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Cyclocross - A Guide to Offseason Fun

By Coach Ted Ramos

With the end of triathlon season looming you might be wondering what to do next.  Don't get bored this off season and become a couch potato.  Stay in shape and have fun outdoors.  What can be more fun than riding a bike around your local park or forest preserve while looking for challenging terrain to ride on just like when you were a kid?  This is pretty much the definition of cyclocross.

What is cyclocross?

Cyclocross is a fall/winter sport that takes place on short, mostly grass courses.  Races consist of several loops on a spectator friendly course that can include challenges such as twisty turns, riding through sand pits, carrying your bike over obstacles and running up hills.  Average speeds generally range from 9-15mph.  Any bike that can be ridden off-road such as a cyclocross bike or a mountain bike is suitable for cyclocross.

How can cyclocross benefit me?

Think of cyclocross as the Warrior Dash or the Spartan Race of the cycling community.  It can be serious competition for some, but for most it is just muddy fun and a great way to cross train.  Cyclocross will help you develop confidence on the bike and improve your balance, turning, and bike handling skills.  Riding off road will help develop strength and smooth pedaling mechanics.  The competition will teach you how to push yourself harder than ever to have to on a bike.  Once you learn and master basic techniques you will become at one with your bike, confident, and safer, in all race situations.  Most importantly you will discover a sport that can be just as fun and extreme as a triathlon. 

How do I get involved in cyclocross?

First dust off that old mountain bike you have hanging in your garage.  If you don't have one, borrow one from a friend.  Than find a race and commit to it by signing up.  You can find a schedule of local races at www.chicrosscup.com. Once you've committed to an event find an experienced and knowledgeable coach who can teach you the basics of the sport.  Well-Fit has a group training program starting soon (click here for more info).  Now with a little direction in the off season you will stay in shape and have a lot of fun trying something new.  Best of all you will start the next triathlon season and find out you are a much better overall cyclist. 


If you have any questions, contact Coach Ted at ted@wellfitinc.com