Often called the steeplechase of cycling, cyclocross requires a blend of road and mountain bike skills, with running sprinkled throughout. Think of it as an obstacle course, traveled most quickly on two wheels, taking roughly the amount of time as a 10K running race. Its end-of-year race season can be traced back to its origins; cyclocross developed as a way for road racers to keep things interesting over the winter, often traversing across rain-soaked fields, over fallen trees and through swollen creeks.
How to Prepare: Watch a race. Not only are ’cross races the most spectator-friendly of any bike race, but by watching a race, you’ll have an idea just what you’re in for. If there isn’t a local race that fits into your schedule, watch a few clips on YouTube to get an idea.