What Makes a Good Cyclocross Course

Photo Credit: 303Cycling - Brandon Dwight 2009

What makes a good cyclocross course? The answer to this question is very subjective. Everyone has their own idea of what makes a good course and it is usually highly correlated to the individuals riding style and strengths. Some people like alot of grass (i.e. Interlocken) that you have to power through. Other people like longer sections of pavement or packed dirt. I personally like more running sections. I am not the greatest runner but I suck less than most cyclists.

Here in Colorado alot of the courses are very similar. Riding on real grass is unusual. Most courses are similar to GMSV - Lookout cyclocross course with lots of dirt double track, bumpy in spots and a tiny bit of grass if any.

I dont know all the details of the UCI specifications of a cyclocross course but here are some of the elements :

Elements of a cyclocross course

  • Grass
  • Sand
  • Barriers
  • Pavement
  • Off Camber Sections
  • 180 Degree Turns
  • Run-Ups

What type of elements do you like in a cyclocross course? What is your favorite Colorado Cyclocross venue / course?

News Item: 


I like courses that don't

I like courses that don't favor roadies over mountain bikers, mtb over roadies and reward CX specific racers. I like variability with run-ups, technical sections, sand, single track and grass. Most of all the course has flow well and keep races together. You should have to think a little bit and be strategic. Too much of anything favors one type of rider and doesn't require much thinking. For my money, the Parker course probably hits on every aspect of what makes a good course. With all that's there you could have a World Cup race.

Not in order, my favorite courses over the past 5 years:
Aspenlodge (2011)
Blue Sky (Xlinx) (2009)
Breckenridge (2009)
Parker (2012)
Castle Rock (2012)
Boulder Res CycloX (2011)

+1 on Parker & a few others

Parker with the sandy creek bed, crazy twisties through mostly natural features (or stuff that has been there for years), mini forest and who could forget this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGXHQeIzw1w

Valmont is a no-brainer although a natural run up would make it even better
Xilinx is pretty good when it's not a dust bowl
Buena Vista in 2012 was AWESOME, RIP :-(
Interlocken slip-n-slide