As Autumn begins in Louisville so does cyclocross season. The Mandrola’s are active participants. What is cyclocross one asks? I have prepared a top ten list of sorts.

Hopefully, some will come out and give it a try.

Cyclocross: The facts…

1. Cyclocross, AKA, “cross” is a form of bike racing/riding on varied terrain. Terrain is primarily grass, but includes pavement, sand, trails and barriers.

2. Races are timed events varying in length from 30-60 minutes. The courses vary in length from 1.5-2.5 miles.

3. Lap times are usually 5-8 minutes in length.

4. Barriers require 1-3 bike dismounts per lap. Obstacles mandating dismounts include steps, barriers, steep inclines that are un-ridable, natural obstructions and occasionally un-ridable mud/muck.

5. The skill set requires a delicate balance of aerobic endurance, repeated accelerations, coordination of dismounting, carrying and remounting a bike at speed. Skilled riders who are “smooth” are better able to conserve valuable energy and maintain higher speeds.

6. Cross bikes are modified road bikes. They have higher bottom brackets for clearance of obstacles, wider, knobby tires for traction off road, special brakes for mud clearance and beefier frames to handle the bumps.

7. Courses are taped off and spectators are extremely close to the competitors. This allows for a spectator friendly event as the race can be visualized multiple times from a single vantage point. This is exactly opposite to road racing in which a 4 hour race may be seen live for a total of 10 seconds.

8. Cross is a fall, winter sport. Races are often held in difficult weather conditions. In fact, bad weather enhances the race.

9. Cross originated in Western Europe and is extremely popular there, but it is rapidly gaining in popularity here in North America.

10. Reasons for cross popularity are numerous:

a. Races are short, fast, and exciting to watch

b. Races are often raced in “epic” weather conditions

c. Shorter races foster a broad participation as training does not require hours of training

d. Each race day has multiple races varying from 10-50+ year olds and from beginner to elite. Beginner racers are racing on the same course and same day as the professionals. Imagine a pick up baseball game at Yankee stadium.

e. Races reward athleticism. Good athletes who can run, transition smoothly and have endurance do well

f. Family friendly. Race days are events often with music, emcee, barbecue and kids races.

11. Where does one experience cross in Louisville?

a. Wed nights in Louisville at 1800 at the old River Road CC on Zorn Ave/River road.

b. Kid’s cross at same location on Friday nights at 1800.

c. Beginners clinic on Tuesday night’s at RRCC.

12. Websites:



c. [email protected]

d. Louisville Kids Cross Facebook group:

Feel free to add bullet points in the comments.


2 replies on “Cyclocross”

blog on dr john, glad to see you in the blogosphere. I guess our bullet point would be
if you race cx in this town, we've probably talked about you there. A little less family friendly than yours, glad to have more folks talking cross in lou!


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