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Was wondering if anyone had thoughts on this?  In road bike races, if you go down you slam into a rock hard road.  In cyclocross the same scenario could be a mud pit.  Although you need to master skills such as dismounting, hopping barriers, and jumping back on.

 

Any thoughts on how dangerous cyclocross racing is, and some tips to ensure a safe, enjoyable race?

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Aside from a nasty crash a few weeks ago someone had (think she hit a root, it was kind of a freak thing) I think it's safer than road races because you typically just don't have the speed that you would have on the road. Also, no road rash. I've crashed or gone down many times but nothing that left me injured at all. And secretly it's kind of fun to fall in mud sometimes :-)

Tips...just have fun. I've you're worried, not push it and just enjoy it.
Every sport is dangerous.

While CX could be considered a little less dangerous, you can still crash into a tree, you can crash on a pavement section, fall on the flyover, etc, etc.

If you let the fear of crashing consume you, you will do very poorly.
You have to crash now and then, it's just going to happen. Tips to ensure safe and enjoyable? For me, fast is enjoyable, so fast and safe are kind of at odds with each other. I'll happily take a bump and bruise every now and then if it means I can go fast the rest of the time.
In my experience 'cross is way way safer. I base that on the number of serious injuries that have happened at races both 'cross and road. The speeds are lower in 'cross and there's less to hit when you do crash.

Hit up some 'cross clinics/practices and learn the skill set you need for cross.

Driving to the race is way more dangerous than road or 'cross.
The advice on cross clinics/ practice is good. I'm part of a road bike racing team, so I understand that crashes are a part of the sport. But I do feel that 'cross tends to glamorize the crashing aspect... A good deal of the videos on youtube seem to be, 'watch me stand at a challenging part of the course and capture riders falling off their bikes one after another.' It does add drama to the sport, but is that an over-emphasis? especially since 'cross is becoming more mainstream..
One of the main challenges of cross is the risk/reward of attempting to ride a challenging section of the course very fast, perhaps faster than you are comfortable, or being conservative and minimizing the risk of crashing. These are the interesting segments of the course for both racers and spectators. So yes, crashes happen, but these areas are also where we see really excellent bike driving as well.
Quite true.. I didn't think about it from that perspective. And it is always amazing to see Tim Johnson speed through a technical section or a deep pit of mud and think, wow, how'd he do that! Alright, I'm a bit of a Tim Johnson fan, you caught me;)
This is nothing compared to all the crash porn we're subjected to in pro road race coverage. How many times do we gotta watch montages of Joseba Beloki fracturing his spine/pelvis and Jens Voigt faceplanting dring an Alpine descent?...And what will non-cycling geeks do when the NFL bans head-shots?
Cyclocross is far and away the safest cycling discipline. Speeds are slower and surfaces are softer, in general, than in Road, Crit, TT, Cross Country, Downhill, BMX, Dual Slalom, etc... I've taken a lot of spills on the cross course and they've all been relatively benign. I wish I could say the same for my dirt jumping and mountain bike falls.

I'd like to address Mike's point about glamorization of crashes in Cyclocross. NASCAR is the biggest "sport" in our country and I don't think it's only because people like to watch cars go in circles. At the USGP last week, one of the best spectator spots was in the first sandpit, it was total carnage. My friend positioned himself perfectly for my most spectacular of endoes in the sandpit. I came in hot on the second lap, plowed into another rider when he thrust his bike in front of me and basically exploded. Not only was it hilarious (even to me, though I got banged up) but it gave the spectators an opportunity to holler and heckle. The spectators positioned themselves where the "action" was (the run-ups, the steep downhills, the sketchy corners, the barriers, the sandpits), there was no one in the long open grass sections.

I love to watch people fall and in cyclocross they're unlikely to sustain any permanent damage. I'd like to see tougher more technical courses, in part because we'll see more people coming off their bikes. Furthermore, I made a lot of places last weekend passing people as they were coming off, sliding out or falling. It's an essential part of the sport and glamorizing the falling, like glamorizing the mud may not bring certain types of people to the sport, but it will attract others (the right types) and make it a lot more fun to watch.

What's success without the possibility of failure?

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