Cyclo-cross: what’s that road bike doing on trails?!?

Shaun Adamson Velocity Cycling ClubThis week on CBC Edmonton AM I talked about the sport of cyclo-cross. If you have been on any of the trails in Edmonton you have probably had a double take when something resembling a speed bike came tearing past. These horned handled speedsters with knobby tires may look like a new sport but hybrid bikes have been around longer than mountain bikes. The sport has been around since the early 1900’s and has always included plenty of obstacles like snow, mud, sand, logs, and all matters of crazy terrain.

Cyclo-cross is one of the fastest growing pedaled methods of transportation and sport. Its durability and versatility on all types of terrain and the ability to retain similar speeds to a road bike make the cross-bike a great choice for athletes and every day commuters. Word to the wise, now is the time to purchase a bike if you’re ok with riding a 2015 model as they’re trying to clear these before the 2016s come out to play – great deals!

Cyclocross Bike

I had the privilege of riding with Shaun Adamson last year who is a coach at Velocity Cycling Club here in Edmonton. Shaun raced as a member of the Canadian National Cyclocross Team at U23 World Championships in Hooglede-Gits, Belgium and Treviso, Italy.  He was a great help in getting my clips into the sport!

He describes the sport like this:

Cyclocross is a cross between road and mountain biking (although it has been around since before mountain bikes) and is probably the fastest growing discipline. The races are 30-60 minutes in length and can be described as the hardest hour of your life. They take place on grass, dirt, pavement, sand, snow, mud, whatever you can find with laps that are 2.5-3.5km. The bikes look kind of like a road bike, but with knobby tires, different brakes, and more mud clearance.Cyclo-cross provides a real education in cycling as it requires accomplished bike handling skills and unfailing physical fitness. Competitors have to carry their bikes over some sections.

If you want to see a cyclo-cross competition in full speed Velocity Cycling Club is holding it’s third annual Velocicross competition. The course is challenging but very spectator friendly with a BBQ and Beer Gardens. All proceeds for this event go to CXAlberta which helps to support and develop young cyclo-cross athletes.

The event will roll out as follows at Capilano Park:

Friday Night (6 pm – 8 pm):

The Eliminator: Riders race laps in heads of eight people.

Saturday (10 am – 3:30 pm):

Alberta Cup Race.

Also, multi-time national team member Aaron Schooler and former U23 National Champion Mike van den Ham will be there so it will be a great event!

If you are an Alberta Bicycle Association member you can race for $10! If you want more details feel free to visit

I’ll see you out there on Saturday!

About Chris Tse

I’m a scientist turned owner of Blitz Conditioning, a Fitness Columnist at CBC Radio on Thursdays at 8:20 am, and owner of Tse Social Strategy. Follow me on Twitter or Read my full bio.

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