Our Favorite Reason to Get Dirty
In the past, Saturday mornings in autumn may have been reserved for sleeping late, going out to brunch, and curing hangovers. Increasingly, however, women around the world are looking for more invigorating and health-forward ways to enjoy their weekends, be with friends, and have fun. And there’s one fall sport that stands head and shoulders over all others for bringing your mornings to new heights of exhilaration. It will take your breath away, make your legs burn, challenge you, leave you with a feeling of satisfaction, and may even end with a beer or two before noon..
Ladies, welcome to cyclocross, a Saturday sport that gives you every excuse to not shower when you wake up. Cyclocross has been described as steeplechase for cyclists. Over the course of 45 minutes (30 for beginners), racers maneuver barriers, sand pits, and tight turns around several laps of a winding course as wild spectators cheer and jeer from the sidelines. This is a sport that’s here to stay, and with good reason, because it’s an outstanding way for women to test the waters of bike racing.
Cyclocross is a sport that is remarkably beginner-friendly. If you can balance on two wheels, then you can race cyclocross, and it will be the hardest, most exhilarating, and most rewarding workout of your week. Think of it this way: When was the last time you had an excuse to ride straight through a mud pit, fully clothed? When was the last time you were given the opportunity to drink a beer while simultaneously maneuvering your bike between trees?
In all seriousness, it’s a sport that gives you plenty of space to make mistakes. In fact, falling over and getting back up is often the key to a successful cyclocross race. Most courses demand some bike-handling skills, but even if you take a tumble, you’re unlikely to be hurt. Courses are typically on grass rather than pavement, and there are minimal obstacles for you to land on. It’s like tripping while on a stroll through the park with friends.
Even if you don’t have a competitive side, the culture surrounding the sport of cyclocross is worth tapping into. It’s like the gritty garage band of cycling, where the fans are rowdy and you’re always right in the action.
In a sport where heckling is encouraged, beer-guzzling is rampant, and fans are known to hand out dollar bills and slices of bacon to racers at the top of particularly steep run-ups, spectating can be just as exciting as racing. So, even if you’re not up for battling it out on a grueling course, make sure to check out a local event. Standing on the sidelines and screaming whatever comes to mind is a great way to clear your head.
Take it from someone who came late to the sport and fell for it immediately with tremendous force: your autumn months will be better spent with cyclocross, and in years to come, as summer begins to close and the leaves start their slow colorful turn, you’ll find that those Saturday mornings, whether you’re racing or spectating, are your favorite part of the season.