Cross season begins in the early fall and runs through the end of December. You know, the time of year that those of us who live in places that get real, bona fide winters want to hang up our bikes and hibernate under down blankets. But In Colorado, we don’t do that because it’s cross season and cross is worth going out in the cold for. Fortunately, the cooler temps and bad weather has escaped us so far; however soon on the horizon, cyclocross racers will be greeted with mud, cold, and nastier racing conditions. Makes for more fun, right? Absolutely! Here are the cross secrets to help you enjoy and be more competitive in the gnarly cyclocross races.
Nastier conditions require optional tire selection
Tire choice is one of the most hotly debated topics in all of cross. The lack of active suspension means that tires are your first line of defense against rooted, bumpy, and rutted terrain. Tires choice will also make all the difference in the mud. Regardless of whether you’re going to go the tubular or clincher route, many tire manufacturers offer tires for a number of different conditions. If you’re unsure about which tire is best for your upcoming event, stop by Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop and we’ll help you dial it in. Another option, visit BikeParts.com online for a wide variety of cyclocross tire options.
Mud, grime, and poor conditions require extra wheels
Racing and riding in poor conditions is chaos for your bike! Broken spokes, muddy bikes, skewers get loose. Not fun and especially not fun while racing. If you have a set of wheels in the pit, you can make a change and be underway pretty quickly. Granted, not as quickly as grabbing a whole new bike but here are just three reasons why wheels are better than another bike:
1) You can have a set of super fast race wheels and a cheaper training set
2) You can have sets of wheels with different tread choices tailored to different conditions
3) If you tweak a rim you have backups on hand
Not convinced on the wheels? Forget the wheels and build a pit bike
There are other ways to mess up your bike; as in, ripping off your derailleur hanger. Or even worse, dragging the derailleur into the spokes in the process. One option is to replace bike parts as needed – or at least have backup bike parts on hand. The other option is to build a backup bike. This pit bike can be one you purchased used or put together from the parts bin that roughly approximates the setup of the race bike and is a compromise in many respects.
Now that you have the secrets to racing cross in the winter conditions, put your skills to use! Get your cowbell ready and plan your winter cyclocross racing season. See you at the races!