The Rise of Women’s Cyclocross

Womens cyclocross is an ever-growing phenomenon in South Australia, Australia, and the World, but we are incredibly lucky in South Australia particularly, to have cyclocross right at our finger tips.

But what is cyclocross?  

Cyclocross, or CX, is raced on road-style bikes, with wider knobbly tyres designed for dirt. It’s raced on a 2-3km course over a set period of time (usually 20-45 minutes here in SA) across terrain including dirt, bitumen, mud, grass, sand, and gravel, plus added features of stairs, barriers, or steep climbs where you’re required to get off your bike and run!

All photos courtesy of Tim Loft, do not use without permission.

 

So, what’s so good about it?

1. It’s inviting

Cyclocross is a sport for all. It’s fun, everyone enjoys themselves, and it’s an incredibly supportive and encouraging environment and community to be a part of. No one cares if you’re coming first or last, they’ll cheer you on anyway.

2. The location

Majority of our races are held in the Adelaide parklands, meaning they’re central and easy to get to, and great for families.

3. The races

The races provide you with a short, high intensity workout and don’t take the whole day! They’re raced on short circuits, so they’re superb for spectators, plus, should you get dropped, you’ll never get lost or be on your own!

Plus so many other things which I could ramble on about forever!

4. Why should you listen to me?

I’ve raced bikes for seven years, but cyclocross is by far my favourite discipline. I’ve raced road and track but find CX to be the most fun, welcoming, and exciting. I started just like anyone else – on an alloy bike, with no clue of what I was doing! From there on, I raced and trained as much as I could and slowly began to take it more seriously. I realised I was actually alright at it, so took a chance at nationals, and did well. Fast forward and I made the huge leap of faith to race in Belgium at the 2016 CX World Championships. From then on I took the next season more seriously again, and became U23 National Champion, and raced at the World Champs for a second time. What I love about cyclocross is that there are so many elements you can improve on – it’s not just who’s the fastest or the strongest, or who can sprint best, it comes down to your choices, your skilfulness, your technique, the lines you take, mounting and dismounting, running or riding, and a whole host of other things which can all be improved on! There’s always something new and exciting, and no matter what the race, competition, terrain, or conditions – you’ll always be positively challenged!

My aims for this year are to place as high as I can in the National CX Series and win the National CX Champs – I’ll then be heading over to Belgium once again to race and train with 100% commitment and race my first Elite World Championships!

 

If I can give one piece of advice, it’s to take a leap of faith, go out of your comfort zone, take a chance, even if that’s just making your way to the start line – it’s the best thing I ever did and has given me the most personal growth I have ever had.

Don’t hesitate to come and speak to me at races, I love meeting new people and am always happy to help where I can! Or feel free contact me with any questions you may have, or suggestions for topics to write about – things you might want to know, advice, anything!

Stacey Riedel

Content courtesy of Stacey, blog piece compiled by Bike SA, all photos courtesy of Tim Loft, do not use without permission.

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