got three reasons you should try cyclocrorss racing. Cross packs a lot into a 30- or 60-minute ride.
Cyclocross puts the “cross” into “cross-training.” A course may include jumps on and off the bike. The sport will use muscles you may have forgotten you had and a variety of skills that sharpen your ability to control a bike. Cross uses more upper body strength for lifting the bike and getting yourself and the bike over obstacles than road riding. It also gets you running, which you should probably add to your off-season training repertoire anyway, if you haven't already. You’ll be moving in more directions than usual over the course and encountering a greater variety of conditions than even on a mountain trail. Cross often happens in the fall or winter, which will provide mud junkies with plenty of slop and endurance freaks with snowy and icy conditions to brag about. Your bike-handling skills will improve, and road riders who compete in the summer will have a chance to get out and keep fit through the winter months.
The Opposite of Routine
Cyclocross is all about variety—up, down, and sideways. If your training routine has become…well, routine, cyclocross will bust that up pronto. If your mind needs a break from the same asphalt ribbon or the same climb and descent, a cyclocross race might be just the thing to shake your brain and your butt out of the doldrums.
It’s Fun Even if You Come in Last
A cyclocross race is more like a carnival or a party than a race. Riders are good-natured and, while it’s competitive, it’s not cutthroat. It’s also a spectator sport, so if the only cheering you even hear is inside your own head, cyclocross provides a little external validation. Perhaps because there are friends and family watching, cyclocross racers tend to be good sports that take themselves less seriously and forgive themselves more easily than hard-core road and mountain bike riders. It’s an hour, so what’s the big deal?
You’ll need a versatile bike that handles well, with a drivetrain that can cope with mud and lots of it. Check out our Masi bikes for sale to find bikes that work for everything from commuting to cyclocross, and look great, too. If you haven’t found enough reasons to try cyclocross racing, a Masi bike might be the best excuse you can find to branch out, build your fitness, and have some quit-taking-yourself-so-seriously fun.