Oh autumn, how I adore thee. Nights of good sleeping weather. Days of clearer skies. Roads devoid of tourists. Here in SoCal, a slightly off-center tribe of cyclists ring in the new season with a cowbell. That’s because September marks the beginning of the cyclocross season here in SoCal, and because cowbells (along with beer, dollar bills, and a loud heckling voice) are pretty much a requirement for any self-respecting cyclocross spectator.
So what’s the deal with cyclocross anyway? It's sort of a cross (pun intended) between road riding and mountain biking. Here in SoCal, races are held in city parks, on campuses, beaches and even through vineyards! A typical course snakes through a mixture of grass, dirt, sand and pavement. Multiple turns, hills and chutes ensure most of the course falls within eyesight of spectators. That means you’ll never be out of sight or sound of cheering (and sometimes heckling) crowds and their cowbells.
What about the bike? While there are dedicated cyclocross bikes for sale at many local bike shops, most beginners and even some seasoned ‘crossers ride mountain bikes. They’re ideal for the mostly off-road racecourses and help take the edge off the gopher holes. Pound for pound, cyclocross is one of the best bargains in bike racing, especially when you factor in the fun.
The SoCalCross Prestige Series 2013-14 season will soon return for its 8th year with a full schedule of exciting events beginning in late September and running into January of 2014. Along with high-quality courses at comfortable and convenient venues throughout the region, enthusiasts can look forward to eco-sport festivals, health and wellness outreach, vendor expos, skills clinics, gourmet food trucks, live bands, fun non-competitive events as well as sightseeing rides for the entire family.
For more information and event schedules, visit the SoCalCross website.