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Need A New Fall Fitness Routine? Try Cyclocross

26 September, 2018

Cyclocross? It seems that when fall arrives, people start crazing over the season with hashtags such as #CROSSISHERE. While running uphill with a bike and hurdling over obstacles in mud doesn't seem like the average cyclists fall dream come true, cyclocross may be the best way for you to get through the autumn and winter months whether you're a roadie or mountain biker. There are multiple reasons why cyclocross should be on your "try something new" list or training schedule. Here are some thoughts around why trying cyclocross might be the new cycling craze we should all try this fall.

New Bike Skills
I have never been the biggest daredevil, so the idea of improving my cycling skills is one I like. Riding on loose gravel, soft mud, and wet surfaces that continuously vary between tarmac, sand, and rocs increases confidence and skill on the bike. Dabbling in other types of cycling such as gravel riding and mountain biking made me realize that if I do slide a little, it doesn't mean I am going to crash and need to relax in these scenarios. Cyclocross can teach us how to correct a slide instead of letting ourselves crash because of it.

Connect With  Nature
Outside is free right? On a cyclocross bike you can ride in the forest and have see more wildlife with absolute silence. According to a Harvard study, spending time in forests, hiking in mountains, and just being outside can lead to significant health benefits. Studies have shown that walking in the woods can improve blood pressure, boost mental health, and decrease cancer risk. So go spend some time "forest-bathing" to improve your health during the darker seasons.

New Routes
I like that with seasonal changes comes cyclocross. I often feel like I know all of the roads around home like the back of my hand, so switching up my routine can give me the chance to explore new territory like a mountain biking park or bike friendly trails just down the street from home.

Quiet Time
On the road or trails, chances are good you’ll see another cyclist, but in the forest you can spend three hours without meeting anybody, and sometimes that’s just what you need. You can also hear birds singing, squirrels harvesting, and the plus side of it is there are no cars and traffic lights.

Great Fitness Gains
Cyclocross is more intense than typical road cycling, as your heart rate tends to go higher, and you work more muscles than you would on the road. The varied terrain causes your body to recruit more core strength to keep your bike stable, which helps with training in general.

As I evaluate my skills in cycling, I realize that simply riding along on a road no longer improves my skills. Instead, the more I do on the mountain bike trails and gravel roads, the more it helped me stay fit on the road. Trying something new to mix up your fall fitness routine can be beneficial, like making new friends, having fun, and gaining confidence. The plus side of trying cyclocross is that you'll be able to at least say, you tried it but who knows, you may like it!
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