CYCLO CROSS (CX) GUIDE
What is cyclo cross?
Cyclo-Cross is one of the most accessible forms of cycle-sport. It typically takes place in the autumn and winter and consists of a number of laps of a short course featuring pavement, wooded trails, grass, steep hills.
Youth and adult courses may also contain obstacles which require the rider to dismount, carry the bike over/around the obstruction and remount.
There is a friendly atmosphere at the races and almost anyone is willing to help you out with any issues on the day.
How long are the races?
Races for under 12’s are around 15mins and under 16’s around 30 minutes.
Youth courses may involve slopes too steep to climb in the saddle which will require the rider to carry the bike up the slope..
What sort of bike can be used?
Either a Cyclo-cross or a mountain bike are suitable.
Cyclo-cross bicycles are similar to road bicycles, however, they use wider knobby tyres for traction, and cantilever style brakes for clearance, needed due to muddy conditions. Mountain bikes are fine to start off with, although their weight can make them difficult to carry if required up a hill.
Clothing and equipment?
Normal road gear is fine. Long legged bicycle shorts and a long sleeved jersey are recommended as the weather will often be on the cool side and conditions are often muddy.
Do I need a license?
Youth riders don’t need a race license for normal CX races, but championship events like the Scottish National Championships require a rider to have one.
Most regular riders own a license because they compete in other cycling disciplines which require one. You can become a member of British Cycling and get a race license for free (Membership is £9 for under 12s or £15 for under 16s). (See British Cycling website )
Entering a race
There are plenty of cyclocross races in the central belt
A good place to start is the Scottish Cyclo Cross website
CX races are very popular and get sold out quickly, so it’s a good idea to enter beforehand to help the organiser plan the day and cut down the hassle at sign on.
Races are split into different age groups
For Cyclocross the age categories for 2015-16 are effective from 1st September 2015
U10 – born in 2006 or later
U12 – born in 2004 or later
Youth U14 – born 2002 or 2003
Youth U16 – born 2000 or 2001
On the day
Pack a race bag with helmet, shoes, gloves, appropriate kit, snacks, drink, licence, tools, spare inner tubes. Have a change of warm clothing for after the race and if it’s cold keep your joints covered.
Arrive about an hour before your race starts so you have time to sign on, warm up, practice on the course and get to the start line
When you arrive at the venue you need to go to the registration tent and sign your rider in (they may ask you to leave your rider’s race licence if you have one, which you need to collect after the race.)
The registration tent staff will also give you a self-adhesive timing strip, which must be stuck to your rider’s helmet and number which is pinned to your rider’s back.
Get to the start with plenty of time.
• If it’s cold wear a jacket until the last few minutes.
•Listen to the Commissaire’s instructions
•Enjoy the race
After the race
• Warm down
• Recover from your race with a snack and a drink
• Return your number – this is very important
• Pick up your license(if you handed one in)
• Cheer on your team mates if you are staying to watch
• Thank the organiser
• Don’t leave anything behind