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  1. #1
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    Guys w/ Crit and CX racing experience....

    Which do you feel is harder?

    I did about 5 CX races last year. All races, I finished, not DFL, but in the bottom 20%. I enjoyed and am trying to improve for next cross season. Thinking of racing some crits this season (as a cat5 newbie). Just wondering how you feel they compare to each other as far as effort, which is easier, etc.

  2. #2
    Carpe Diem bdcheung's Avatar
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    'cross. It's pretty much a 100% effort from the gun, whereas the crits i've done allow for a lot more rest and recovery in the pack.

    I never finished outside the top 20 in a 'cross race this past winter, and my best finish in a crit was 4th last season.
    "When you are chewing the bars at the business end of a 90 mile road race you really dont care what gear you have hanging from your bike so long as it works."
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    i dont think they compare very well. but i think cross is much harder.

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    Wheelsuck Fat Boy's Avatar
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    They're completely different. CX races are more of a time-trial effort. Crits are often a series of accelerations and recoveries. If I had to chose, I'd say on average crits are a little easier because I often do more than 1 crit in a day, but 1 CX race per day is enough for me. Having said that, I've raced crits that are every bit as tough as a CX race, so there's no answer that covers everything.

  5. #5
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    I'd say they are completely different and which one is easier would depend on your relative strengths. I did 2 cross races about a year ago and finished 16th and 14th, better than most of my crit finishes. There is no pack really in a cross race, it's all up your own bike handling skills and anaerobic capacity. I probably would have done a lot better in the cross races if I didn't suck so much at the whole getting on and off the bike thing. In a crit you either attack and get in a break or you sit in (or have failed attacks) and sprint, and how "easy" it feels will mostly depend on how good you at cornering and/or conserving energy.

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    Carpe Diem bdcheung's Avatar
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    I agree with what everyone else said with regards to responses not queried by the OP.
    "When you are chewing the bars at the business end of a 90 mile road race you really dont care what gear you have hanging from your bike so long as it works."
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    gmt Grumpy McTrumpy's Avatar
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    Most races around here (including crits) have hills in them, so simply sitting in is not really easy. Hence, I have found that CX races and crits have a similar amount of RPE for me.

  8. #8
    cycle-dog spot DinoShepherd's Avatar
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    C-X is much harder. Or at least I put out way more effort at a C-X race.

    I crit is a game of conserving energy until the final sprint. A C-X race is pain at the redline from the gun.

    -Z

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdcheung View Post
    'cross. It's pretty much a 100% effort from the gun...
    Quote Originally Posted by MDcatV View Post
    ... i think cross is much harder.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fat Boy View Post
    They're completely different. ... crits are a little easier ...
    Quote Originally Posted by umd View Post
    I'd say they are completely different ... There is no pack really in a cross race, it's all up your ... anaerobic capacity...
    Quote Originally Posted by DinoShepherd View Post
    C-X is much harder. Or at least I put out way more effort at a C-X race.

    ... redline from the gun.

    -Z
    yep.
    Quote Originally Posted by CastIron View Post
    Damn.

  10. #10
    Senior Member ldesfor1@ithaca's Avatar
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    It depends on how deeply you like to hurt yourself.

    In a crit, unless you get dropped or you are strong enough to be on/off the front of the pack; the rest of the racers sort of determine the speed. Hang on at all costs. This can hurt.


    In CX, you set your own pace... kinda. If you want to hurt real bad, that pace is super high. If you are a wussy, pace is lower as is effort.

    Some of my "hardest" races have been 90 minute P123 crits. Much longer than a cross race and I get way deeper into my pain cave as the pride of not getting dropped gets a lot out of me.
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    Crits hurt in a bad way, CX in a good way.

    I had several CX podiums last season, but got dropped in more than 50% of my crits. I've no sprint, but sometimes win the hole shot in a CX race - if it's a long starting straight. I regularly get beaten by 20 places in crits by guys I lap easily in CX.

    Not much relation between the two.
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    The goal of one is to be as lazy as long as possible, while still winning. The goal of the other is to smash your own and everyone else's brains out. Guess which one is going to tend to hurt more.

    Unless the pack is simply too fast for you, preventing any hope of laziness. In that case they'll hurt about the same.
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    Cross is a dirty TT where you have to carry around something that's supposed to carry you around. Take your brain out and you'll finish about the same as you would have with it in.

