Did you hear that? That was a cowbell ringing! Because somewhere in the world, there’s a cyclocross race going on! As customary to the cyclocross culture, there’s lively banter, cheering, cowbell ringing, and festivities accompanying a cyclocross race. As many who participate in either cyclocross racing, heckling (or both) know, the cyclocross culture is rich with enthusiasm. It’s a crazy fun cycling discipline inspiring cyclist to an all-out mad dash through the dirt, pavement, grass, mud, sand, snow and/or ice that will leaves athletes sucking wind, barely able to see straight…and desperately seeking fluids!
Traditionally, drinking fluids during a cyclocross race was an unheard of activity. This was partially due to mounting/ dismounting the bike to jump over obstacles as well as shouldering the bike for run ups; however, this was also related to the UCI rules and regulations for professional athletes. However, just recently, the UCI has clarified their stand.
“Riders may carry fluids on their bicycles and install bottles on their spare bicycles in the pit area. Hands-free water carrying systems such as backpacks are permitted, and riders may also carry water bottles in their jersey pockets. However, it is forbidden to receive a bottle from anybody along the course. Extra fluids can only be obtained during the race when a rider takes a spare bicycle, already equipped with a bottle, from the pit area.”
So yes, that means you can drink during cyclocross races. While you might think of it an an opportunity to consume adult beverages, we’re actually talking about water and other nutritional products. Because racers can now drink while racing cyclocross, what are the best options: bottles or a hydration pack? Your choice may come down to individual preference but there are several factors to consider. Weather conditions play a factor as well as course considerations. If the course is slick with mud and minimal safe passing zones, then bottles may be undesirable. The same applies for tricky descents in which a bump tosses the bottle right out of its cage. Then again, if the course dictates multiple run ups requiring shoulder mounts, then having a backpack may be limiting. At a minimum, it’s important to have water bottles and containers available pre-race that can be tossed aside before the start. Equally important is having bottles and nutritional support available immediately post race for adequate refueling and recovery.
Regardless of how you take in your fluids, hydration is important. At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we’re all about supporting good cycling habits – whether that is proper hydration, having a bike that fits, access to the right bike parts, or availability to the best cycling accessories for you. Whether you are a newbie or a veteran, cyclocross has something to offer everybody and so do we. Check out our cyclocross bikes online at bikeparts.com.
Wait! Did you hear that? There’s that cowbell again!