Why don't more TCC'ers race Cyclocross (CX)?

Azikara

Speeding Up
Feb 2, 2011
49
18
28
Tokyo and Nagoya
#1
I'm curious as to why people in this TCC community don't race CX around Tokyo or other parts of the country. Maybe I'm missing something or haven't done enough research. There appears to be a bunch of uber-competitive roadies on this forum who live and die by how far and high they ride and how many Strava segments they have but there's so much more to cycling competition than that.

Cycling is a humbling sport. There's always someone faster, stronger and technically better than you. CX just amplifies this. I've seen Cat 1 roadies show up and get crushed in entry level CX races. It's a whole new dimension to harnessing your fitness and skills and mental ability.

I'm here to tell you that CX is alive and WELL...no, prospering in Japan! And CX is awesome if you don't already know. It's basically a technical time trial on a road bike (with grip) off and on road, through grass, mud, asphalt, ice, snow and anything else the organizers throw at you. And you're with your friends and the events, courses, CX culture, people who show up rain, snow, shine or other, are first class here in Japan.

CX is a badass sport. End of story. It's not for sissies. You start with an all out sprint for the first corner and then settle in to take the body blows and try to survive. You heart rate goes from resting to threshold in a few seconds and then flat lines the ENITRE race! The Belgians know what they are doing with beer, bikes, fries and chocolate. Trust them. And it's growing here and in the rest of the world. In Chicago, 600 racers show up every weekend for a Cyclocross Cup Series. 15,000 beer swilling, encouragement shouting, frite munching Belgians show up for the pro races every weekend! That's amazing.

And before you think a 60 min race doesn't deserve to be taken seriously, some top CX'ers have shown up in road races and dominated. Think of Stybar and what he has managed to achieve on the road in the biggest one day classics against the best road racers.

CX is a compact event (races are 30-60 mins) but favors riders with high threshold power, superb bike handling skills (not me) and ability to produce very high anaerobic and neuromuscular power and keep repeating it for the entire race. Basically, it's like hitting yourself in the head with a hammer and feeling terrific afterwards because the endorphins and camaraderie are like nothing else in cycling. Everyone who shows up understands the culture and what all the racers are going through while pulling on their masks of pain. People get involved. They shout support (and sometimes heckle), ring cow-bells, give cash hand-ups etc. all in the name of racing your face off.

This weekend I went to Makuhari MTB park to the Starlight CX event. It's world class. There are coffee vendors, food vendors, beer sellers and all sorts of sponsors even offering you try outs on their bikes. It's terrific. Except...I'm the only gaijin in Tokyo competing there. This is a serious faux pas for the international cycling community here in Tokyo. Seriously. I'm embarrassed.

If you haven't tried CX, give it a try. You might become addicted. It's FN AWESOME!

Amateur CX:

 

TCC

Tokyo Cycling Club
Jun 30, 2013
2,362
1,291
133
#3
LOL, you might want to use the search function before you conclude that nobody races CX here.
 

theBlob

Bokeh master
Sep 28, 2011
2,864
1,450
129
...
#4
Yeah, what he(Sibreen) said. There are others cyclecrossing, I went to an event once just to have a look, it was a nice atmosphere. I think one of the issues is that organized events are just a bit too much of an effort for not a lot of riding. Strata and hammering it out with your mates is the low effort/ do as you please approach to being competitive.
 
Last edited:

Azikara

Speeding Up
Feb 2, 2011
49
18
28
Tokyo and Nagoya
#5
LOL, you might want to use the search function before you conclude that nobody races CX here.
Roger that. Hence why I said "perhaps I haven't done my research yet". Only going on heuristics: I was the only gaijin in two days of racing 20 miles from Tokyo on what I consider a world class course. Seriously, it was totally dialed in. Something for everyone.

I get the "hammering it out with your mates thing". I do that too. I even race road and crits. It's great. I just love the texture of different disciplines. Each to their own I suppose but CX is something everyone should try once. It's good to spend some time out of one's comfort zone.

@Sibreen, I'll post something here in a day or so. Thanks for the interest.
 

baribari

Maximum Pace
May 28, 2010
485
108
63
Fukushima
#6
I think its safe to assume that a decent percentage of TCC members only intend to be in Japan for a few years, or live in relatively small homes, neither of which is super conducive to owning bikes/gear for every form of cycling.

Although I wouldn't mind having a mountain bike with spiked tires for the winter...
 

jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
2,514
639
133
Kanazawa
#7
It's mostly a vocabulary problem. You need to re-write your post using the word "epic" as many times as you can.

I'm curious as to why people in this TCC community don't race CX around Tokyo or other parts of the country. Maybe I'm missing something or haven't done enough research. There appears to be a bunch of uber-competitive roadies on this forum who live and die by how far and high they ride and how many Strava segments they have but there's so much more to cycling competition than that.

Cycling is a humbling sport. There's always someone faster, stronger and technically better than you. CX just amplifies this. I've seen Cat 1 roadies show up and get crushed in entry level CX races. It's a whole new dimension to harnessing your fitness and skills and mental ability.

I'm here to tell you that CX is alive and WELL...no, prospering in Japan! And CX is awesome if you don't already know. It's basically a technical time trial on a road bike (with grip) off and on road, through grass, mud, asphalt, ice, snow and anything else the organizers throw at you. And you're with your friends and the events, courses, CX culture, people who show up rain, snow, shine or other, are first class here in Japan.

