Cyclocross: why I’m already a sucker. Winter’s about to get fun.

Cyclocross: why I’m already a sucker. Winter’s about to get fun.
18 September 2016 Janine

I showed up to my second Cyclocross race, and thanks to the modest women’s field, bagged my first cycling first. After two races, I’m sold on cx, the most fun you can have in 40 minutes.

Cyclocross - Women

I’m brand new but already I can see the appeal of cyclocross racing. Buckets of encouragement, open to people on cross or mountain bikes, excellent sock doping opportunities and everyone gets a cheer over the line.

In the stirring moments of last night’s slumber, somewhere between dreams, my mind was asking me not to race cyclocross today. It’s not surprising that my second impending cx experience was niggling me a bit. Last week I found my first ever cross experience pretty traumatic, yet incredibly fun, exhilarating and satisfying. I wanted more, even if my inner-parent didn’t agree.

In my second race, I felt more confident, and took many a downhill with a ‘wheeee!’. I pushed through burning lungs and burning legs for 40 minutes, and bagged first woman! My first ever cycling win.

Don’t get me wrong. I hadn’t gone from rookie racer to Nikki Harris in a week, no no. I just showed up to an event with a miniscule female field. With only four women racing today, there was more opportunity for me to chance the lead for once.

For some reason, cyclocross just hasn’t caught on amongst us girls yet. I’m hardly a voice of authority on the matter, I’ve only been to three, raced at two, but at every race there are less than 10 women and yet, I reckon once you stop fearing untimely demise, this is the most fun you can have in 40 minutes.

Cyclocross - Women - Western League CX

With a small field of women, we support each other. It’s nice!

The thing is, the first natural progression into competitive cycling is a road or crit race, but actually, CX is far more laid back, and what’s more, everyone gets a place on the score sheet. One of the most confusing things I found about road racing was my lack of place, finishing at the back. I was baffled and asked loads of annoying questions to the race organiser. What’s more these races had a very serious feel about them, game faces on, kit so sparkly you can see your face in it.

It’s laid back, and everyone gets a place on the score sheet.

I’m not bashing road racing, it’s amazing in a different way – but cross is more welcoming, thus great for ‘having a go at it’. It’s laughs at the start line, cowbells and yells on the course, and men cheering you in, asking you how your race was, treating you like the equal you are.

Off-road racing on skinnies ain’t a walk in the park, but so far, it’s 9/10 for good vibes. I’ve got a feeling that winter’s about to get fun. #crossishere 

Find out more on how to get started and look for local races at British Cycling.

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