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Many consider cyclo-cross to be a steeplechase with modified road bikes on a 2.5km to 3.5km course over hill and dale, others consider it muddy hell.  Its roots can be traced to the early 1900s, when French army private Daniel Gousseau would ride his bicycle

alongside horseback-riding friends through the woods.  But it's also an immensely popular winter race discipline, guaranteed to get you fitter (and muddier) with an exceptional atmosphere to boot.

The cyclo-cross scene is strong in Europe, with some of the most aggressive and successful racers hailing from Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Italy and the Czech Republic.  But it's currently enjoying a massive boom in the US and Australia, along with a renaissance in the UK.  Traditionally, the cyclo-cross season runs from September to January, ending with the UCI World Championships.

www.britishcycling.org.uk/getintocyclo-cross