A sport that only a small number of people have heard of, cyclocross or CycloX as it is sometimes known combines the two disciplines of cycling and running to create a tough, challenging activity. Usually across cross country terrain a typical race will be about 2km and involve steep ascents, rocky terrain and a lot of mud in which competitors will have to carry their bikes. It makes for a very intense workout as the stop start nature, cycling and running with your bike means you are constantly using different muscle sets. The pace is famously relentless meaning only the best will be able to survive some of the toughest courses. The only equipment needed is a good road or mountain bike which can often be used for commuting or general cycling so the investment is not so large. You can buy cyclocross specific bikes and these tend to be more lightweight as competitors will have to carry their bikes over muddy terrain and often have their wires running above the top bar to allow an empty triangle in the frame so that the competitor and are usually modified to ensure tyres do not get clogged up with debris and brakes give maximum control over tricky ground. It is a great spectator sport and often has a carnival atmosphere with spectators often cheering round the riders with cow bells and horns.
Cyclocross is very popular within Europe mostly due to the perfect terrain for training and racing in countries such as Belgium and the Netherlands. Races can be found all over the UK with the season running from September to January finishing with the UCI World Championships. At grassroots level cyclocross is one of the most accessible sports as any age can take part as long as they have a good working bike which can take the terrain meaning often in races you will see participants ranging in age from 6-60. Races use natural terrain so are often set up in fields, parks or forests with a range of challenging ground for participants.
To train all you will need is your bike and a field or space with some challenging and varied terrain. In the race often the running sections are short but the dismount and remounting are where time can be lost and therefore it is essential to finesse these. A race typically lasts around half an hour to an hour so stamina training is also important to make sure you keep up with the fast paced nature of the race. You can sign up to any race no matter your ability and get involved in the sport.
Due to the intense nature of the sport and the difficult terrain and use of a bike it is always advisable to get full insurance cover for the sport to ensure you are covered should any unexpected injuries or damage occur. If you are thinking of having a go and need bicycle insurance or specialist cyclocross sports insurance click on the links above to get a competitive, comprehensive quote from the sports and leisure insurance experts.