So you fancy a go at cyclo-cross but have no idea where to start? Or do you simply want some pointers on how to get round, how to perfect the techniques and how to get faster? Over the next couple of months we will be bringing you PBK Race Tips cyclo-cross style. To start with, we have 5 essential tips for you to get started in cyclo-cross to get you going on your quest to become the master of the mud!
For the cyclo-cross calendar and to know a little more about cyclo-cross read here>>
How to get started in cyclo-cross:
Get the Right Bike
Yes, you need yet another bike! Cyclo-cross bikes are very specific. You need to get the right bike in order to get round the course in the fastest possible way. At regional level you are allowed to ride a mountain bike with flat handlebars, but at a national level you are required to ride a drop handlebar bike.
Not only this, but this specific bike has more clearance which helps in a muddy course which is fairly standard in a cross race! Road and MTB bikes don’t have the clearance you need between the frame and the tyres to enable you to get round the course. The bike would clog up with mud and stop you in your tracks, pretty much ending your race or forcing you to take a lot of time out removing mud from the drive chain.
Get the Right Tyres
This is essential as choosing the wrong tyres and pressures can be a case of staying on the bike or spending more time face down in the mud! A good nobbly tyre that is from 28-32mm is advisable.
Most people run very low pressures in the tyres to give you as much grip as possible so the bike handles as well as it can do in the extreme conditions. If you run tubeless or tubular it is possible to run very low pressures.
Learn How to Dismount
Some sections can become very muddy and technical, either from the bad weather or simply from riders churning it up over time. You can encounter all sorts of features such as off camber sections, sharp slippy steep climbs, steps and obstacles such a jumps and logs, so you need to be able to dismount quickly and smoothly.
Start by un-clipping your chosen foot first left or right from the pedal and swing the leg over the saddle whilst remaining clipped in on the other foot. As you start to reach the ground with the other foot twist your foot out of the pedal and start running.
Learn how to Re-Mount
This is very similar but quite hard to master. As you are running, with the leg furthest away from the bike clip in as the bike is still rolling, swing your leg over and remount, clip in the other foot and carry on!
Alternatively you can just jump back on the bike and clip in once seated. This is down to practice and preference.
Learn how to Carry your Bike
During this on and off process there may be a process of carrying your bike. Simply pick the bike up and put your arm through the triangle of the bike and cup the bars with your hands to stop the front of the bike swinging around.
Top tip: don’t carry water bottles as these get in the way!
Remember practice makes perfect so you can try these at home where no one can see you to start with! Even if you are good at it, you may have become rusty over the summer and need to get back into the swing of things.
Click here to view all of our cyclo-cross products at ProBikeKit.
Feature Image source: velonews