How to Prepare for Your First Cyclocross Race
with SANDRA WALTER, Liv Racing Collective Athlete
My first foray into cyclocross was as a teenager in the late 90s. I had no idea what it was all about and I didn’t have a cyclocross bike, but some friends convinced me to give it a shot aboard my mountain bike. All I remember about it now is that I fell into a creek, I had a lot of fun, I won a medal, and it was the provincial championships.
In the years since, I have gone on to invest in proper cyclocross bikes, tubular wheels and tires, toe spikes and multiple plane tickets to Canadian Championships, where I have won several medals. I even took the opportunity to compete in a World Cup when Las Vegas hosted one just a short flight away from home. That was a cool experience, but I honestly prefer to race on my local CX scene every fall. It’s a way to stay fit and connect with friends after a long season of globetrotting to mountain bike World Cups. That said, racing cyclocross in Belgium is still on my bucket list….
I love cyclocross, because it is the most welcoming community of all the cycling disciplines I’ve encountered. I feel it is the most approachable form of bike racing for first-timers. Race duration is super-achievable (typically less than an hour for beginner categories), you can still have a blast if you get dropped, courses are short (usually around 1-3 km in length), getting off the bike and running difficult sections is part of the game, the risk is generally quite low, you can ride virtually any type of bike, everyone looks kind of goofy, and the vibe is fabulously festive and family-friendly.