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Want to Try Cyclocross (Or Know a Friend Who Should Try It)? Applications for the Development Program Are Open NOW!

Want to Try Cyclocross (Or Know a Friend Who Should Try It)? Applications for the Development Program Are Open NOW!


What is the Jalapeno Cycling Cyclocross Development Program?

Jalapeno Cycling is a shop committed to growing cyclocross. Last year was the flagship year of our cyclocross development program, where we taught riders the skills and hosted training to set goals and have fun.

If you have never raced a cyclocross race, but want a cycling challenge, this program is PERFECT for you! We are open to accepting riders with a little experience, provided they have not raced more than four races. Why do we set this limitation? First, Kathryn Cumming, New Jersey’s top cyclocross rider, tailor makes the program for beginners to familiarize themselves with the early techniques needed to start having fun. We’re not going to be going over the far more advanced stuff! Second, instead of looking to put our jerseys on the podium, we’re more looking to grow cyclocross in the area!

We have five major goals for the program:

  1. Discover self-motivated people who have either never tried cyclocross, or those who have only raced less than five races.

  2. Prepare the development riders ahead of the season, giving them the tools they will need to both safely navigate cyclocross courses and have the most fun possible.

  3. Have all members of the team compete in six different local races during the season, helping to grow the sport in New Jersey.

  4. Help grow a community of cyclists who cheer on each other’s accomplishments.

  5. Develop a competitive but respectful spirit against other development programs.

What are we looking for?

In return for months of training and coaching, applicants will be required not only to commit to their own season, but those of their fellow devo teammates. Cyclocross is a fun discipline, but it can also be a very tough challenge on the motivation, which is doubled by the days getting darker and colder. We ask that you see your first season fully out, both for yourself and the support of your teammates.

You will be required to have a bike for the season. This can be a dedicated cyclocross bike or a mountain bike. Loaner bikes from your friends for the season are acceptable, provided that it will be 100% guaranteed available to you for all practice and race days.

Practice will be held twice a week before the season begins; a hard indoor training session in the morning during the weekday, and an outdoor skills practice in the morning on Sunday. Both of these sessions, but especially the indoor class, will become increasingly challenging as the season approaches. Riders who miss more than two training sessions may be asked to leave the program at directors' discretion.

If you are interested in the program, be sure to stay apply here!


Come Test Your "Tour of Flanders" Legs at Jalapeno Cycling on April 2nd, Win Great Prizes

Come Test Your "Tour of Flanders" Legs at Jalapeno Cycling on April 2nd, Win Great Prizes

The Tour of Flanders is one of the major classic races, and this year marks its 101st run. In our last newsletter, we said Jalapeno Cycling would be streaming many of the Spring Classics live in our shop, but for the Tour of Flanders, we are taking it a big step further.

Starting at 7:00 AM on April 2nd, and lasting through the race coverage, Jalapeno Cycling will be having a contest for everyone to simulate riding one of the iconic course sections.

The Rules for the Faux Pro Competitors:

1) Claim your free spot to compete on (We are maxing out with 16 total riders for this event, so we are expecting the spots to fill up FAST.

2) Either reserve one of Kate or Andrew's Von Hof bikes by emailing us, or bring your own mountain, road, or cyclocross bike.

3) Show up at least 20 minutes before your slot and ride your heart out.

The Rules for Spectators:

1) Cheer on the Men's and Women's Pros on our TVs.

2) Cheer on the Faux Pros in the back attempting to race on the same grade hills as the pros.

3) Don't throw beer or cobblestones at the riders.

What to Know:

1) Entering the Tour of Flanders challenge is free, but you will need to sign up to do it in order to claim your trainer spot.

2) The competition is over distance. Everyone will be riding the same length of the course. This means that your ride could be anywhere from 20 minutes to 45 minutes depending on your ability.

3) While we are not yet disclosing what section of the course we are using until the week before, you can expect that there will be at least one serious grade. April 2nd is not the day to bring a bike with zero climbing gears.

4) Don't schedule a time that interferes with the Pro Tour's finishes if you want to see the live finish. Currently, the wise UCI predictors say that the Pro Women's Race will finish around 8:50 AM EST and the Pro Men's Race will finish around 10:30 AM EST in the fastest case scenario.


-Both the male and female rider with the best time will get one of Jalapeno Cycling's custom #RideSpicy Pactimo kits (a $160 value per winner!)

-The rider who comes closest to the average finishing time (note: not the median rider, but the average time) will score one of our custom Faux Pro caps made by Rothera Cycling.

Faux Pro (moters') Response to "Cyclocross is Still My Favorite Bourbon"

Faux Pro (moters') Response to "Cyclocross is Still My Favorite Bourbon"

Cyclocross Worlds is upon us this weekend, and we at Jalapeño Cycling can't believe that we'll have to start using the #crossiscoming hashtags already. (In the area and want to watch the World Championships live? Be sure to swing on by our store starting at 7am on Saturday and 8am on Sunday for some coffee and pastries and fauxpro commentary.)

