Black Friday shopping isn't much different than a cyclocross race. © Elliot Stokes on Flickr

Black Friday shopping lines – not much different than race registration and number pick up? © Elliot Stokes on Flickr

by Molly Hurford

As Black Friday approached and we saw all of the stores gearing up to throw open their doors and allow the hoards of shoppers through their doors, we couldn’t help but think: man, if only some of these serious shoppers raced cyclocross. Why? Well, the more we thought about it, the more we realized that Black Friday in the mall is pretty much the same as a cyclocross race. Minus the bikes. And the mud. And, if we’re being honest, the fun. But seriously, they’re quite similar, and cyclocrossers are well prepared for the scrum. More on that in a bit…

The best gift: a digital or print subscription to Cyclocross Magazine!

The best gift: a digital or print subscription to Cyclocross Magazine!

If you’re out in the mad rush of today, good luck, be safe, and finish on top with the best deals! If you elected to skip the madness, we certainly don’t blame you. After all, what’s the big rush? You can visit your local bike shop for your holiday shopping, buy a loved one or yourself an amazing magazine subscription, or shop online (check out the ads to your right → for great cyclocross gift ideas or do your normal online shopping through our links to support Cyclocross Magazine without paying an extra penny). Or just drool over the best new 2013 ’cross bikes — and pick one to really surprise the cyclocrosser in your life — or employ some wishful thinking and add one to your own holiday wishlist.

Whether you’re getting ready to snag an amazing deal or wary of the chaos and crowds, sit back and enjoy our cyclocrosser’s how-to guide to mastering Black Friday.

  1. Getting to the start line early is incredibly important, even if you feel kind of silly wandering around ages before your race.
  2. Snagging the holeshot — it’s arguable that the rest of the race is determined by the holeshot, and Black Friday shopping is similar: put yourself in the hole to quickly snag that big ticket item you’re looking for! Plus, the mad dash for the open door is pretty much the exact same thing as the dash to leave the pavement and hit the dirt first.
  3. Throwing ‘bows is sort of a must if you’re going to get where you want to go.
  4. Even a great deal (like getting a bike at cost) is still going to cost a bundle.
  5. Ride the tape to get around lines at the store — go wide!
  6. Carbo-loading the night before, and pre-shop nutrition, are key to shopping endurance. Also, stay hydrated.
  7. Having the right gear for the situation is key: you’d use Limus tires in a muddy race versus Grifos in a dry race, and proper Black Friday shopping warrants proper gear as well: comfy shoes you can run in to snag the best deals and a big purse are key!
  8. Huge lines for bathrooms…
  9. Even if you win and get the great deal on that one toy, you still go home having spent serious $$ to get it (not unlike winning a bike race).
  10. When you’re done, you really, really deserve a drink (be it a beer or a hot apple cider)!

Got another reason the two are similar? Let us know in the comments!