What to expect at your first cx race.

OK, you’ve hit up a clinic. You’ve practiced your moves. Maybe you have even picked out a fancy skinsuit… Now you are ready for your first race.

I brought in the big guns to get us ready for the starting chute: former U23 Cyclocross National Champion Cody Kaiser! I met Cody at a cyclocross camp last year, and he has graciously agreed to answer some race day basics for us.


My First Cyclocross Race!


How should I prep my bike?


Wash your Bike! It’s an all too common thing to come home from an awesome ride and put your bike away dirty.     Keeping your rig clean and well lubricated will only prolong the life of the parts and keep any noises away. It’s always a good thing to make sure your wheel skewers are tight and of all the main bolts are properly torqued.


What should I wear?


You’re going to want to wear your standard riding gear. A nice pair of shorts and a jersey. It’s probably best to stay away from wearing baggies to eliminate any possibility of catching on the saddle when getting on and off the bike. And you are definitely going to want to wear a mountain bike shoe for ease with running.



Anything else I should bring?


You should bring a few water bottles to stay hydrated. A pump to check tire pressure. A change of clothes for after the race. Some extra tubes if you are racing with tubes in your tires. And most importantly a loud cheering     squad…haha


How are races structured? Is there a check-in procedure or tech check?


The races are generally structured in a numerical category system. Category 4 is for your first time racer or first year racing and is a 30min race. Category 2/3 is for the returning racer that’s looking for a bit more of a challenge and some tougher competition. These races are 45min. And then there is the Cat 1 that will race for 1 hr and be a more. Cat 1 is a veteran field and even faster pace.

There is a registration tent setup which is where you’ll want to go immediately upon arriving at the venue. You will need some cash (obviously) and possibly some form of ID. If you are going to be racing a USA Cycling sanctioned event you will need your USAC license or if you are racing for the first time, you can purchase a 1-day license.

(DR Note: One-day licenses are $10… but if you plan to race a lot, you might want to invest in the license for $70 a year.)


OK, about that race… Should I go in with any strategy for my first race, or am I just trying to survive?


Cyclocross races are hard, you are gonna suffer. Sometimes even at the pro level, we all feel like we are out there and just trying to survive. But you should definitely go in with a bit of a strategy. It is good to look at the course and find sections that suite you as a rider really well. Whether it be techy sections or more power sections… In those places, use it to your advantage and in the spots that are more difficult for you, relax and try to ride with a few people around you the help share the workload.


What skills do you think are vital for a beginner race?


Well I’m not sure about skills that are vital but the most important thing to remember is to keep the rubber side down and your head up! Things can happen pretty quickly out there and it’s good to be aware of your fellow racers positioning at all times. And remember Slow is Smooth and Smooth is Fast.

Cody’s Bio

I started out riding mountain bikes at the age of 10 and was quickly turned on to cyclocross. I was fascinated by this weird mix of mountain bike and road racing, then sprinkle a little running on top. Since then, I’ve been riding and racing cyclocross and it has been my primary discipline for the past 5 years. In the process I have been able to travel the globe, become a member of Team USA at the World Championships, and win a National Title along with numerous national caliber events. I race for LangeTwins / Specialized which is a program that I built myself with the idea to focus on more of an athlete-based setup rather than a multi-rider type team. LangeTwins is a Winery and Vineyard based in Lodi, CA and plays host to numerous cyclocross races on the winemaking property every year.

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