Cyclo-Cross - Your Secret Weapon for Winter Training

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12/15/2005| 0 comments
by Jim Lehman

Cyclo-Cross - Your Secret Weapon for Winter Training

Cycling tradition used to dictate that a cyclist spent the winter recovering from the summer road racing season.

Cycling tradition used to dictate that a cyclist spent the winter recovering from the summer road racing season, but modern cycling has created a new paradigm.   This progressive approach allows the cyclist to choose from a variety of disciplines in an effort to maximize the effectiveness of one?s training.   Rarely do cyclists define themselves by such narrow parameters as ?roadie? or ?trackie? anymore.   Now cyclists are free to participate in all disciplines of the sport in order improve their proficiency on the bike and their fitness. One of the most dynamic and exciting ways to do this is cyclo-cross.   <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>


While the sport may be relatively new to US cyclists, it has been around since the early 1900?s.   Originally it was used as a way for road cyclists to stay fit and keep their handling skills sharp during the cold months of the Northern European winter.   Like most things though, competitive urges helped to transform the activity into a full-fledged sport.   This love of racing lead to the first Cyclo-Cross World Championships in 1950 and this gave the sport legitimacy and a growing fan base.   In modern day <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /?>
Europe, it is not uncommon to see crowds of 30,000 or more gather to cheer on their ?cross heroes.  


?Cross Bikes: The Subaru of the Cycling World

?Cross bikes resemble neither the lightweight sports car nor the bulky and heavy SUV. They?re somewhere in the middle; fast and stable off-road but not designed for big rock drop-offs. Now that cyclo-cross has progressed within the
, there are increased opportunities for everyone to get a taste of this unique discipline and reap the rewards it has to offer.   Numerous manufactures offer a ?cross bike in their lines, so no longer do you have to cobble together a bike in order to roll around in the dirt with your training partners.   You can visit your local shop to pick up a top quality ?cross bike to add to your stable of machines? as if you needed an excuse to buy another bike.


Even if you are not interested in racing cyclo-cross, training on a ?cross bike is an excellent way to help you prepare for the upcoming road season.   Since a ?cross bike is essentially a modified road bike, you can set your bike up similar to your road bike in terms of saddle position.   You may want to raise the bars a bit to improve the handling on the downhills, but otherwise it will be very close to your road set up. This makes for a smooth transition between bikes, thus minimizing soreness that can arise from switching between different bikes. While the tires on the ?cross bike are a bit wider than traditional road tires and they have a knobby tread, they are still rather skinny compared to the average mountain bike tire. You will be riding these lean, knobby tires on loose, off-camber, slippery, muddy, sandy, and potentially bumpy terrain, so your handling skills will be


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