    Crits are a knife fight while trying to win a game of chess. Cat 5 crits are a butter knife fight while trying to win a game of chess without knowing which way the Knight is supposed to move.

  14. #14
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    I love both. Both are totally different - as everyone has mentioned.

    Cross - I have hit levels of physical exertion that I have never hit in a crit - sustained periods (entire races) at RPE and HR I never see anywhere else. Very technical but at a personal level. You have 100 things to do on every lap in a cross race and on your best day you might do 1/2 of them right.

    Crit - Technical on a tactics level. Surges and JRA mixed in. Your race is much more greatly affected by others - like a 180 from cross. Depending on your area and local scene the crits can become pretty formulaic. It's to the point around here that a lot of us can pull up to a course - do a prelap and then guess at how things are probably going to go down. Only time it really changes is when the talent mix changes.

    Oh....and one is on pavement while the other mostly isn't.

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    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carlosflanders View Post
    Crits hurt in a bad way, CX in a good way.

    I had several CX podiums last season, but got dropped in more than 50% of my crits. I've no sprint, but sometimes win the hole shot in a CX race - if it's a long starting straight. I regularly get beaten by 20 places in crits by guys I lap easily in CX.

    Not much relation between the two.
    I'm exactly the opposite. But you're right, not much relation.
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    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carlosflanders View Post
    Crits hurt in a bad way, CX in a good way.

    I had several CX podiums last season, but got dropped in more than 50% of my crits. I've no sprint, but sometimes win the hole shot in a CX race - if it's a long starting straight. I regularly get beaten by 20 places in crits by guys I lap easily in CX.

    Not much relation between the two.
    I'm exactly the opposite. But you're right, not much relation.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    Cross is a dirty TT where you have to carry around something that's supposed to carry you around. Take your brain out and you'll finish about the same as you would have with it in.

    Crits are a knife fight while trying to win a game of chess. Cat 5 crits are a butter knife fight while trying to win a game of chess without knowing which way the Knight is supposed to move.
    Your metaphors are what makes this place never lose it's luster. Haha.
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  18. #18
    bf is my facebook. ljrichar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ridethecliche View Post
    Your metaphors are what makes this place never lose it's luster. Haha.
    Was it Ex who said we should put snow tires on F1 race cars & get out every once in a while to push them over speed bumps?

    And Ides said what I was going to say. Most crits, you don't get to choose the speed or hurt level. In CX, you do.

  19. #19
    cycle-dog spot DinoShepherd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZeCanon View Post
    The goal of one is to be as lazy as long as possible, while still winning.
    THIS is unquestionably the best description of road bike racing I have ever read.

    -Z

  20. #20
    Senior Member ldesfor1@ithaca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DinoShepherd View Post
    THIS is unquestionably the best description of road bike racing I have ever read.

    -Z
    I disagree. Which is why i dont win.
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  21. #21
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    I couldnt tell you, I mostly raced cat 4/5 all year and got dropped 90% of the time due to the fact i was overweight and out of shap. By cross season I was not as overweight but still definitely out of shape. Both hurt equally but CX was more fun while in pain.

    I'm very interested to see how this year goes now that the weight is down and the fitness is up. CX is my main focus for the year.

  22. #22
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    I like the description of Cross as a dirty TT. CX does require a great deal of thinking though. Lines change, sometimes on successive laps, and one has to pay a great deal of attention to this. You've also got to size up your opponent and his strengths and weaknesses. If he's better at riding the sand or navigating twisty stuff then you better flog yourself to get to those obstacles first or he's going to get away. Figuring out whether to run or ride, or remount/dismount early or late can be a huge difference. I made some sweet passes this year by making the right call. I also had some last lap mental lapses, due to fatigue, that cost me. I've seen quite a few races won by guys who used their brains and defeated someone with a bigger engine. Being forced to use my brain is my favourite part of cross, makes it hurt even more though!
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    Cross is a dirty TT where you have to carry around something that's supposed to carry you around. Take your brain out and you'll finish about the same as you would have with it in.

    Crits are a knife fight while trying to win a game of chess. Cat 5 crits are a butter knife fight while trying to win a game of chess without knowing which way the Knight is supposed to move.
    I've never heard a better description of a Cat 5 crit. I may steal this metaphor in the future

  24. #24
    Realist Greg180's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    Crits are a knife fight while trying to win a game of chess. Cat 5 crits are a butter knife fight while trying to win a game of chess without knowing which way the Knight is supposed to move.

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