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Moser, Gandy train extensively for cyclocross championship

Racers peddle from the starting line Saturday morning at Duncan Park during the Delta State Grand Prix cyclocrossing championship. (Submitted photo)
Racers peddle from the starting line Saturday morning at Duncan Park during the Delta State Grand Prix cyclocrossing championship. (Submitted photo)

NATCHEZ — Cyclocross can be fun, yet challenging at the same time, but that is why Christine Moser signed up to participate in the sport.

“I think one of the things that was really cool about it is it’s a gateway to competitive cycling,” she said. “You compete hard, but it’s a play atmosphere. That’s the most important thing is that you’re having fun.”

Moser, a native of Switzerland, competed in the Delta State Grand Prix Championship at Duncan Park Golf Course. She is currently in third place in the overall standings for Women’s P/1/2/3/4.

“It brings out my inner 12-year-old, and I get to play and go out and get muddy and dirty,” she said.

Cyclocross is a bicycle race that consists of many laps in a short course featuring pavement, wooded trails, grass, steep hills and obstacles. Riders are required to quickly dismount and carry the bike while navigating any obstruction before remounting.

Moser started cyclocross racing last year before reaching the championship. She said her style of training for the race was distinct.

“I started riding in City Park (in New Orleans) to practice, and you have to deal with mud and tree roots and all of these different obstacles,” Moser said. “I started doing regular interval training to work on cardio.”

Despite all of her physical training for the big day, Moser said her biggest obstacle was herself.

“A lot of it’s mental, because the women’s race generally has a lot less people in it, so we get really spread out over the course,” she explained. “You don’t necessarily have someone around you to keep up with, so a lot of it is a mental game of keeping yourself motivated and the willingness to suffer through the pain to keep pedaling.”

Matt Gandy knows about pedaling through the pain. Gandy, a native of Jackson, who has been cyclocross racing for a year, said he puts a lot of emphasis on his stamina when preparing for a race.

“I train on the road to get my endurance up, and from there, I go on a mountain bike trial to get my handling down, because its good to have handle,” he said. “I would practice mounting and dismounting the bike.”

Gandy said he has learned a lot in his time on the course, and the experience has helped him prepare for the championship, where he placed third in SSCX and Category 4. He is currently in first place overall in SSCX and second place in Category 4.

“I have been racing for a year and this race was my ninth race,” Gandy said. “I have learned so much, because you get so much experience. I learned to always look for getting into danger with someone else and not take it too seriously, because everybody has a good time.”

One of Gandy’s favorite parts about the races is the supporters.

“The crowd and everything is so fun,” he said. “They’re giving you food and dollar bills and just having fun. Everybody has a good attitude.”