Interbike 2013: Six Cyclocross Race Day Essentials

Apparel Cross Gear Interbike Shoes

If you’ve made it this far, we are assuming you understand the basics of outfitting yourself for cyclocross season. You need a ’cross bike, a skinsuit, some warm gloves, a helmet, and most important of all, a willingness to suffer like a malnourished stray dog in a third world country for 45 minutes at a time. Now it’s time to take things to the next level, which means complementing that basic gear with this six-pack of items that will keep Jack Frost at bay, propel you to the front of the field, and keep you looking cool at the after party.

Gore Power 2.0 SO Jacket ($190)

Before the race comes the warm-up, a time when you scout the course and get your body’s engine revved up and ready. Think of Gore’s Power 2.0 SO Jacket as your pre-race track suit for the proverbial lay-up line. Its WindStopper soft shell fabric will keep you warm, dry and comfortable, while the slim fitting, stretchy outer shell will allow you to take a few practice laps at full speed. There’s also ample rear pocket space to carry a water bottle. More info at

Rapha Insulated Winter Jersey ($240)

Unless you opted for an insulated skinsuit, odds are there will be days when you need an extra layer to stay warm. Enter the Rapha Winter Jersey, which is designed for cold to freezing conditions. Made from heavy weight, merino fabric, this great looking top has temperature regulating zip vents at the arms, and a cushy mesh back panel to further enhanced moisture transfer. It’s also a great choice for training rides, with its large rear pocket and reflective armband to help keep you visible on cold, gray winter mornings. (Six sizes; new colors — including the pictured blue sapphire — available starting in November.) More info at

Challenge Grifo and Fango Tires ($115 per tire)

Outside of calling Dr. Ferrari and ordering some “orange juice” mounting tubular tires on your cross bike is the best available performance enhancement. Because the inner tube floats freely inside tubulars, you can run lower pressure without the fear of pinch flats that plague traditional clincher set-ups. Lower pressure means better traction, lower rolling resistance, and faster speed. Italy-based Challenge makes two of our favorite ’cross-specific tubulars, the Grifo and Fango. Both are hand-glued, and pre-stretched for lower rolling resistance. And though they’re reasonably light (about 420 grams), Challenge’s puncture protection system provides assurance that you’ll roll — not walk — across the finish line. Opt for the Grifos when conditions are dry and fast, but swap on the Fangos when it’s wet and muddy. More info at

Lake MX331 Cyclocross Shoe ($379)

We saw the prototype of Lake’s cyclocross specific shoe in the spring. Now the final version of the MX331 is here. In a nutshell it’s a road shoe with modular mountain bike shoe cleats. This kangaroo leather bog hopper has eight spike screw-in holes — four up front, two in the mid-sole and two more at the heel. Depending on course conditions and personal preference, you can choose anything from full-on baseball-style cleats, to traditional cycling spikes, to more standard rubber sole screw-ins. Other features include a 100-percent carbon fiber sole that’s heat moldable for a customized fit, and a BOA push-pull lacing system.

POC DID Sunglasses ($160)

You have to wear something to protect your eyes, so why not have a little fun with it. The DID from Sweden’s POC utilize lenses made from a material called NXT, which was first developed for fighter jet canopies. Let’s hope you don’t need that much protection, but better safe than to have a course stake in your eye. More info

Panache Move Button-Up Shirt ($115)

The race is over, now it’s time for a few beers. Don’t be the guy who spends all day in his dirty kit. Instead throw on the sharp-looking Panache Move Button-Up shirt. It’s constructed from poly-blend wicking fabric and has a rear pocket to stash your cell phone or keys. That means you can party in it, then ride home (carefully, please). Available now in plaid, with black and sky blue coming March 1. Pricing will also be reduced to $99 starting next year. More info

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)
About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Tour de France, the Olympic Games, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner, who joined the / staff in 2013, has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying time with his wife Lisa and daughter Cora.

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