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American Cyclo-cross 101 by Becky Leidy
 
By Janna Trevisanut
Date: 10/22/2002
American Cyclo-cross 101 by Becky Leidy
 

With humble beginnings, cyclo-cross began in the early 1900’s as a form of winter training for road cyclists in Belgium. The first World Championships were held in 1950 in France. The United States first medalled in 1999, when Tim Johnson, a U23 from Middleton, MA, earned the bronze. The very next day, Matt Kelly of Wisconsin won gold as a Junior.

It is the “steeplechase” of bicycle racing. Courses include a variety of terrain that forces riders to jump off their bikes and either clear the obstacle, as many as a dozen and as high as 40 cm, or to sprint through deep muddy or sandy sections. Sound like fun, yet?  Instead of being measured in miles, the races are timed lasting between 30 minutes to an hour in length. Cyclo-cross stresses the technical aspect of cycling, making it a fantastic off-season sport for roadies. Bike exchanges are allowed and critical, when you consider that a mud covered bike might weigh as much as 10 kg or more when hefting it over a shoulder to cross barriers.

Cyclocross is arguably one of the most exciting bike races to watch. The spectator-friendly courses are typically 1.2 to 1.8 miles sometimes looping over itself so that fans can see several parts of the course standing in just one place. For those who live for summer time criteriums, check it out! There are a record number of 17 UCI races right here in the United States this year. For a calendar of them, see below.

References:

Cyclocross: A Brief History by Jim Sullivan

Cyclocross: by Craig Undem

2002 UCI Cyclocross US Calendar Events

Oct. 6: Downeast Cyclo-cross; Auburn, Maine
Oct. 12: PIP Shelter Cyclo-cross; Worcester, Mass.
Oct. 19: Portland Intl Cyclo-cross Classic; Portland, Ore.
Oct. 19: Wooden Wheels; Granogue Estate, Del.
Oct. 20: Redline Cup; Olympia, Wash.
Oct. 20: Monkey Hill Cyclo-cross Race; Wilmington, Del.
Oct. 27: Amherst International; Amherst, Mass.
Nov. 2: Saturn Cyclo-cross; Lancaster, Pa.  Venue Change!
Nov. 9
: Boulder UCI Cross; Boulder, Colo.
Nov. 17: Granville Grand Prix of Cyclo-cross; Granville, Ohio (Cancelled)
Nov. 23: Redline Cup; Salt Lake City
Nov. 24: Chain Biter 4.0; Farmington, Conn.
Nov. 30: Northwest Cyclo-cross Challenge; Seattle
Dec. 1: Stumptown Cyclo-cross Classic; Portland, Ore.
Dec. 1: Rhode Island Cyclo-cross; S. Kingstown, R.I.
Dec. 8: American Express Financial Advisors Cyclo-cross; Merrimack, N.H.
Dec. 8: Redline Cup; Napa, Calif.
Dec. 13-14: National Cyclo-cross Championships; Napa, Calif.


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