Haven Livingston
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Cyclocross Season Tips and Upcoming Schedule

By Haven Livingston

Mass of cyclocross riders. Photo courtesy of Brian Staby/Santa Rosa Cup CX

It’s already that time of year, when cyclocross (or CX) racers turn their heads to the sky and get ready for the rain to fall. When it does, their wheels will be turning and the mud will be fl ying. Though the tracks were dry for the fi rst few events that kicked off the season, racers know there is still plenty of time to get muddy.

If the world of CX racing is foreign to you, it may look like a combination of mud wrestling and bike racing. But for those in the know, it’s a special breed of hardcore competitive fun and a good excuse to play outside, no matter what the weather.

“There are times we’ve had courses fl ooded in many inches of water, but we just keep going,” said Gene Redmon, race producer for Sacramento Cyclocross Series. That’s pretty much the M.O. of the sport–“just keep going”. Whether it’s sand, mud, or obstacles, if you can’t ride it, you get off and carry your bike over it.

If you’ve admired the filthy fun of this cardio-intensive sport, it’s time you joined the ranks, but before you go there are a few critical things you should know.

Elite cyclist Kathy Pruitt took up cyclocross a couple years ago when an injury prevented her from racing downhill. She learned things the hard way during her fi rst races, and encourages others to do a little research before they take the plunge into CX.

Pruitt, who works at the Family Cycling Center in Santa Cruz, suggests checking out your local bike shops if you’re a newbie to the sport. There you can ask for advice, meet people who race, and start to learn the ropes. In the early season (September/ October) shops often hold clinics or can direct you to coaches for technical training, of which you’ll need a lot! CX has its share of tricks and skills to learn, most of which have to do with mounting and dismounting your steed while continuing to make forward progress.

This is where Pruitt offers some personal advice. “Wear a skin suit, not a jersey and shorts,” she says. A jersey and shorts can get tangled in your bike as you carry it across obstacles. “Your jersey will end up at your nipples,” Pruitt warns, “but a skin suit is one piece and won’t cause problems.”

She also advises new racers to wear tall socks (so shoes won’t fi ll with mud or sand so easily). Clear glasses are also crucial for keeping the mud and debris out of your eyes.

Pruitt coaches for the Dirt Series, which is based out of Whistler, BC, but offers camps throughout the west. Participants are taught technical riding skills, and women-only camps are growing in popularity. “Don’t do things that make you scared on the bike,” Pruitt says. “Wait until you have the right set of skills and tricks to feel more confi dent.”

Photo: Brian Staby/Santa Rosa Cup CX

Luna Chix. Photo courtesy of Sea Otter Classic

Sea Otter Cyclocross. Photo courtesy of Sea Otter Classic

Jumping a hurdle. Photo: Sean Scope/Sea Otter Classic

Here are some upcoming Cyclocross Races going on in different parts of the state. Keep your ear out for new races and check the websites for any updates or changes.

Bay Area Super Prestige Series
• Oct. 21, Candlestick Repechage
• Nov. 10, Sierra Point Night Race
• Nov. 25, Golden Gate Park
• Dec. 09, CCCP Coyote Point

Surf City Cyclocross Series
• Oct. 28, Santa Cruz Halloween Classic (Race #1)
• Nov. 18, Santa Cruz (Race #2)
• Dec. 16, Santa Cruz (Race #3)

CCCX Central Coast Cyclocross Series
• Oct. 7, Prunedale (Race #4)
• Oct. 14, Prunedale (Race #5)
• Dec. 2, Seaside (Race #6)
• Dec. 30, Monterey (Race #7)
• Jan. 6, Monterey (Series Final)

Sacramento Cyclocross Series

• Oct. 7, Grass Valley (Race #2)
• Oct. 21, Clarksburg (Race #3)
• Nov. 3, Folsom (Race #4)
• Nov. 4, Folsom (Race #5)
• Nov. 18, Folsom (Race #6)
• Dec. 9, Lone (Race #7)
• Dec. 16, Wilton (Race #8)

Folsom Rodeo Cross
The only weekday nighttime race around! Race on a groovy lighted single track.
• Wednesday evenings from Oct. 24-Dec. 12, 2012 At the Folsom Historic Rodeo Arena

Sagebrush Cyclocross Series

• Oct. 13, (Race #2)
• Oct. 27, (Race #3)
• Oct. 28, (Race #4)

Santa Rosa Cup Series
• Oct. 27, Santa Rosa
• Nov. 17, Sonoma County Fairgrounds
• Dec. 15, TBD, but most likely Windsor Oaks Winery

El Dorado Hills 1st Annual Cyclocross
• Oct. 13, El Dorado Hills

Lion of Fairfax
• Oct. 20, FairfaxNCNCA /USA Cycling District

SoCal Cross Prestige Series
• Oct. 7, DTLA historic CYCLO-VIA!, Los Angeles
• Oct. 13, Pacifi ca Crossfest, Camarillo
• Oct. 20-21, UCI Spooky-Kross Weekend, Pomona
• Oct. 27-28, San Diego CX Weekend, San Diego
• Nov. 3, Redlands CX, Redlands
• Nov. 4, Velocity Cross, Corona
• Nov. 10, Storm the Beach, Oceanside
• Nov. 11, SPY Cyclocross, Escondido
• Nov. 25, Turkey Trot Cross, Glendale
• Dec. 1-2, UCI CXLA Weekend: Cross After Dark Finale, Los Angeles
• Dec. 8, Dirt Club CX, Los Olivos
• Dec. 9, SLO Cross, San Luis Obispo
• Dec. 15-16, Santa Cross Weekend, Los Angeles
• Dec. 30, CX into 2013, Irvine
• Jan. 6, Prestige Series Finale, Los Angeles

Sea Otter Classic Cyclocross
• Apr. 19, Laguna Seca Recreation Area