CYCLO-CROSS (sometimes CYCLOCROSS, CX, CYCLO-X or \'CROSS) is a form
of bicycle racing . Races typically take place in the autumn and
winter (the international or "World Cup" season is
October–February), and consist of many laps of a short (2.5–3.5 km
or 1.5–2 mile) course featuring pavement, wooded trails, grass,
steep hills and obstacles requiring the rider to quickly dismount,
carry the bike while navigating the obstruction and remount. Races
for senior categories are generally between 30 minutes and an hour
long, with the distance varying depending on the ground conditions.
The sport is strongest in the traditional road cycling countries such
as Belgium (
Compared with other forms of cycle racing, tactics are fairly straightforward, and the emphasis is on the rider's aerobic endurance and bike-handling skills. Drafting , where cyclists form a line with the lead cyclist pedaling harder while reducing the wind resistance for other riders, is of much less importance than in road racing where average speeds are much higher than in cyclo-cross.
A cyclo-cross rider is allowed to change bicycles and receive mechanical assistance during a race. While the rider is on the course on one bike, their pit crew can clean, repair and oil a spare.
* 1 Origins and history * 2 Racing seasons
* 3 Equipment
* 3.1 Bicycles * 3.2 Clothing
* 4 Courses * 5 Technique * 6 Major series and races * 7 See also * 8 References * 9 External links
ORIGINS AND HISTORY
A cyclo-cross race in Oñati , Basque Country , Spain, in 1947
There are many stories about the origins of cyclo-cross. One is that
European road racers in the early 1900s would race each other to the
next town over from them and that they were allowed to cut through
farmers' fields or over fences, or take any other shortcuts, in order
to make it to the next town first. This was sometimes called steeple
chase as the only visible landmark in the next town was often the
steeple. This was a way for them to stay in shape during the winter
months and put a twist on road racing. In addition, riding off-road in
more difficult conditions than smooth pavement increased the intensity
at which the cyclists were riding and improved their on-the-road bike
handling abilities. Forced running sections, or PORTAGE, were
incorporated to help deliver warm blood to the feet and toes, as well
as exercise other groups of muscles.
Daniel Gousseau of France is
credited as having inspired the first cyclo-cross races and organized
the first French National Championship in 1902.
Géo Lefèvre , the
originator of the idea for the
Tour de France
Octave Lapize attributed his win in the 1910
Tour de France
Like many international cycle sports, cyclo-cross is administered by
Union Cycliste Internationale
The first United States
Cyclocross is typically an autumn and winter sport, the northern hemisphere season running from September to February. The World Championships take place in late January. The Canada and US national championships are held in November and January, with little racing after that except in the climates of the Southern and Western United States like California.
Riders' age categories for cyclocross under UCI rules are currently determined by their age on 1 January which lies in the middle of the international season, i.e. they compete in the same category that they would be in for the following road season.
Main article: Cyclo-cross bicycle A Focus cyclo-cross bicycle
Clothing is similar to that of road racing. However, since cyclo-cross is a cold-weather sport there is an emphasis toward warmer clothing such as long sleeves, tights, knickers and arm and leg warmers. While many racers will use standard two-piece road kits, there is a very strong preference to wear one piece skinsuits to maximize freedom of movement. The other advantage of skinsuits is that they are tighter, preventing the jersey from getting caught on stray tree branches during some singletrack sections of the race course. The one piece construction of the skinsuit also prevents it from exposing the torso while the rider shoulders the bike. Mountain bike shoes are adopted, as they allow the competitors to run, unlike their road racing counterparts, and due to their degree of traction (compared to smooth bottoms found on road racing shoes). Toe spikes are used to aid in running up steep muddy slopes and in the adverse underfoot conditions. Full-finger gloves are optional but generally recommended for hand protection and for grip in muddy/wet situations. Experienced riders racing in dry conditions will often eschew gloves, presumably for better tractional feedback though the handlebar, and more natural bike portage.
Races usually consist of many laps over a short course, ending when a time limit is reached rather than after a specific number of laps or certain distance; the typical length for senior events is one hour, with 30 and 45 minute races for lower categories being the norm. Generally each lap is around 2.5-3.5 km and is 90% rideable. Races run under UCI rules must have courses that are always at least 3 m wide to encourage passing at any opportunity, however sections of singletrack are common for small races in the USA and Great Britain. A variety of terrain is typical, ranging from roads to paths with short steep climbs, off camber sections, lots of corners and, a defining feature, sections where the rider may need, or would be best advised to dismount and run while carrying the bike. Under-tire conditions include asphalt, hardpack dirt, grass, mud and sand. In comparison to cross-country mountain bike events, terrain is smoother. Less emphasis is put on negotiating rough or even rocky ground with more stress on increased speed and negotiating different types of technical challenges.
