Never raced cyclocross before? No worries… anyone that can ride a bike can have a blast at our races–no racing experience necessary. We put together this page to help you get started.
Why Race Cyclocross?
Good question… It’s painful, sometimes dusty, sometimes muddy, sometimes very muddy, sometimes hot, sometimes cold and you’ll probably get heckled. So why do people do it?
People that regularly race cyclocross love it and keep coming back year after year. There are a ton of reasons why…
- Community – The cyclocross community is what keeps people coming back. You’ll find lots of smiles, high fives, teams, friends and families. If you do it long enough you might find your home in the cross community.
- Competition – We design our categories so everyone has someone to race. You’ll find plenty of outlet for your competitive juices, no matter how fast or slow you are. People don’t take it all too seriously. And if you don’t really care about competing, just show up and ride your bike.
- The Vibe – The overall vibe at our races is great. It just feels good to be there. Crazy, unexpected stuff happens. You might be handed a shot of whiskey during the race or find a slip and slide
- Fitness – Racing will get you in great shape, no matter what condition you are starting with. You ride harder and you get faster. You feel really good when you are done.
- Fun – The whole thing adds up to a ton of fun.
Who Races Cyclocross at MFG?
Anyone and everyone. Really.
If you can ride a bike reasonably well, you can race cyclocross. You don’t need to have been an ex-bike racer in your youth. You don’t need to be on a team. You don’t need to have fancy riding duds. You don’t need to be in amazingly good shape. Just come out and do it.
We have categories to try to accommodate everyone. We have 4-year-old kids racing and 80-year-old women (yes. Her name is Fran and she’s the national champion in the 80-84 year old category). Women’s specific categories, non-binary, men, beginners, many age categories. You name it.
If you are totally new, we suggest you race in the beginner category. We will have several race ambassadors before and after your race for your questions or to point out that you have snot on your chin at the end of the race.
What are Our Cyclocross Courses Like?
Our courses are typically 1.5 to 2 miles long and cover a variety of surfaces, Depending on the category you are in, you might do 4 laps or 9.
The courses usually feature obstacles, like barriers, stairs, sand or steep pitches that force you to dismount and run for a bit. The obstacles are what make cyclocross.
Some courses have sections that are more challenging to ride. If you can’t ride, walk it!
What type of bike can I use?
The most common bikes ridden are cyclocross and gravel bikes (can anyone really tell the difference between these two anyways?) You’ll generally want 700×33 tires or wider.
Mountain bikes work fine. Hard tails better than soft tails.
You will want some traction for the looser sections, so road bikes with skinny bald tires aren’t recommended.
At MFG races, there are only two rules related to your bike: 1) no motors and 2) if you are racing the single speed category, you must have only one gear available (zip tying acceptable).
It’s not a bad idea to have your bike checked out by a professional mechanic before the season starts. There is nothing worse than getting all charged up to race only to break your chain in the first 2 minutes.
Day of the Race Tips
It’s your first race! You are probably going to be nervous. But really there is nothing to worry about.
A few tips for you:
- Show up to the venue 1.5 – 2 hours before your category starts. This will give you plenty of time to get suited up, make sure your registration is set, buy a T-shirt, warm up, do a practice lap, and pee nervously at least 5 times before the race.
- Take a practice lap on the course before your start. Getting one lap in before you start really helps you to feel more confident about what you are facing. Unless you are in the very first race wave at the start of the day, you won’t have time to ride your practice lap immediately before your race, so you’ll need to do that in the 15-minute gap before the race preceding yours. So, your practice lap might be 45-60 minutes before your start time.
- Get to the start line at least 10 minutes before your race starts. We will call you up to the start line 5-10 minutes before your race starts, and you’ll want to make sure you are in the correct wave.
- If you have any questions at all, please find one of our volunteers or go to registration.
Resources to help you get started
- Take a Clinic – Check out our Skills & Drills clinics. We will have an instructor there for raw beginners.
- Find a Team – You don’t need to be on a team, but joining a team makes the whole experience better and there are plenty of teams looking for new riders. Check out our team directory here.
- Find a Coach – Ok, you’ve done a few races and you want to get faster. Hiring a coach is a great way to do that. We’ll be sharing a directory of local coaches soon. Check back.