Cyclocross races--riding and running (while carrying your bike) over hills and hurdles, often through rain, snow or mud--are as tough on gear as they are on athletes. Here's what reigning U.S. champ Jonathan Page will bring when he takes his 'cross talents across the pond to Europe, the birthplace of the sport, for the fall-winter season.
Cervélo R2.5 Cyclocross ($2,399) cervelo.com
Cervélo is building its first cyclocross bike for me. The road version of this carbon-fiber bike has one of the lightest, yet strongest frames on the market. The 'cross bike will have a slightly more relaxed geometry and the wheelbase will be a little longer, to help me get over bumps. And the seat stays and chain stays will be wider to prevent mud and debris from collecting between the frame and the wheels.
Mavic Ksyrium ($850) mavic.com
These wheels are lightweight (less than 1,500 grams for both), durable and stay true. The free wheel (the ratcheting hub on the rear wheel that holds the gear cassette) is especially problem-free. It can get clogged up very easily, which is why you need great wheels--and a great mechanic (who services the rider's bikes mid-race).
Michelin Cyclocross Mud2 ($44) michelin.com
Different races require different types of tires, depending on the terrain and the conditions. You can vary the tire pressure, widths and tread patterns. You use anything you can to get the most power, the most traction, to be the quickest around the course. Overall, though, my favorite rubber is the Mud2, a knobby tire that sheds mud really well.
AdiStar XC Race ($209) adidas.com
These shoes are brand-new for me, and I'm very happy with them. They have a carbon-fiber sole, which is great for power transfer on the bike, but they're not too stiff. I can run in them without having my heel popping out, which is great for getting over the barriers. Plus, they're made of a mesh-synthetic leather combo, so my feet stay cool.
Giro Atmos ($189) giro.com
In cyclocross, crashes happen. The Atmos (which combines carbon-reinforced ribs with Giro's Roll Cage technology) is very light, very breathable and has all kinds of vents (26, to be exact). It's supercomfortable, with a RocLoc 4 fit system that makes it perfectly snug.
Pedro's Ice Wax ($5.99, four-ounce bottle) pedrosusa.com
To be honest, I'll take anything I can get that keeps my rig running smooth. Ice Wax seems to work well in all conditions, early fall right through the winter. It doesn't collect a lot of dirt, and you can clean the chain easily. So after a race I'll take the pressure washer to the bike, clean it off, put some lube back on, and I'm good to go.