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Cyclocross: The Whole Grain Gauntlet

by Matt Cox in Cycling, Featured Articles, Golden Spurtle

Starting mid-September, Bob’s Red Mill will be taking its “No Grain, No Gain” challenge to thousands of racers and fans of cyclocross all across the United States. With over 40 cycling events in our calendar this year, we’re bound to have a blast while we stuff ourselves into skin-tight lycra, race our hearts out and (after we catch our breath) cook and share something like 15,000 steaming hot bowls of our World Porridge Making Championship Steel Cut Oats.

What in the World is “Cyclocross”?
Cyclocross bike races are usually held on closed courses with the majority of the course covering grass, trails or obstacles. A typical course includes several man-made or natural obstacles that require a rider to dismount the bike and climb stairs, carry the bike over barriers, or run with the bike through otherwise impossible terrain. These events take place between September and January, so it’s typical wet, muddy and cold. Races are generally timed and last between 45 to 60 minutes on a closed circuit of 1.5 to 2 miles.

Cyclocross is considered one of the most demanding types of bike racing because it requires speed, agility, mounting and dismounting techniques, physical power, and running while carrying a bike.  For spectators, cyclocross racing offers a festive, exciting, high-energy event because each race consists of many laps, so they get to see the riders pass by very frequently.

One of the neatest things about cyclocross is how inclusive the sport is. Most series have categories that range from beginner to elite so even people who don’t train per se can get in on the competitive thrill. Even better is the fact that it’s a timed event; when it’s over it’s more or less over for everyone on the course, so no one watching the finish line can tell the slow-pokes from the sandbaggers. Check out this clip that captures the leitmotif of the sport.

The Perfect Fuel
Whether you’re an elite or newbie racer, to run your body for a full hour of 100% effort, you’re going to need carbs. Carbs fill the glycogen stores your muscles use when you’re really putting the hammer down. But choosing the right kind of carbs can make all the difference in performance. That’s where our Steel Cut Oats come in. When Steel Cut Oats are digested, the starchy carbohydrates are released slowly and more evenly. That keeps your energy flowing and your hunger in check. What’s more, research shows that people who eat high fiber carbs burn more fat than those who practice that old habit of “carbo-loading” on refined grains. If that doesn’t grab you, well, there’s always the fact that they’re incredibly comforting and delicious.

Sharing is Caring
That’s darn compelling, isn’t it? Well that’s why we’re taking our mission of porridge proliferation on the road. We’re going to demonstrate the indefatigable benefits of Steel Cut Oats and our other fantastic whole grain products. We’ll be sponsoring, racing and serving at all the major cx series, including the U.S. Cyclocross Nationals, U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross, North American Cyclocross Trophy, Ohio Valley Cyclocross, Cycle-Smart International (Northampton, Ma), Seattle Cyclocross, and our beloved Cross Crusade here in Portland.

Grain Warriors
To show the power of Steel Cut Oats in action, we’ve teamed up with some of the fastest whole grain evangelists in the country. With 20 red and yellow clad Team Bob’s Red Mill racers in Portland, Oregon; Louiville, Kentucky; Madison, Wisconsin; and New England, you’re bound to see whole grain heroes armed with our centuries old training secret at just about any cross race you attend.

About The Author
Matt Cox Google: Matt Cox
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