Tuesday, November 25, 2008
But That's Not What a Road Bike is For...
...Indeed it's not.
The seemingly exponential rise of the sport of Cyclocross in recent years has lead many to believe that Cyclocross, CX, CCX, Cyclo-X, or just plain 'cross;' is a new sport. Indeed this is false. It's older than you!
Cyclocross traces its origins back to the very early 1900s. One of the most popular stories as to how it was formed tells that in their off-season, European road racers in the 1900s would race each other from town to town to stay in shape. The catch was that they could use any means to get to the next town first. This meant cutting through fields, jumping over fences, and running through streams. Since then, CX has grown from an off-season training scramble to an International cycling phenomenon.
So...what exactly is Cyclocross?
To put it in simple terms, Cyclocross is everything you weren't supposed to do with your bike when you were little. It's riding your bike anywhere you have to. Many courses take the racers up and down steep hills and stair sets, across streams, through thick woods, and the paved jungle. Many times the rider has to dismount, jump over an obstacle, and get back on the bike in one smooth motion. As difficult as this is, the pros make is seem effortless. Races are run many times around a relatively short course, and most races take 30 to 60 minutes to complete. As far as the bike?
Well. A Cyclocross bike, to a bike geek, is just plain fun. Wider tire clearance for knobby tires, and cantilever brakes, as well as lower gearing are characteristics that define most CX bikes. Some come with disc brakes, and some even have a single chainring to prevent throwing the chain on the rough stuff. Some even dare go singlespeed.
Cyclocross, to sum it up, rocks your face.