Cyclocross Racingby , VP Racing
It will soon be autumn; the days are getting shorter and we are beginning to think about winding down another season of cycling. That is unless you have discovered the exciting and sometimes excruciating fun of cyclocross (CX) racing. In that case, the real bicycle season is just getting cranked up.
Cyclocross is a form of bicycle racing that takes place on a closed loop course that is between 1 and 2 miles in length and includes a mixture of different riding surfaces, from pavement to grass and just about anything in between. These races generally last anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes depending on the categories that are competing and are quite intense. The real challenge of this type of racing comes with the barriers. These barriers may be natural, like a steep hill, a stream or a log, or they may be man-made such as stairs, sand pits or boards. The racers will generally have to dismount, swing the bikes up on their shoulder, run up or leap over the obstacle, then remount and speed off to the next challenge. When done well, this is poetry in motion; when done badly – well, it can be very painful!
Locally, CX racing has grown in popularity over the past couple of years. More and more racers are finding it a great way to maintain their fitness and bike handling skills in the off-season as well as to have some fun.
But cyclocross is not just for experienced racers; just about anyone at any age can participate. All you need, besides an adventurous spirit, is a bike with enough clearance between the brakes to be able handle a slightly fatter tire than the usual road tire and a frame that can take a little abuse. Mountain bikes will work, but keep in mind that you may have to pick it up and carry it. I started on a hybrid bike with no modifications other than changing the tires. Even sturdy road bikes with 700-25 tires can be used if there are not a lot of soft areas on the course.
One of the best features of cyclocross racing is that it is very spectator-friendly. Because the courses are short and usually contain some large open areas, it is easy to see much of the race. It is particularly fun to hang out by the sections of barriers and watch the various styles and the impressive skill racers use to get up and over the obstacles.
This fall the Ohio Valley CX series will have 15 races, several of these will be in Kentucky, and three will be held in Louisville. These will include the Todd Tour of Louisville on October 1, the Kentucky State Championships on December 3, and our own Team Louisville’s ’Ville-Billy CX Race at Iroquois Park on October 22. On that day, the club will also be starting many of its rides from the park so you will be able to join in the fun, watch a race and cheer for the LBC racing team when you return from your ride. You can find more information and the complete schedule for the Ohio Valley CX series at kentuckycyclocross.com.
Besides cyclocross racing, fall is also the best time to become a member of Team Louisville. We order next season’s uniforms in early September and will begin training for the 2007 season in October and November. If you think that you would like to give bicycle racing a try, contact me or talk with any of the members of the team for more information on how to join our team.
At this time of year, we are also looking for sponsors for Team Louisville to help defray the cost of uniforms and entry fees and to help with the expenses of organizing races. Wouldn’t it be great to see your company’s logo on a racing team jersey! If you or your company are interested in helping our team in this way, again, you can contact me or any of our team members. We appreciate any and all support we can get from individuals as well as the business community!
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web posted: 18 September 2006
last updated: 19 September 2006