As a way for road racers and recreational cyclists to remain fit during fall and winter season cyclocross (cross) in the upper Midwest is growing. Here in the photo above, a racers on a misty fall morning pedals her bike through the mud on a course at Saint Thomas Academy, in Mendota Heights, MN.
The History of Cross
Cyclocross racing was developed in Europe in the early 1900’s as a way for road racers to remain fit during fall and winter. The intense event helped athletes maintain and improve their racing fitness and skills, too. As the sport grew, some riders abandoned the road-racing scene to become cyclocross specialists. Today, there are cyclists who focus only on cross and many professional road and off-road riders race cross to keep their race engines finally tuned in the off season.
Typical cyclocross courses are 1.5- to 2-mile loops on a mix of paved and off-road surfaces over flat-to-rolling terrain. Usually, races lasts an hour plus a lap. But, what makes cross such a unique and challenging sport is that courses always includes obstacles that force riders to dismount and run while carrying their bikes.
For example, most courses feature short, steep (often muddy) sections, which are nearly impossible to ride. There can be scary cliff-like drop-offs, river crossings and technical singletrack, too. Also, courses include series of man-made barriers scattered around the course requiring riders to carry their bikes over or, if they’re really talented, to jump their bikes over the obstacles (called “bunny-hopping”). It’s this combination of cycling, stunt riding, carrying, running and scrambling over obstacles that makes cyclocross so exciting, such a phenomenal workout and so darn much fun! [source]
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Now, rolling into our 10th year as a bicycle media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike, while showcasing unforgettable places to ride. As we search and present more fun photos worth a grin, scroll through the information and stories we have posted to help you find your next adventure. Then, while out there if you see us along a paved or mountain bike trail, next to the route you regularly commute on, or at an event you plan to attend with your bike, be prepared to smile. You never know where our camera’s will be and what we will post next!
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