Cyclocross has been compared to a steeplechase with modified road bikes over hill and dale. Races typically last 30-45 minutes plus a final lap. Traditional rules are that if you're lapped by the leaders then you have to pull out at the end of that lap to avoid confusion but at TBCC we let people keep riding and the officials keep track of laps to determine the results. The pace for the last lap is often a sprint, and the stop-go nature of the courses and racing means you get an intense workout.
Like triathlon, cyclocross mixes multiple athletic endeavours, namely riding and running, with a strong emphasis on skillful bike handling. The pace, barriers, climate and technical aspects of the course weed out the weak and make for good theatre. Most races are held on 1km to 3km courses, mixing tarmac, sand, dirt, mud, and barriers. Man-made barriers, usually 18in high, pepper the course, sometimes staggered close enough to force racers to shoulder their bikes or carry them by the top tube for a short distance.
There are a few ways to address the barriers, but for efficiency and speed the best way to dismount is to unclip your right foot as you're approaching the barrier or run-up, swing your leg around the saddle and in between your left foot and the bike. Unclip your left foot as your right strikes the ground, catapulting yourself forward just in time to hop over the barrier or clamber up the hill.
If there are several barriers in a row, it's sometimes best to shoulder the bike (see why it pays to have the lightest bike you can afford?). Or, if you're tall and have good upper body strength, carry the bike by the handlebar with your left hand as your right lifts the top tube. Run-ups are always best accomplished by shouldering the bike, and pumping your left arm for momentum.
The TBCC cyclocross season runs from September to November. For 2016, there will be a free try-out day with clinics for both youth and adults on Sunday Sept. 25th. Races are held on Sundays at 1 pm and Thursdays at 6pm. All members are welcome to participate. Check the schedule for locations & Facebook for updates re: weather.