Cyclocross - A super fun winter sport for all! Here is why you should come and give it a go!

Cyclocross - A super fun winter sport for all! Here is why you should come and give it a go!

Cyclocross bike racing was first established in France in 1902, however, it is a relatively new sport to New Zealand. Racers Edge Sponsored Athlete, Kath Kelly, is the reigning women’s champion for Otago in Cyclecross. Here’s a few words from her on why this method of biking is so close to her heart.

I discovered cyclocross in 2015 at a Cycle World Dunedin event. It only took one race and I was hooked!

Cyclocross consists of riding short 2-3 km laps with obstacles, chicanes, water features, mud, tight turns, barriers, bike carrying, some fast sections, cow bells, one-piece skin-suits and dress-ups for the adventurous, shenanigans, spills and thrills. This is usually followed by a well-earned beverage and laughs with your fellow competitors! You complete as many laps as you can in 50 minutes. After the leaders of the race go over the timing mat from 50 minutes onwards the bell is rung. You then complete your last lap to finish.

It is a great winter/shoulder season sport because it’s usually around one hour and is a good physically demanding hit-out. It’s super fun and anyone can do it from kids through to mature cycling enthusiasts. It would be great to see more gals on the start line though!

I have won both Regional and National titles, with the most recent being the Otago Cyclocross Championship event. This course was held at the Mosgiel Velodrome which incorporated a BMX track and the surrounding field in and around the the velodrome itself. It was a fantastic course.

I have helped organise Kapiti Cyclocross events. It was really rewarding to create our own exciting course and watch competitors knock out laps while having fun. It is my goal next year to organise a few events in my home town of Roxburgh which will be called “Cyclo-Rox”.

I encourage you to just come and give it a go! You don’t necessarily need to have a cyclocross bike. There will be categories for mountain bikes and single speeds as well. However, it does make it more challenging on a cyclocross bike and it is cyclocross in its purest form.

I would suggest if it is your first time, that you practice dismounting and mounting your bike on the move, a bike carrying technique, tight turns and the rest will just happen. Spills are to be expected, but they don’t hurt a bit!

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