How to avoid dropping your chain in a cyclocross race

You trained hard. Practiced your skills and arrived in peak physical and mental condition. The whistle blows and your race is going great - then, disaster! Your chain comes off and all your hard work is down the drain.

What went wrong? A derailed chain can happen even to professional riders at the very top of the sport, and they have the luxury of always riding new, well-maintained equipment installed and maintained by experienced mechanics, multiple race-ready bikes, and years of skills. Cyclocross is simply hard on equipment at every level.

The risk of dropping a chain can never be entirely eliminated, but you can reduce the risk dramatically by adopting some best practices:

If the worst happens and you do drop your chain, don't panic. You're still in the race. Cyclocross is unpredictable and those who may have passed you can crash, get a flat tire, or have their own mechanical problems, so always ride all the way to the finish line.