Thursday, November 05, 2009

Ask Dr. Wally

This is Wally's November column from the Red Dirt Pedaler's newsletter.

Dear Dr. Crankset

What is cyclocross racing? There's talk of it growing in popularity but I've never heard of it until recently. What gives?

Newbie in Nowata

Dear Newb,

If you're the kind of rider who enjoys cold, wet weather and copious amounts of mud, you just may like riding in cyclocross. On the other hand, if you're the type who'd rather stay indoors with a hot drink when the weather turns foul, you may like watching those other fools race in such conditions. Cyclocross events are usually no more than an hour, so they're not too hard on spectators even in bad weather.

Cyclocross courses are short and include both paved and off road sections, barriers that require dismounts and running, and sometimes water crossings or even stairs. A skilled racer will barely slow down as he dismounts, runs and jumps over barriers, and remounts to continue. They make it look easy. It's not.

For competitors, the races begin as a mass start that quickly devolves to an individual time trial. Slower racers struggle to avoid getting lapped, and if it's muddy, everyone struggles to stay upright in slippery conditions. It's difficult, exhausting - and a whole lot of fun!

There are events nearly every weekend somewhere in the area. Better yet, most are open to anyone who wants to compete. Local events generally allow mountain bikes, but it's best to confirm this with the race organizers.

Dr. Wally

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Blogger Steve A said...

Dear Dr. Crankset,

Is it true that you'll be booed off the course if you push your bike up the muddy hill instead of stylishly slinging it over your shoulder?

6:02 PM  
Blogger Ed W said...

I can't speak for the fast guys up front, but us pudgy, slow guys in the back kinda give up the whole 'style points' thing after a couple of laps. We just want to survive to the end. Pushing a bike uphill is OK, as are loud supplications to any nearby deity, crying, whining, and hysterical laughter suitable for an asylum. I've tried all of them.

7:23 PM  
Blogger Ed W said...

Steve, have you seen this?

7:43 PM  
Blogger Steve A said...

I have now. I also notice there are BOOKS. This whole cyclocross cult thing is getting pretty serious. Perhaps Congressional investigation is needed.

8:15 PM  

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