A few weeks ago, Kate Cumming and I wrote a piece called Cyclocross is Still My Favorite Bourbon, mainly in response to reports of the stagnating participation numbers for the sport of cyclocross, and possible solutions. We were overwhelmed and gracious about the number of readers and replies. One of our favorites came way this morning from a couple of self-described "fauxpromoters," who responded to our thoughts with a full article. They promoted their first race this year, and their cyclocross vibe gets our serious thumbs up of approval (we'll overlook the pinwheel for the first year). They offered a few more thoughts that some of the salty faux pros here at Jalapeño Cycling overlooked, as well as made a few points that ran counter to ours. We appreciate the ideas and keeping us honest. Be sure to check them out with their links at the bottom of their response.

By Gordon Jones and Colston Jones (title photo courtesy of Marci Fulton)

DISCLAIMER: The authors are not experts (on cyclocross or anything else). In fact, neither of us had ridden in or even attended a 'cross race before last year, but we put together a team of fauxpromoters and hosted the Rustbucket Races in our hometown of Norfolk, Virginia on December 17 of last year. 89 people came out to ride; we are grateful to all of them and can’t wait to do it again next year.

Here is our reply to “Cyclocross is Still My Favorite Bourbon” by Andrew Reimann.

1) Cast a Wide Net

Gordon: We sold 35 one-day USAC licenses for the Rustbucket Races. Since this was our first time promoting a race, we didn't know what that meant, but our lead official informed us that it was a big number, especially for a first-time event.

Our race had a broad reach in part because we are outsiders to the sport ourselves, so many of our contacts in the local bike community are commuters and people who ride for fun. Getting a few riders who typically wouldn't race or weren't familiar with cyclocross to sign up for the race really helped spread the word locally. Getting involved in your local bike community and going on new or different group rides can really pay dividends. 

Colston: At the same time, it’s important not to be a stranger to the existing cyclocross community. We volunteered to help with set-up at the local races, and were rewarded with great support from a strong local club, Rogue Velo Racing (four-time Virginia state champions, by the way). As a practical matter, it would be difficult to start a race without some established support, because the cost of stakes for the course could be prohibitive otherwise.

To your point on attracting people who are new to CX, it was important to me to offer true beginner categories, so our Novice races were only open to Cat 5 men and Cat 4 women. (In theory, if you have raced more than one season, you have "experienced out" of your initial USAC category with a mandatory upgrade.) Setting up the Novice categories this way may have put off a few experienced racers, as we didn't offer a Men's 4/5 race. In the future, we may offer that in addition to the Novice category, but the beginner-exclusive races will likely be a fixture. 

2) Promote Cyclocross as Inclusive

Colston: After race day, one of the folks who rode in the Rustbucket reviewed the race on Facebook. He wrote that our race showed that cyclocross is an "extremely inclusive" bicycle discipline. He nailed one of the great things about 'cross: inclusivity.

Andrew touched on inclusivity when he argued that 'cross should be promoted as an affordable sport. No one should feel like they can't try a CX race because they don't want to shell out for high-end gear, and that's a great thing to emphasize.

Inclusivity goes beyond cost, though - 'cross is for different types of bikes: not only CX bikes, but mountain bikes, vintage road bikes, singlespeed bikes, even fixed gear bikes. 'Cross is for people of all ages and all levels of fitness and bike-racing (and promoting) experience. We were really welcomed warmly into the awesome community of cyclocross, even though we didn’t know a run-up from a hand-up. 

Another piece that experienced CX racers who want to promote the sport might be overlooking is that the pro racing kit may scare people off. By having different categories on the course at different times, it seems like most races can accommodate both people who want to ride in (regular) shorts and a t-shirt and people who want to ride in a skinsuit. People who own a bike but not spandex make up a big group of potential cyclocross participants. It wouldn't hurt to aim some promotion at them.

3) Find a Way to Stand Out

Gordon: We found a unique site for the Rustbucket Races: a site owned by the Norfolk Public Works department that has been used for unloading trucks, impounding cars, and storing parade floats and hurricane debris. We'd like to take credit for hand-picking the site, but we didn't know it existed until our contacts with the city brought it to our attention. 

Because we wanted to keep the race in Norfolk, options were limited after the city parks, our first choices, were ruled out due to access and use concerns. It worked out in our favor, however. I think it's safe to say that not many ‘cross races are held in industrial areas in the middle of cities. Tying our name to the site gave us some immediate visibility (thanks, Sean Freeman!). 

Second, we were not part of a series. This gave us more control over the categories we could offer, like the World Heavyweight Championship of Cycling, and allowed us to have some fun with kit contests and the like. It made the race seem less intimidating, at least to me, a first-time bike racer.

Also, by not being part of a series, we stumbled onto a date that was open for lots of possible riders. December 17 was an open date for our local series, the Virginia Cyclocross Series (VACX), but also the MABRA and North Carolina Cyclo-Cross series. If you're an aspiring promoter, don't think you have to be part of series right off the bat to be successful.

Please visit our website,, or find us on Facebook and Instagram @rustbucketraces. Thanks for your support!