Cyclocross is a very beginner-friendly sport, thanks to the 3 S’s:
- Slower speeds – While still being a high-intensity sport, racing on grass and dirt is slower than racing on pavement
- Softer landings – Falling can be annoying, but rarely is it debilitating, because grass and dirt is softer than pavement. Falling is common in cross, but it happens less often in beginner fields because they are less likely to push the limits of what a tire can bear.
- Spread out field – Unlike crit racing or road racing, after the mass start, CX fields spread out very quickly, so you are rarely riding close together. This drastically reduces the amount of proximity crashes.
How do I prepare?
Roll on over to our pre-race prep page. This page should help you get ready for your race the night before, get you through registration, and into the starting gate.
Do I need to be fast?
No. Novices will start in lower-level competitions (Cat 5) and, if they work hard enough, they can advance up to higher levels. But many people don’t race for speed; some are happy to stay where they are and enjoy participating for other reasons.
You may still get lapped by faster riders, and that’s okay. This is a common occurrence and cross racers are normally very good about sharing the field with riders of all levels. Everyone on the course is entitled to their own race, including you, but if faster riders do call out that they’re passing you, please let them pass.
Do I need to commit to the whole Wisconsin Cyclocross Series?
You may participate in as few or as many race days as you want, and you may participate in multiple races on each day.
Do I need a cyclocross bike?
No, you can ride nearly any bike in the Wisconsin Cyclocross Series.
Can I ride a mountain bike, fat bike, hybrid bike, road bike, gravel bike, adventure bike, single speed bike, etc.?
Can I ride a fixed gear, electric bike, or unicycle?
No. Bikes must be exclusively human powered, and have a functioning front and rear hand brake, and a freewheel/freehub. Occasionally these are explicitly allowed in certain novelty races.
Is there a tire size limitation?
No. While most cyclocross-specific tires adhere to the 33mm limitation set forth by the UCI (the elite-level governing body), the Wisconsin Cyclocross Series does not require a specific sized tire and encourages you to find the right tire size for you.
Do I need special clothes?
No, nearly any sport or civilian clothes will do. Tops with sleeves are required (no tank tops, muscle shirts, racer-backs, camisoles or otherwise).
What is the minimum age for participation?
Participants must be 9 years of age are older, according to their cyclocross race age.
What is my cyclocross race age?
Your cyclocross race age is the age you will be on December 31st of the year that the season ends. Because our season starts in September and ends the following year in January, your age will usually be +1 or 2 years.
Example: You are 33 years old. Your race season starts in September 2022 (you are still 33), but you have a birthday in October 2022 (making you 34 at the end of the year). The World Champs will be in January 2023 (you are still 34) but your age is taken at the end of that year. You will have another birthday in October 2023 (making you 35). Thus, your real age on December 31, 2023 will be your race age for the entire 2022 season. This means as a 33-year-old you may race in the 35+ races.
To make this easier, please refer to the chart (valid for the 2023 season) below:
|If you were born between||Your CX racing age is||You may race in|
|2015-2010||9-14||Junior 9-14, Junior 15-18, All-ages|
|2009-2006||15-18||Junior 15-18, All-ages|
|1989-1975||35-49||All-ages, Masters 35+|
|1974 or before||50+||All-ages, Masters 35+, Masters 50+|
Am I required to race in my age group?
All Ages races welcome racers of any age, including Juniors, 35+ and 50+ racers. As far as age-restricted races go:
- Junior racers may race up age categories, but not down.
- 35+ and 50+ racers my race down age categories, but not up.
Are there races for kids 8 or younger?
Not officially. Occasionally individual race organizers will build cyclo-tot courses. These are usually advertised per race if they are available.
Do I need to pre-register?
No, but, you can save some money when you do, and it helps our officials stay better organized on the day if you do.
Do I need a race license?
Yes. 1-day licenses can be purchased when you register for your event. If you plan on racing 10 or more events in the year, (sanctioned by USA Cycling—including road, crit, mountain, track, gravel, etc.), you may want to consider a yearly license.
Which race do I enter?
Races are divided by skill, age, gender and occasionally bike style.
- Skill – Beginners may join any Cat 5 races. After a certain amount of podium placings, Cat 5 racers can upgrade to higher levels. More on beginners, above.
- Age – Racing age is a little tricky. Read more about it, above.
- Gender – Open races—often erroneously referred to as Men’s races (a legacy designation)—are open to all genders. Trans women are women, and therefore all women’s races are trans/femme inclusive and are open to anyone who does not identify as a man.
- Bike style – Nearly any geared bike is welcome in nearly any cross race. Single speed bikes are also welcome in any cross race, but single speed races are restricted to single speed bikes only. More on bike styles, above.
Do I need to be fast?
No, all skill levels are welcome. Everyone will start in lower and slower groups, but you may advance to more competitive levels if desired. You can race for fun, personal goals, or results.
Will there be a kiddie cross, tracklocross, fixed gear, unicycle, fat bike, or cross country competition, etc. at any race?
Unofficial novelty races are usually held at the end of the day, and are up to the discretion of each individual race organizer. We will note this information on each race info page when we can.
It’s raining! Is practice still on?
The Wisconsin Cyclocross Series does not run regular practices, so this is at the discretion of individual practice organizers. Please reach out to them to find out more. Mud is kind of our thing, but we also want to respect the spaces we use; if you expect a lot of egregious turf damage, or hazardous weather, please cancel.
Do I need to be on a team?
No, team participation is not required; any individuals are welcome.