Cyclocross: Training and Technique, by Simon Burney

25 Feb
Cyclocross: Training and Technique

Cyclocross: Training and Technique

When I hear the word cyclocross my mind immediately conjures up a picture of a cyclist, covered with mud from head to toe, throwing their bike up on their shoulder climbing a hill that mountain goats wouldn’t attempt. Cyclocross races usually take place in the fall and winter over a course that includes pavement, off-road trails, hills, man-made obstacles and mud. Cyclocross has been around for over 100 years an is usually associated with countries like Belgium, the Netherlands and France, but is growing in popularity here in the states. The folks at VeloPress recently sent me a copy of Cyclocross: Training and Technique (third edition), by Simon Burney, and if you are even slightly interested in cyclocross you need to get a copy of this book. In fact, even if you have no desire to participate in a cyclocross race you might find this book useful—especially if you enjoy riding year-round in inclement weather.

Cyclocross: Training and Technique starts by giving a brief history of cyclocross races, and then explains the equipment necessary to compete. Cyclocross bikes look a lot like regular road bikes, but allow for fatter tires so they can have better grip on the ground and greater clearance on the forks so mud won’t build up as quickly. The book also covers the basics of training, along with a section on the techniques and tactics of cyclocross racing. Near the end of the book there is a chapter on how to stay healthy—avoiding viruses, proper treatment of injuries, nutrition, hydration and recovery.

I mentioned earlier that you don’t have to be a racer to benefit from this book. The chapter on Techniques and Tactics will benefit anyone who rides in bad conditions—mud, sand, snow, rain, ice and over rocks and roots. I ride all year long and in all weather conditions, but every once in a while something will surprise me. A few weeks ago I was riding in the snow on an off-road trail and had to dismount because a busy beaver had cut down two trees and they fell directly over my trail! The trees were too big to bunny-hop over, so I had to pick up my bike by the down tube and climb over them—something any cyclocross racer wouldn’t have given a second thought about doing.

trees cut down by angry beaver

A couple of trees cut down by a beaver!

Cyclocross: Training and Technique, by Simon Burney, is published by VeloPress and retails for $19, but you can find it on for around $12. This paperback book is well illustrated with photographs throughout and has 230 pages.


Posted by on February 25, 2013 in Book Reviews


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15 responses to “Cyclocross: Training and Technique, by Simon Burney

  1. Lisa

    February 25, 2013 at 9:47 PM

    Cyclocross is growing here in my neck of the woods. What a great spectator sport as well. I’m in awe of those who do it well. It’s like watching an intricate dance.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      February 25, 2013 at 9:50 PM

      It s fascinating to watch! I love the Tour de France, but just about any cyclocross race will keep my attention a lot longer.

  2. goanddoit

    February 25, 2013 at 10:08 PM

    There’s an annual cyclocross race in Verona Wisconsin, in my neck of the woods. It’s great to see cycling on the front of the sports page every so often. John,

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      February 26, 2013 at 10:20 AM

      I live just south of the Wisconsin border (otherwise known as “The Cheddar Curtain”). Wisconsin is a great state for cyclists!

      • goanddoit

        February 26, 2013 at 10:27 AM

        Have you ever done the glacier or military ridge trails? They’re not all paved, but are great with some 32mm lightly treated tires. No cars allowed, at all through rural Wisconsin are ingredients in a recipe for some great cycling!

        • All Seasons Cyclist

          February 26, 2013 at 10:31 AM

          I’ve not done either one of those trails (yet). My house is only 2 or 3 miles south of the border (near Kenosha, WI). Once I cross over into Kenosha county there are miles and miles of country roads with little or no traffic.

        • goanddoit

          February 26, 2013 at 10:38 AM

          Country roads are beautiful everywhere, even in Illinois. Once the ice clears up and it gets a little (or a lot) warmer, you should give the trails a shot.

  3. deepsspace

    February 26, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    I remember a while back I went to an indoor bike park and I saw some guy trying to go over a log with a road bike. He didn’t make it and was visibly upset (he kicked the log and swore)

    I thought he was crazy until my friend told me he was probably into Cycle Cross. That was the first time I ever heard of the sport. “They go over everything with a road bike!” That how my friend described the sport to me

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      February 26, 2013 at 5:33 PM

      That is a pretty good description of the sport — and it is fun to watch as well.

  4. goanddoit

    February 28, 2013 at 8:18 AM

    Reblogged this on GoandDoit and commented:
    If you want to have some fun, race, and meet great people; consider cyclocross. It’s like mountain biking but better.


    March 3, 2013 at 10:30 PM

    Wow – busy beavers ;)

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      March 4, 2013 at 1:21 AM

      I was able to get a lot of photos of the damage they did to other trees as well — “busy” doesn’t even begin to describe them!

  6. kurtbredeson

    March 7, 2013 at 10:48 AM

    I did one race in 2011 and got hooked on cyclocross. This winter, I rode up to crosswalks and instead of riding through, I jumped off and ran, practicing my dismount/remounts for ‘cross. Not only was it the right way to cross the street, it was fun, so win-win! If I come across a log in the woods, I would definitely use my new cyclocross skills to hurdle it. Thanks for the review; now on my Birthday list :)

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      March 7, 2013 at 11:34 AM

      Riding in crud is pretty addictive! I don’t know how some people can sit inside all winter waiting for “nice weather” so they can ride their bike!


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