With 'cross season just around the corner, we reached out to Katy Salinas of Swift Racing for some pointers for beginners interested in trying cyclocross. The Blind Date at the Dairy (Wednesday nights starting September 7) is a race series that attracts riders of all skill levels with an exciting on- and off-road course at the Alpenrose Dairy (and home of the velodrome). Blind Date and Swift share our love of bicycles and the community they can build, and we're proud to continue sponsoring both organizations in the coming season!
So, what is cyclocross?
· Cyclocross is a form of bicycle racing on a course with tight corners, obstacles, varying terrain. The race is measured in time instead of distance - racers complete as many laps in the race time as possible.
Can anyone race cyclocross?
· Just about! You need a bicycle, helmet, race entry fee, and the ability to ride for 30-45 minutes. If you have all of that and are ready to have fun, you can race cyclocross!
Can I race any bicycle?
· There is a type of bicycle specifically for cyclocross racing, but a mountain bike will also work.
Do I need to do anything special to get my bike ready to race?
· Basically, make sure it’s in good working condition: tires inflated, drive train and brakes work. your local bike shop can get you squared away, but don’t wait until the last minute. Also, 21st Avenue mechanics will be at Alpenrose for the Blind Date series for your race-day needs.
· Remove the commuting gear (racks, fenders).
· Mount a front light if you are racing in the evening.
So how do I enter a race?
· Check the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association calendar for race dates and info.
· You need to buy a license—annual or single day. A 2016 Cyclocross membership is only $20, or $5 for single day.
· Register at the race or online (this involves a waiver and entry fee)
And it’s race day! I’m super nervous, anything else I should know?
· Come well fed and hydrated so your body is ready to race.
· Pin your race number on your jersey according to the model at registration.
· Find out where the start is and get there about 10 minutes before your race.
· Almost all the racers want you to have as much fun as they do, so please feel welcome to ask questions.
And for any beginning women interested, there will be a skills clinic offered before each of the first four Blind Dates, 5 PM at Alpenrose. Look for the Swift Racing tent and get ready to have fun!