Cyclocross season is already underway in the northern hemisphere, and mountain biker and cyclocross racer Kerry MacPhee has shared some simple tips with us about getting into cyclocross and racing on mud.
You don’t need a specialist bike to get started, and most regional cyclocross (CX) races allow you to race on a mountain bike. If you’re feeling adventurous though, invest in CX tyres.
However, if you do decide that cyclocross is the sport for you there are plenty of specialist bikes available from the likes of Specialized, Norco, Canyon, Giant, and Cannondale.
2. Train easy
Head to your local park and instead of sticking to the paths, weave in and out of trees, go up and down bankings and make mud and grass your friends.
3. Create a route
Lay branches out to create hurdles and practise jumping on and off your bike. Be brave, push your limits, test out how much speed you can carry into the hurdles. See if you can skid the bike and test the tyre grip.
4. Feel the pressure
Get a hand-held pressure gauge, you can really feel the difference in grip even in 2 or 3psi. In training, let air out and see how much grippier your tyres become in the mud. Pump them up a bit for travelling quicker on drier terrain.
5. Buckets of chaos
CX races are made up of multiple laps, and you have no idea what position you are in. It means you can focus purely on yourself rather than the eventual outcome. Just soak up the atmosphere, enjoy sussing out new skills and be sure to bring a bucket to help clean your bike — it gets very muddy.