The CrossFit Games is an annual athletics event in which high-level CrossFit athletes compete in workouts they learn about days, hours, or minutes beforehand. In 2017 one of these events was cyclocross. In 2018 there was a crit. 2019 saw a brief pause in the inclusion of cycling in the CrossFit Games, but in 2020 the sport has returned to the event, with something they called the ‘Bike Repeater’.
The athletes raced across a field on hybrid bikes. At the end of the field they got off their bikes and had to climb to the top of a rope, jump down, get back on their bikes and race to the other end of the field, turning around at the end. One of the major reoccurring themes in the CrossFit Games cycling events is figuring out gearing. It’s interesting watching these athletes get better at cycling in real-time as they inefficiently sprint across the field.
2018: CrossFit crits and crashes
Criteriums are dangerous for the most well-trained and experienced cyclists. Local cycling clubs around the world host ‘learn to race’ clinics to prepare cyclists for their first season of racing. Throwing a group of inexperienced yet overpowered cyclists into a high stress racing crit situation is anxiety inducing as a concept, though it’s oddly hard to look away from the 2018 CrossFit Games criterium. As one would expect there are crashes, though, to their credit, the sheer athleticism of the racers is still impressive when you consider that this is a completely new sport to everyone in the peloton.
Probably the most entertaining CrossFit Games cycling event was the at the 2017 edition, where participants were put on mountain bikes and told to ride around a slippery grass ‘cyclocross’ course. The riders took on logs, sand and barriers on their 28lb bikes, once again learning the magic of gearing in real-time. With their overall strength it’s interesting to see many of the CrossFit athletes dismount and run through the sand in surprisingly efficient ways.