Cyclocross: biking on snow


Lucas Robbins, Head Sports Editor

Most bikers hang their bike up for winter, but others are just getting started. Temperatures drop, conditions get worse, yet Cyclocross riders live for this subpar weather.

“I think there is a certain type of person. Cyclocross is a rebel sport, at least in America. People get dressed up in costumes and crazy stuff, others don’t but ride those bikes like they’re mountain bikes. Anytime you think ‘I shouldn’t be riding right now.’ Mud, snow, sand. Anything that pushes the limits of you as a rider as well as your bike,” said Animas High School Sr. Keiran Eagen.

Cyclocross is unique in the fact that there are manmade barriers in the way requiring one to be able to dismount and run over the barriers, all the while carrying the bike.

“I like being able to bike in the snow! I also like the new and inventive ways of cyclocross, like jumping off your bike, picking it up and running over barriers. You are unstoppable,” said Fr. Maddie Jo Robbins.

Cyclocross is another outlet for students and professionals alike to get outside, riding and racing around the Four Corners. Whether the reason for riding is cross-training, racing, or just having fun, cyclocross is a great way to continue riding deep into the winter.

“I ride Cyclocross because it’s a fun low pressure way to stay in shape and enjoy riding bikes. Since there’s no pressure on me it’s a refreshing ride every time because I know that I don’t need to be the best, I can just enjoy going fast in questionable conditions on bikes that probably aren’t the best option for said conditions,” said Eagen.

Along with staying outside through December and January, there are skills that one can only learn from cyclocross: skills that range from barrier jumping to quick mounts and transitions. Of course, this helps every other type of cycling, as good skills are the foundation of a good rider, be it a racer or weekend warrior. Yet many riders don’t ever seem to notice due the coaching led by Chad Cheeney.

I like that [cyclocross] is playful. I can be creative with the creation of drills and workouts to point to a certain skill or output. My style of coaching is to trick the riders into being fast by having fun with cycling games and being playful with intervals. Setting up race courses is a blast as a coach as you get to test your pupils on what you’ve been teaching them. It also lets you see where they need improvement” said Cheeney, coach of Fort Lewis Cycling and Durango Devo.

As Durango delves into the heart of winter, cyclocross riders fully emerge from their hideouts. Thriving upon cold, wet, muddy weather, these creatures are abnormal because the worse it gets, the more alive they become.

“Getting dirty is the fun part because it’s fun to let loose, and honestly I don’t know, it’s just fun!” said Fr. Sage Davis.

In a race, riders do many laps around a set course and with the bad weather that gets riders stoked to race, the course can be a forever changing maze of mud pits and beyond.

Most cyclocross enthusiasts do love bad weather for racing. Its romantic and feels like you’re doing something crazy. The race course changes every lap when it’s bad weather and this makes for great racing. Not to mention great post race stories to tell the mates,” said Cheeney.