Although cycling crosses were established in Europe as early as the early 1900s, in Russia this sport discipline is an unexplored area for many cyclists. Every year, however, more and more events are held, which add to the popularity of cycling crosses.
It is believed that the very first cycling cross was organized by a Frenchman named Danielle Gousseau in 1902. After that, the sport began to gain popularity not only in France, but also in border countries. The first world championship on velocross was also held in France in 1950 – it won the Frenchman Jean Robic. Since then, the championship on velocross held regularly in late January.
What is cycling cross?
Bicycle-crosses are cycling races that usually last 30-60 minutes, but in this short time you will experience a lot! Short winding tracks with obstacles both on paved roads and in off-road conditions are a challenge for both beginners and experienced cyclists.
There is a festive atmosphere on the cycling crosses, which sets a positive mood that is necessary to overcome the difficult route. Here you will have to apply very different skills than on a normal city or even mountain bike.
How biking crosses go.
In countries such as Belgium, France, Italy and the Netherlands, cycling cross is one of the most favorite sports. Slowly, Russian cyclists also feel love for it. If you want to try yourself in a cycling race in difficult conditions, you do not need to go abroad – in Russia, too, there are competitions.
Participants in the cycling cross country should overcome as many circles as possible in a set time. Usually riders overcome circles along the route, where there are areas of asphalt, grass, mud, paving stones, sand, as well as natural and artificial obstacles (stairs, small elevations, barriers, etc.). Racers are cheered up by fans, as it should be at spectacular competitions.
Distances of races are different. As a rule, one lap does not exceed 5 km. To overcome the track is given a certain amount of time. When it expires, the organizers allow the race leaders to complete the final lap to determine the winner. The others have to stop fighting.
Due to the many barriers and short distances, the cycling crosses are tense. During the competition, cyclists often have to run short sections, throwing their bike on their shoulder, and even perform small stunts to jump over obstacles without getting off the bike.
All of this requires participants to know different techniques for handling their bike, be able to ride off-road, make accurate turns and turns, brake correctly and make quick decisions.
Do you think it’s all too complicated and nervous? Most people love bicycle-crosses for the opposite: for the fact that instead of stress and negative emotions they bring great pleasure and adrenaline!
What kind of bike-cross equipment do you need
The coolest thing about velocross is that you can use everything you have here! A mountain bike or a road bike is not so important. Many people manage to completely redesign their bikes in preparation for the competition, making them ideal models for the upcoming race.
The ideal model for a bike cross is something between a mountain bike and a road bike. This bike has a more aggressive geometry than road bikes, as they need to be fast and manoeuvrable. The frame is quite light, and all the additional elements such as the trunk or wings on wheels are missing. The handlebars on this bike are of a racing type.
From a mountain bike of our model for the bike cross will be useful disc brake, damping, carriage and fork front axle. Bicyclists are also trying to use a lightweight gearshift system to reduce overall weight – more and more cross country riders can see a one-star transmission.
For other equipment – such as pedals and shoes – there are more options for mountain biking, in part because you often have to get off your bike.
How to get ready for a bike ride
It may seem to you that preparing for a velocross is a long and difficult task. In fact, however, you just have to improve your bike a little. After that, go for a couple of races as a spectator to assess the complexity of the route and understand what skills you will need.
And, of course, a little physical training will do. Interval training is the best option, as it simulates the load during a bike-cross to some extent: changing the load in short periods of time.
Options for interval training
At first, you’ll probably have to get off your bike quite often at cross distance – that’s normal. Over time you will feel more confident and gain the necessary experience to overcome most obstacles on horseback.
And of course, before you compete with others, you should practise basic cycling skills. To do this, go to a park or other place safe to ride (city road is not suitable!) and try it. Jumping on your bike, riding through mud with brakes and turns, getting off your bike quickly, riding around trees and carrying your bike around properly – all require knowledge and practice.