Cyclocross Season is Approaching

Last year, I found out about cyclocross. It defies description, but is basically a race in which a group of typically road-cyclists get together to abuse themselves on grass, mud, gravel, loose rocks, sand, hills, obstacles, stairs, etc., on somewhat modified road bikes. They love mud. They love pain. I don’t know why.

I found out about cyclocross because I had been frequenting the local dirt-oval stock car track and noticed a “cyclocross” event coming up at the end of summer. I figured it was Motocross without the “moto”, so I brought a friend to check it out. Turns out, it was a night time race around part of the dirt stock-car track, around back in the grass, up some stone steps, across the bottom of the grandstands, UP THE GRANDSTANDS, and back out to the track. This was crazy! This was awesome! I wanted in!

My colleague’s photos: Darkcross.

Turns out they had an Open race for non-racers coming up in September in which you didn’t need any prior experience or a race license to participate. In fact, if you had a race license, you couldn’t participate. Well I decided to commute with my mountain bike and ride home via the grass on the side of the paved trails, and as much dirt as I could find on my way home. I did one “training session” with my friend at the park where we threw a couple stakes in the ground and tried to ride zig-zag around them a few times. We were completely wiped after about 5 minutes, so we just rode around for an hour and went home.

The race itself was pretty cool and somewhat tame compared to what I now know as cyclocross races. It was mostly grass, some gravel, and had a cool bunker run-up c/w railroad ties that you had to pick up your bike for. My friend and I finished roughly mid-pack among about 20-ish amateurs.

Me at Mennocross, just before the bunker run-up

Me, coming down the front side of the bunker

My friend Neil, leading the pack, or as I called it later: “the pain train”.Me, rounding some random corner

Neil going up one of the many hills

Almost too tired to smile at the finish.

My work colleague took some great photos, here: Mennocross.

Well, this year I’m going to do it again. I’m thinking three Open races (I don’t feel pro enough to go get a race licence). This time, instead of the mountain bike, I’m going to use my urban commuter bike with cyclocross tires. After some research, I just bought these Kenda Kwicker cross tires Friday and can’t wait to try them out. I’ll be commuting with these into the fall and I think they’ll do well somewhat into the winter.

Kenda Kwicker Cyclocross Tire w/foldable bead

Kenda Kwicker Tread Up-Close

Tires Installed

These should work a little better than the stock road tires that came on my bike. Here’s my bike after a failed attempt at a muddy trail in June:

My June 17 attempt at mud with Kenda commuter tires failed.

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About Kurt (Lightning) Bredeson

I am a married man, a follower of Jesus, a Mechanical Engineer, and a lover of cars, cycling and music. Things haven't always been easy; things haven't always been hard. I'm just trying my best in this life to enjoy what's been given to me by God and make the most of it.
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3 Responses to Cyclocross Season is Approaching

  1. Pingback: How to Turn Your Daily Commute Into a Cyclocross Training Session | Kurt's Blog

  2. yo' mama says:

    good luck with the new tires. are you using the commuter bike because of it’s ultra light weight? are all 3 races this fall? what are the dates?

    • kurtbredeson says:

      Thanks for the comments! Because cyclocross was developed as off-season training for road cyclists, the bikes used in the sport more closely resemble road bikes with knobby tires than anything else (they’re highly specialized ‘cross bikes now). Last year, I rode my mountain bike as a first-timer but it’s a little cramped. My commuter bike with cyclocross tires is pretty close to what they would actually use in the sport, except I have straight handlebars and ‘cross bikes have down-curved drop handlebars. In reality, if one were to move into the sanctioned categories, the rules to not allow straight handlebars or mountain bikes, so neither of my bikes would work for actual competition. I’m sticking with Open Races for now, since I’m still a beginner. Check out the red/white Focus bike in my Minneapolis post. It’s a full-blown cyclocross bike but from afar looks like a road bike.
      Love you,
      Kurt
      P.S. rode the knobby tires to work this morning and didn’t notice much of a drop in speed (maybe 1-2km/hr). We’ll see how my after-work dirt ride goes.

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