At the end of August we're typically starting to see "#crossiscoming" posts as energy builds around the coming cyclocross season. Clinics would be scheduled, followed by practice races, and then the season we love.
Instead, many local series have already cancelled their entire season, and while the USA Cycling national championship is still on the calendar, that event proceeding seems to be in question, too. Bummer.
If you're like me, you're looking for ways to stay in touch with the sport you love, so I put together a few ways to get your cyclocross fix, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Catch up on a podcast
Relive the energy and community of racing around cyclocross by tuning in to a great podcast. Here are a few of my favorites:
These podcasts have huge back catalogs of old episodes, too, so you can catch up on some cyclocross history.
Watch some classic races
YouTube has a wealth of classic 'cross races. One of my all time favorites is the old master, Sven Nys, at the end of his career vs. a young WVA on the sand dunes of Koksijde. Watch here.
USA Cycling's channel also has a pretty substantial back catalog of national championship streams from years past.
As a bonus, you can work on your Dutch language skills by tuning into some Euro racing videos.
Turn a wrench
Did someone say "deferred maintenance?" Cyclocross takes a toll on your equipment. If you put off the overhaul at the conclusion of the 2019/20 season, now is a great time to catch up.
Normally at this time of year you might be doing the full overhaul in preparation for the coming season. Don't skip that just because racing is on pause. Now is a great time to sort out any replacement parts needed and you won't miss a race if repairs take longer than expected.
I'd consider this a great starting point:
- Remove and re-string with new cables
- Remove/inspect/service headset and bottom bracket bearings
- Install a new chain
- Inspect tire tread and sidewalls for cuts or wear. If tubeless, refresh the sealant.
- Pull the seatpost, clean, add fresh grease
Practice your skills
Even though you may not be able to race, or even go on a fast group training ride, you can still practice your skills. Setup some cones or flags or just memorize a course you can loop around repeatedly. Use our 90 minute cyclocross workout to keep your fitness and skills up, even without racing.
Race against yourself
Compete against yourself using tools like Strava to measure your progress. Although you aren't racing others, you can race yourself. Strava allows you to mark segments as "private" so the only listings on the leaderboard are your own private efforts. It's a great way to mark your progress when you can't race against others.