Cyclo-cross season takes center stage

By Karen Kefauver

If you like stomping through puddles, racing up short, steep hills, running through deep sandpits and leaping over knee-high hurdles—all while riding or carrying your bike—then cyclo-cross may be the sport for you.

Part mountain biking, part road cycling, cyclo-cross races last one hour, maximum, but deliver a lung-busting, leg-churning workout. Plus, during cyclo-cross races, the more rain, snow, ice and mud, the better.

“I love the intensity of the sport,” said professional racer Christine Vardaros, 45, who has  raced over 25 world cups and three world championships for the U.S.

“I especially love the feeling when I nail all the technical sections, whether it be nailing that perfect line through ankle-deep mud or sand, or executing perfect dismounts and remounts while on the rivet,” said Vardaros, a former Bay Area resident now living in Belgium.

Cyclo-cross differs from other cycling races …