Listed below are seven top tips on how to improve your performance on your cyclocross bike and have better chances of winning a race.
1 Pre-ride the course
Riding round the course gives you an idea of what to expect, where there are parts you might have to get off your bike and run and where you might be able to overtake using a different line.
2 Take everything off your bike
It’s a race, not a leisurely ride, so take off everything extraneous. Lights and their brackets, reflectors, racks, mudguards, spokey-dokeys, pumps, saddlebags, tool pouches and especially water bottles and cages, which only get in the way when you have to carry the bike. Just remember to hydrate properly beforehand.
3 Let air out of your tyres
Usually, there’s not a lot to puncture a tyre in a cyclocross race so you can let a lot of air out of your tyres to stop the bike bouncing around and enhance grip on wet and slimy surface. Serious cyclocross racers will have tubular tyres that can be run at silly low pressures.
4 Warm up
Because the races are short, and fast, your body won’t be happy if you start a cyclocross race cold. Keen racers take turbo-trainers to get up to speed, but cycling around a bit does the same.
5 Be bold, start cold
You’ll be going flat out for the entire race so your body will be working at maximum temperature so it’s too easy to overdress, even in the depths of winter. Put on a thermal top or jacket to stay warm up to the start line and take it off just before the gun.
6 Descend on the drops
It may be the scariest thing to do but getting into the drops of the handlebars when descending will give you much better steering control and greater braking power.
7 Have fun
Cyclocross is one of the most accessible cycle sport activities you can do. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a cyclocross bike, you can race on a mountain bike or a touring bike.