Change the Pace – Cyclocross

Have you seen people riding trails on bikes that look like road bikes? That’s a cyclocross bike.

They look like road bikes but have tires that look like thin mountain bike tires, with large grips. The brakes are different to help keep mud, leaves, and other trail debris from clogging them. The bikes are also lightweight, since riders may have to dismount and carry their bike over certain obstacles like fallen logs. It’s also common for riders to run with their bikes during races.

Apparently cyclocross was originally a way for road racers to maintain their fitness in fall and early winter. It has grown in popularity so much that people train for and specialize strictly in cyclocross.

There are races all around the world, including quite a few where I live!

I came home this weekend to a surprise from my husband…a shiny, new, Specialized Crux fluorescent cyclocross bike!

I instantly fell in love…until I saw the pedals and new shoes that I would have to clip in to. I’m comfortable with being clipped in on the road, but on the trails is a whole different story! Since I’m so cautious, I like to put a foot down around some corners, through slippery sections, and anytime I’m nervous.

We took the bikes to the river valley early Monday morning ready to roll. It was cold and there were even a few flurries falling, but that didn’t stop us from having a blast!

Kelly went nice and slow with me. On the first uphill and the first couple downhills I may have used loud profanity. I soon realized I could easily clip out and there was no need to freak out! (I’m still a bit apprehensive about the pedals, but I’ll give them a fair shot.)

We had so much fun; I literally smiled for the two hours we were out there.

We road gravel, dirt, and leaf covered trails. We rode up hills, down hills, and on asphalt. We rode wide trails and we rode single track.

It was so different from mountain biking for me since I could really cruise (except for the downhills where I ride like a grandma). I just need to learn to go faster and gain confidence.

My cyclocross shoes are pretty cool, too. They have the cleat to attach to the pedal and then are really grippy like trail shoes. I had to get off my bike a couple times and I got awesome traction when running up hills pushing my bike.

Give cyclocross a try, regardless of whether you want to race, continue riding through fall, practice your bike handling skills, or just enjoy the trails. I’m sure you’ll love it!

I know I can’t wait to take my bike out again and ride with my husband!

Have you ever rode a cyclocross bike? What’s your favourite time of year to ride?

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40 responses to “Change the Pace – Cyclocross

  1. I know someone that races cyclocross but didn’t realize it was a completely different bike–looks like fun and reminds me that I should just do it and get on my moutain bike this weekend. I must admit that summertime is my favorite time to ride due to good weather and early morning light. But I do love to moutain bike!

    • Did you get on your mountain bike this weekend?
      I also love summertime for biking for the same reasons!

      • triathlonobsession

        I did! I had a great ride on a challenging course. Took me a bit to get used to the position, gears and handling again. And I must say, I was a bit nervous on some of the downhills. But it was great fun! 🙂 Thanks for checking in!

      • Sounds like a wonderful ride! The gears always mess me up, too, when I go between road and mountain bike!

  2. Love your bike! Cyclocross is so popular around here–i know lots of triathletes who use it in the off season to stay strong. I’ve watched a couple of races and it looks like a blast. I think you need to try a race!

  3. Wow, thanks for the explanation! I had no idea! Sounds like fun and your bike is h-o-t!

  4. Cyclocross sounds like a lot of fun! I am currently saving money for my first road bike, so a cyclocross bike isn’t really in my future yet, but it is something I would love doing. Your bike looks so cool, by the way. Love the colors!

  5. THat looks like so much fun! I’m with you though-the clips on trails would be very intimidating!

  6. Glad to hear that you love your new bike 🙂

  7. I’ve never even heard of Cylocross! Thanks for the intro! Looks really fun! Seems a little scary (i’m a chicken) but probably is faster than road biking w/ all the cars that could potentially hit you!

  8. I want a cyclocross bike SO BAD!!!

  9. That looks like tons of fun. Your new bike is gorgeous! I hate being clipped in on my road bike, so I can only imagine how scary it would feel to be clipped in while riding on trails. You are brave!

  10. This bike looks awesome! I have never heard of this style before, but I would loovee one!

  11. This bike is a beauty but I`m not sure I actually got it. Why do you choose to ride a cyclocross bike over a mountain bike? Because it rolls more smoothly? Or because you are supposed to jump on and off?
    Anyways, enjoy the new bike and hopefully many many trips together!

  12. Nice bike! Cyclocross racing is soooo much fun, but so is just doing the unusual rides that a cross bike will allow. Have fun!

  13. OK, now you’re speaking my language!! This looks amazing. I have heard about Cyclocross but didn’t really know what it was. Looking good on the trails!

  14. I love the new bike! Cool colors. I am a bike-riding weenie! I am always so scared of wrecking. And those clip-in shoes would really freak me out!! 🙂

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