CX is a badass sport. End of story. It's not for sissies. You start with an all out sprint for the first corner and then settle in to take the body blows and try to survive. You heart rate goes from resting to threshold in a few seconds and then flat lines the ENITRE race! The Belgians know what they are doing with beer, bikes, fries and chocolate. Trust them. And it's growing here and in the rest of the world. In Chicago, 600 racers show up every weekend for a Cyclocross Cup Series. 15,000 beer swilling, encouragement shouting, frite munching Belgians show up for the pro races every weekend! That's amazing.

And before you think a 60 min race doesn't deserve to be taken seriously, some top CX'ers have shown up in road races and dominated. Think of Stybar and what he has managed to achieve on the road in the biggest one day classics against the best road racers.

CX is a compact event (races are 30-60 mins) but favors riders with high threshold power, superb bike handling skills (not me) and ability to produce very high anaerobic and neuromuscular power and keep repeating it for the entire race. Basically, it's like hitting yourself in the head with a hammer and feeling terrific afterwards because the endorphins and camaraderie are like nothing else in cycling. Everyone who shows up understands the culture and what all the racers are going through while pulling on their masks of pain. People get involved. They shout support (and sometimes heckle), ring cow-bells, give cash hand-ups etc. all in the name of racing your face off.

This weekend I went to Makuhari MTB park to the Starlight CX event. It's world class. There are coffee vendors, food vendors, beer sellers and all sorts of sponsors even offering you try outs on their bikes. It's terrific. Except...I'm the only gaijin in Tokyo competing there. This is a serious faux pas for the international cycling community here in Tokyo. Seriously. I'm embarrassed.

If you haven't tried CX, give it a try. You might become addicted. It's FN AWESOME!

Amateur CX:

 

Azikara

Speeding Up
Feb 2, 2011
49
18
28
Tokyo and Nagoya
#14
Because if I want to ride off-road, I'll ride my full suspension mountainbike; a far more suitable machine.
Far more suitable for DFL at a CX race for sure. ;)

Horses for courses. But don't throw out the course because the horse hasn't tried it. I'd love a MTB for sure and perhaps one day when I find the space and I'm closer to good terrain I'll get one. These are all just different disciplines of the same sport.
 
Likes: theBlob

bloaker

Maximum Pace
Nov 14, 2011
1,550
1,221
433
Miura, Japan
#15
I ride road and XC Mountain.
In Virginia I also rode CX.

The first few years I played with CX were a blast. It was a bunch of roadies throwing together some old beaters to ride in crap conditions just to keep the legs going in the winter. I usually MTBed in the winter... but somehow got talked into it. So I went out and bought a CX specific bike and had a blast on it. Courses were short and mildly technical and the competition was very good spirited. It improved the bike handling skills of Roadie only types and it helped with bursts of power since you spend the entire time speeding up and slowing down. Now - top if off with obnoxious friends making as much noise as possible and passing out beers and shots during the race. It was a freaking party with an hour of riding in the middle. I usually spent more time during the week packing up my camping gear and filling coolers than I did prepping my bike, because every weekend was an all out event.

A couple years of this and then "racers" decided to take it serious (no offense meant to anyone here, but usually Cat4&5 guys who realized they would never advance in road, so they found a new outlet to be the king of). Suddenly $4000+ rigs were showing up with guys who "trained" to do the thing everyone else was doing to keep their legs from going stale in the winter. Teams started to complain about the fans and beer... and believe it or not, some complained about the cowbells. All in all, they pushed to remove the "party" from CX - so I went back to mountain biking and never looked back.

Maybe I am different from others, but I did it for the good time. Not the competition, not the cheap medal for top placers, etc.... Because to me, that is what CX is supposed to be.

-----
Back home, there is now an "invite only" series.

It is held on private land and sticks to the party first mentality.
I miss that.
 
May 21, 2013
46
26
28
34
#16
This weekend I went to Makuhari MTB park to the Starlight CX event. It's world class. There are coffee vendors, food vendors, beer sellers and all sorts of sponsors even offering you try outs on their bikes. It's terrific. Except...I'm the only gaijin in Tokyo competing there. This is a serious faux pas for the international cycling community here in Tokyo. Seriously. I'm embarrassed.
Not true. Was racing there too last weekend and would call myself gaijin. It was a fun course and nice event.

If anyone wants to try CX just for fun and have a nice weekend in the woods I would recommend this upcoming event:
http://bikelore.jp
 
Likes: Azikara

microcord

Maximum Pace
Aug 28, 2012
914
294
83
Tokyo
#19
The Belgians know what they are doing with beer, bikes, fries and chocolate. Trust them.
I trust them with beer. And I'll have moules with my frites.

. . . . Granted, we all have a preferred style of riding. . . .
A couple of years back, I was "new" or anyway ripvanw(r)inkly to cycling. I was bemused when a website -- perhaps this one? -- asked me about my preferred kind(s) of riding, and one of the options was "downhill". Yes!

Actually downhill gets boring after a time, even for lazy old me. I'd take "with a tailwind", but it wasn't an option.

(Yes, yes, I since figured out what "downhill" was supposed to imply. This video was a help.)

CX is a badass sport. End of story. It's not for sissies.
Alas I'm a (Belgian-beer-drinking) sissy. But all the best to those who aren't.
 

jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
2,514
639
133
Kanazawa
#20
Thank goodness Japan has purity laws, and has not been taken over by all those flavorings they use in the states.

But if they approve TPP, that might be something that changes. (?)