What We Can't "Cross" Without - Product Roundup
In case you haven't heard, CROSS IS HERE!
A new season means a new cycling focus which also means swapping all your road gear for more cyclocross specific items.
Here's a roundup of PDF editor picks (along with a few guest contributions!) to get you starting cross with style and function.
Lori Nedescu | Senior Nutrition Editor
When I go to cross races, it's typically an all day event. Ride there, spectate, change clothes, eat food, race bike, repeat. All this requires bringing extra gear along. I need a place to stash my extra gloves, jacket, sandwich, post race cider.... you know, the essentials. Since cross tends to happen in the least lovely of weather, I suggest a waterproof pack that you can toss around in the mud + rain without worry like this Ortlieb Velocity Design Cycling Pack. Check out the Specs HERE (right now, its even on sale! Win!).
Hands-Free, Waist Belt, Dog Leashes
Caitlin Dumas | Senior Editor
To all my fellow dog parents out there who want to take their fur babies to cross with you, these leashes are your golden ticket. After a couple of races of juggling bikes, a bag, check-in, putting up our team tent, refreshments (beer) and racing, we quickly realized we needed something to help us keep our hands free to make our lives 1000 times easier.
I was particular about the leashes I purchased because I didn't want the classic running leash that's short. I wanted to find a leash which could double as a normal walking leash, gave them room to roam if necessary, but also enough control when attached to my waist I didn't have to worry about them.
I can't cross without these leashes. They have saved so many headaches and tangled ankles. For their price ($9.99 each), I'm extremely impressed with their quality. We have put them through the wringer and a puppy with a bad leash-eating habit and they're still going strong.
PRO PICK: Enzo No Tingle Chamois Cream
Alexandra Burton | Professional Cyclocross Rider
Alexandra is a Portland, Oregon based Massage Therapist and professional cyclist racing for Point S. I am a fierce competitor and ask the ultimate best of myself. I love racing my bike because I love the place that racing takes me. Racing and training have helped me to maneuver through many of life’s challenges, as racing itself has been a constant reminder of how I can live up to and beyond my own potential. My strength, intuition, compassion and tenacity have all contributed to my success on the bike, while racing, in turn, has taught me about who I am, about being uncomfortable, and about finding success in small ways and in unlikely places.
It's tricky to pick just one cross item! There are so many products I use and love throughout the cyclocross season! The first thing item that really pops into my head though, that I love and use every training ride and every race day, is Enzo's Cycling Products. Enzo's ButtonHole Chamois cream, NO Tingle for me. On cold and wet race days I love the Enzo's Oil Stick. Gives a little warmth and protection for the bare legs during the race. Full on embrocation can be too much, so this is just perfect amount of warmth and protection. Plus it makes my legs shine :) The entire product line is under $19.95 so it's an easy add.
Rapha Cross Merino Scarf
Kelly Krause | PDF Columnist
I don't race CX or have a CX bike, but I make a really great spectator and have a blast cheering my pals on. I love a good merino scarf if / when temps drop in Austin, TX and Rapha's cross collection is always my favorite -- zero bias -- they just know how to do color ways well. And you can't come to a cross race without hand-ups. While donut holes are a crowd favorite, no one will turn down Red Vines (Red Vines > Twizzlers. Anyone who has worked on a Hollywood TV set will understand and appreciate that. #CraftServices).
A One Gear Wonder | Mosaic Single Speed
Addie Levinsky | PDF Senior Editor
While there have been no stair repeats, no 30x30s, no skills practice (I can only imagine what my remounts look like now), or any other form of “training” to speak of this summer, I still get excited when ‘cross season arrives. It might be the transition to Fall or the quirky, infectious atmosphere of cx races; no matter what it is, even if I’m not racing, I am still psyched on cyclocross.
I’m particularly psyched on singlespeed cyclocross bikes. It’s not just the nostalgia from my days as a fixie commuter, or the masochism from taking up SS mountain biking…it’s the fact that there is no better tool, in my opinion, to get the job done.
An ideal ‘cross race has adverse conditions and a proper mud to dirt (and sand) ratio. Throw in a couple sets of stairs, and a bunch of other random barriers, and the last thing you want to concern yourself with is the possibility of mechanicals because there is only so much force and abuse a bike can handle. Derailleurs and cassettes caked with mud and suffering to shift under load just seem questionable, at best.
When I decided to start racing single speed it was to experience that sense of simplicity in a race format. Having years of experience racing road and mountain bikes, equipment (and fear of equipment failure) was always on the forefront. That’s not to say a mechanical can’t happen on a single speed machine, but it becomes less of a concern. And talk about saving time with maintenance! Plus, who doesn’t want to shed a few grams?
I outfitted my team-issued Mosaic Single Barrel SSCX rig with a set of EP 38mm carbon clinchers from HIFI Wheels, hand built in Portland, Oregon. And holy smokes, it was a total game changer. Not only was the bike incredibly fast, nimble, and capable for every course and condition, but it provided a pure riding experience, racing or not, that I had not felt in a long time.
Fast forward to a new season, and though I might not be toeing up to race, I still ride my SSCX bike around town and on the trails. Sometimes I feel like a superhero, remembering the podiums we stood on together, and the absolute suffering I can’t seem to replicate in any other setting.
If you’ve thought about singlespeed, but you’re afraid it’s like bringing a knife to a gun fight, you might just be surprised. It can cut through just about anything.