A Beginners Journey through Cyclo Cross - Kinesis Bikes
Ali Mills - A Beginners Journey through Cyclo Cross

A beginners journey through cyclo cross

This is a guest blog for Kinesis by Ali Mills (@millsphysio)

I was roped into marshal at a local race. I didn’t know what Cyclocross was. Wow, surely those were the wrong bikes for off road? Where’s the suspension? It looked so tough and muddy. People were sliding off, faces showing horror as they descended banks of slippery grass. Strain all over their faces. It looked so hard, I was in awe of the riders. There were a few women scattered through the field, they must be so strong to do this. Forty five minutes passed and it was over. At the finish area racers were full of chatter and enthusiasm for the race, laughing and smiling, comparing notes and talking about mud! “You should have a go Ali, its great”. Yeah right! No bloody way I thought. I spent the next year road cycling and watching some Cyclocross. The sport was clearly growing in popularity and a couple of friends were really keen to encourage women. They offered to run some Sunday morning skill sessions for women, building up to enter a special women only race. Would I like to go? No not really. It looked tough and muddy remember. Somehow I was persuaded and I reluctantly turned up on a borrowed bike. I discovered I wasn’t too shabby at riding on the grass and secretly enjoyed myself. I was lucky and got my very own Kinesis Crosslight bike the day before the race.

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Race day arrived and I was very nervous. I had not done competitive sport for years. There was about 20 women of all abilities lined up on the start line. ‘Go!’ It was tough and muddy. I was in a world of gasping for air, heart in my mouth, mud everywhere, feeling sick and spit round my chin. It seemed to go on forever, I desperately listened for the bell. I crossed the finish line euphoric! I had survived and then I couldn’t stop laughing, I couldn’t believe I had done a Cyclocross race. From that moment I knew I had found my thing: Cyclocross

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Two years on and I have done quite a few winter and summer races, I even joined a club and own a skin-suit! It actually doesn’t bother me at all racing with the men, most are very friendly and encouraging. Sometimes I came last but I was still delighted to have finished, people still cheer and clap. I have had a coach for 8 months now, whipping me into shape for Cyclocross racing. This training thing is all new to me. I have improved and don’t come last anymore, but if I’m honest I’m still delighted just to finish. It’s exhilarating. The Cyclocross scene is so friendly and encouraging. If you’re thinking about having a go, just do it. There are more opportunities arising to have a go as the sport grows. Fun and novice races are becoming common and a perfect chance to try it. If you want a buzz and feeling of achievement then Cyclocross is perfect. It is tough and muddy but it is also awesome, so have a go!

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