CX for Beginners
Cyclocross racing for beginners is a 30 minute, high-intensity bicycle race over mixed terrain (like a park or farmland) with some obstacles (like mud, sand pits or barriers).
This style of racing is one of the most welcoming for beginners because it's not as intimidating as others. It doesn't require finely-honed starting fitness, so the field spreads out quickly; you aren't racing shoulder-to-shoulder and because it's mostly on grass, speeds are generally slower. And achieving personal goals are just as exciting as podium placing.
You don't need a special bike when starting out. While there are cyclocross-specific bikes, at the beginner levels you are welcome to bring whatever bike you own (but you must remove any bar-ends).
The same goes for clothes. Wear whatever you already have that's most comfortable. If you become cross obsessed, there are technical fabrics that may make life a little better, but when you're starting out, don't fuss too much. Just make sure it's something you don't mind getting a little muddy.
The WCA CX Series is a safe and inclusive space for all. Participants have an equal opportunity to participate in bicycle racing without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, or national origin.
When you sign up, you'll want to choose the category that's right for you. Categories can be subdivided by skill, gender, and age, but generally speaking, you'll just want to make sure you're in a Cat 5 race.
The cost of a race can unfortunately get a little tricky, thanks to a mix of fees, but if you pre-register by the Wednesday before your race you can get the best price (but for youth it's the opposite)
If you want to race twice in a day, the second race only costs a flat $10. Any other races after that you can race for free. Race costs go towards officials, insurance, park rentals, organization and the like.
The day of the race
Show up 1-2 hours before you race to make sure you have time to get organized. Find registration, check in, sign the waiver, get your number and make sure you pin it on the correct side of your shirt/jacket/jersey.*
*This depends on where officials are seated on the race course, so ask to be sure.
Find the starting line. If you show up early, depending on timing, you may be able to pre-ride and familiarize yourself with the course in between races.
Show up 10 minutes before the start of your race. Race officials will slot you in to your starting position. Commence racing on the whistle!
Beginner races are a half an hour, so you'll likely put in 3-4 lap depending on the size of the course. You won't know for sure until you finish your first lap, where there will be a sign indicating the number of laps you have left. When you have 1 lap to go, the officials will ring a bell, and the next time you cross the finish line you're done.*
*The officials will try to keep the race as close to 30 minutes as possible. If you get lapped by the lead rider, you may be pulled early by officials (and thus may not get a bell lap).
Race results will be posted near registration about 15 minutes after you finish. If you made it onto the podium, congrats! You may want to consider joining the season-long points race. The podium ceremony, with photo ops and prizes, happens 30 minutes after each race completes.