Each section of the course typically lasts no longer than a handful
of seconds. For example, long climbs are avoided in favour of short,
sharp inclines. Sections are generally linked together, or long
straights broken up, with tight corners. This not only allows a
standard length course to fit in a relatively small area, but also
forces competitors to constantly change speed and effort. Accelerating
out of corners, then having to decelerate for the next before
accelerating again is a common theme.
Obstacles that force a rider to dismount and run with their bike or
to "bunny hop " include banks too steep to ride up, steps, sand pits
and plank barriers. Besides the start/finish area, these obstacles may
be placed anywhere on the course that the race director desires.
Several race directors have tried to limit bunny hopping for safety
reasons by placing barriers in pairs or in triple (although under UCI
rule no more than two barriers can appear in succession), however this
hasn't stopped some of the best bunny-hoppers from getting over them.
The regulation height for a barrier is 40 cm although this is treated
as a maximum at smaller events. Plank barriers seem to be more common
in the US than in
Since outside assistance is allowed, pits are included to provide a
consistent area for this to occur. A pit to the right of the course is
normal since most riders dismount to their left. In larger events a
separate pit lane is featured so only those wishing a new bike or
other assistance need enter the lane (this type was debuted at the
Long-format races, in which riders compete cross country also exist. Examples include the Three Peaks Cyclo-Cross , a 61 km race, Barry-Roubaix , and the American UltraCX Championship Series which consists of seven stages ranging from 80 to 115 km.
Although cyclo-cross courses are less technical than those of mountain biking , each particular obstacle requires specific technical abilities of competitors. For example, dirt single-track and streams (like in mountain biking) are also sometimes integrated into the course, depending on the location, both of which require rider experience and technique. Some course sections are extremely muddy, wet or even snowy in the winter, and others are dusty and sandy. Most of these conditions are usually considered too extreme to be ridden with the standard 32c tire, and so much of the challenge of cyclo-cross lies in maintaining traction through loose or slippery terrain at speed. The power of the rider is generally higher over the whole duration of a 'cross race to overcome greater amounts of rolling resistance from loose dirt or grass. Also common are steps, barriers, ditches, stairs, steep slopes and very deep mud or sand which all require running while carrying the bicycle. As a result, cyclocross is also known as the "steeplechase of cycling." This approach was invented by Octave Lapize and proven by Eugène Christophe who in 1913 had to carry his broken bike down the Tourmalet during the Tour de France . Although getting off and on a bike sounds simple, doing so in the middle of a quick-paced race is difficult. Being able to fluidly dismount at speed, pick up and carry the bike, then put it back down and remount smoothly without losing momentum requires practice and skill, as the competitor may do this dozens of times every race. A faulty or slow dismount/remount may cost valuable seconds, waste energy or cause the competitor to crash. Often, when sections are extremely technical or become impossible to ride due to erosion from repeated wear or inclement weather, the racer will carry the bike and jog for an extended time to save energy.
A more recent development to overcome obstacles such as barriers and
sometimes ditches is the bunnyhop , which came to prominence in 1989
Danny De Bie used it in his successful World Championship run.
Bunny hopping has become less popular as a result of race directors
seeking to limit its use by setting up two or three barriers in a row.
Skilled riders are still able to hop the obstacles, despite the back
to back to back barriers.
Sven Nys , an ex-
MAJOR SERIES AND RACES
UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships
UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup
National Cyclo-cross Championships
* Superprestige (
* ^ uci.ch UCI
* ^ "Races". American UltraCX. Retrieved 9 April 2013. * ^ Cary, Tom (11 May 2014). "Women\'s Tour 2014: Marianne Vos a worthy winner as cycling enjoys a breakthrough moment". The Daily Telegraph . UK. Retrieved 14 Jan 2015. * ^ Brady, Patrick (1 May 2011). The No-Drop Zone: Everything you need to know about the peloton, your gear, and riding strong. Menasha Ridge Press. p. 61. ISBN 978-0897326605 . * ^ Bray, Tonya (17 Oct 2011). "Caroline Mani and Ryan Trebon win day 2 at the Spooky Cross". velonews. USA. Retrieved 14 Jan 2015.