Not too long ago, I was quoted as saying "Cyclocross is dumb." Why would I want to ride a road bike off road? In fact, you do not want to ride a road bike off road. That would be dumb. But, if you can get your hands on a good cyclocross bike, that could be a different story.
I will come right out and say it. I still think cyclocross is really silly. But, it can be fun. It can especially be fun if you have the right bike. I will also admit that I am a freak for nice bikes. I am a geek for technology. So, I grabbed the opportunity to ride a cyclcross bike with REAL brakes - not those rubber chums rubbing against the side of the rim and making you think that maybe you should drag your foot, as that might actually slow you down before you run off the side of the wet grass golf course. Oops.
Ben Coates, the road product manager here at Trek, convinced me to give CX a chance. So, last year I did and I actually had a ton of fun. The races are short, so old people (like me) don't have to be very fit. They can be techy, and that allows an old unfit guy like me to actually do better than my fitness would say I will - as I can actually make a bicycle turn.
So, I targeted 5 for the year. I know it's not that many, but it is a start. I am actually going to end up getting in about 6 races. I don't know if I will do any when it gets really cold and snotty, but I will try. I think I need to do at least one so nasty one so that I can have a few photos of my bike all wrecked.
I have been lucky enough, or maybe old enough, that I am in a class that doesn't have that many participants. It has allowed me to get on the podium in all 3 of the races that I have done this year. Some people say that I should maybe be racing a harder class, but hey wait.
1. I am 52 (almost 53) racing in the +45 Cat 4 class.
2. It is my first year of doing any CX races.
Unfortunately, I really am not that fast. In fact, different people have beat me each week. If they all showed up on the same day, I would NOT be 3rd. Sad, I know.
There are a few things I like about cyclocross racing.
1. The races are short. I always say, you can do anything for 30 minutes. My races are just 30 minutes long. I am used to doing things that are alot longer - 3 hour GNCC races, 6 hour MTB rides, Century rides, 12 hour solo MTB races etc...
2. Maybe it is where I live, but there is a CX race only an hour or so from my house every weekend, it seems. Given that my job has me traveling all over the world, and much of my other racing is alot farther away from my house, it is kinda nice to be able to race and still be home in the afternoon.
3. The bike is actually completely the wrong bike for what you are doing. But, everyone is on the wrong bike. Mine is great, because it actually has brakes that will stop you vs. old canti brakes that maybe dragging your foot will stop you just as quickly. (I love technology). (I think I mentioned this already.)
5. Did I mention my bike? You have seen the pictures...duh.
6. The total mishmash of riders out on the course. Roadies, MTB racers, freeriders, motorcycle racers, runners. It is great, it has become the great melting pot of cycling.
7. I have always wanted to rip up a golf course on some sort of two wheeler.
I will give a final review of CX season #1 for me at the end. Hopefully I will be alot smarter and much whittier by then. If not, at least I will be alot colder and possibly more muddy.
See you at the races. (What is this off and running around corners thing all about?)