Zahner on a slippery, snowy turn. Courtesy of Simon Zahner
The cyclocross season begins in the fall and goes through the winter. Without forgetting our friends in the Southern Hemisphere, this means we usually see the first races of the season in the beginning of September. The season keeps rolling through the cold winter months with most national championship races taking place in January. World Championship races are held in early February/late January, depending on scheduling.
Depending on location, many road and mountain bike seasons continue through September and November, meaning that there can be some overlap as other seasons wind down and ’cross kicks up. Once the weather begins to cool and the leaves begin to fall, you’ll know that ’cross season is about to shift into the big ring.
In US hotspots like New England, the Northwest and California, races can be found nearly every weekend throughout October and November. The fact that rain and snow show up hand-in-hand with ’cross season is what really defines it. Like gourmet coffee, the ever-changing regional mud varieties are ready and waiting to be sampled by racers.
Despite the traditional season, races have begun to pop up through the summer months as well. Riders in the UK may be familiar with the Yorkshire Summer Series and the London Cyclo-Cross Summer Series. This past May, American riders saw the resurrection of Cult Cross, which took place in March. The following month saw a solid turnout at the Laguna Seca Raceway for the Sea Otter Classic Cyclocross race. Raleigh’s Midsummer Night’s Cyclocross Race looks to be the last large summer race at the end of July, but dirt road addicts have numerous other gravel racing options. And for those in Australia, the Dirty Deeds series takes place during the summer, or, more accurately, their winter.
Get schooled in cyclocross with our Cyclocross Academy class list here, and make sure you’re subscribed to Cyclocross Magazine, your guide for getting into the sport, and upping your ’cross knowledge. Not subscribed yet? For the newbies, our Issue 21 has a great feature on buying your first cyclocross bike, and Issue 22 has a story on how to get into racing and what to expect at your first race.