Cyclo-Cross with Swindon RC
Cyclo-cross is a popular and growing branch of cycle racing. It takes place on an off-road circuit which is typically about 2 miles in length and takes about 7 to 10 minutes to ride. Races take place over several laps and last for between 30 and 60 minutes depending on age category.
The races are often held on open parkland or around sports fields and the circuit is designed to make the best use of the terrain in order to test both the riders fitness and also their bike handling skills. The course might also include artificial obstacles forcing the rider to quickly dismount and then remount or even carry their bike a short distance. Weather conditions can also play a part. A course that is fast and easily rideable in the dry might be a different proposition if the ground is wet and muddy.
Cyclo-cross is a very accessible form of cycle racing with races for all age categories. The events are also friendly and informal and any standard of rider may take part. It is not uncommon to find Nationally ranked riders taking part alongside club riders.
Whilst many riders ride specific cyclocross bikes it is also possible to ride on a mountain bike or a suitably adapted road bike. A cyclo-cross bike is similar to a road racing bike but with better clearance for wider tyres (typically 32mm) and also use Cantilever brakes for better mud clearance and grip in wet conditions. The frame geometry may also be slightly more compact to help handling on tight and twisty circuits and the gearing is usually a bit lower than on a road bike (typically a 44/34 front chain-ring and a 12-27 rear cassette).
The cyclo-cross season runs from September to January and Swindon RC participates in the Wessex Cyclo-cross League which consists of a series of 12 races at different venues in the region. Races count towards an overall League with seperate races for Under 12s, Youth, Junior, Women, Veteran and Senior riders.
Swindon RC has a large number of members taking part in cyclo-cross, especially in the younger age groups with a good turn out of boys and girls in the Under 12 and Youth categories. Our youngest rider is aged 6 and our oldest is 60+!
The Under 12's typically ride for about 15 minutes in their race and the Youth race is typically 30 minutes in duration. Coaching and training is available to younger riders and some training and skills sessions are organised, particularly at the start of the Cyclo-Cross season (August & September).
If you interested in trying cyclo-cross then the club has some loan bikes which are available for members to borrow so they can trial a cyclo-cross bike or take part in a race on a cyclo-cross specific bike (although a mountain bike is fine as well).
Cyclo-Cross bikes also make great all purposes bikes and are not limited to just racing and off-road riding. When fitted with slicker tyres they are an ideal winter training bike on the roads. Most cyclo-cross bikes have good tyre clearance (and often frame mounting lugs) for fitting mudguards and racks so they can also make a worthy commuter bike.
Andy Smith is the main club contact for Cyclo-Cross so if you are interested in this branch of the sport then Andy is happy to help.
For further information about cyclo-cross visit the British Cycling Website at this page ;