Recreational Cyclocross and Gravelbiking - first cross race...
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Doing my first cross race next weekend!! Excited and a bit nervous, I MTB 5-6 times a week, but I don't run at all. With just a week before the race is there anything extra I can do to get myself ready? Thanks. Zach
10-05-02, 05:46 PM
I have been thinging of trying cyclocross myself. After reading a lot of the posts I decided to go out and practice getting on and off of the bike while moving. Its not as easy as it seems. The first time I was travelling to quick when I jumped off. I caught my balance and managed to run up the hill. When I placed the bike down I missed the pedal and managed to spread eagle on the bike. After several successful slower tries I was using a large concrete curb for an obstacle and came in to fast and to close and wiped out on the asphalt. So I would practice mounting and dismounting your bike and figure how you will pick it up in different situations.
Thats what Im doing anyway.
Thanks. I have been working on my dismounts, am just a little worried about my running abilities...oh well, I'll be so nervous the whole time anyway, figure I'll just see how it all unfolds. Thanks.
10-06-02, 06:09 PM
Do some running. Run about 20 minutes a couple of times a week. Trust me.
Dismounts... Coming into barriers on the level, you want to be rolling at about 15 km/h. Unclip and swing your right leg over the saddle, pas it between your left leg and the frame so that, as you clip out of the left pedal, you're leding with your right leg when you hit the ground running.
Mounts... The firtst thing to remember is that your saddle shouldn't be quite as high as on your road bike, but not as low as on a MTB. Practice without rolling first. Try swinging your right leg up and over the saddle, so you hit the saddle with the inside of your upper right thigh, and then slide over to sit on the saddle and clip in with your right foot. Now try it running. You don't have to JUMP, exactly, just swing your leg and hit the saddle. Once you have that, the jumping part comes easy...
Don't shoulder your bike over barriers -- it's a waste of energy.
It took me ages to get the courage up to leaping onto the bike, but with practice it does come.
I've put a few pointers on my website (plug, plug)
Go to the technique section...it also gives tips on bunnyhopping obsticles, and race day preps.
My first race of the season is on the 20th Oct, but I haven't raced for about two years, so it should be good to get back into it.
10-08-02, 01:00 PM
Velo and Rich are dead on with the practice suggestions. My first season I went to a local park and practiced dismounts over the concrete "curb" things in the parking lot.
I HATE to run but quickly learned that I need to run 1-2 times a week to keep myself from blowing up on the run ups. Really, like others will tell you , the running thing can depend upon the course you race. Some courses will have a hill run up, so the running fitness will help a bunch. If you're thin and got long legs, use that stride to get up the hill as fast as possible.
BTW, Simon Burney's book is a pretty good resource on all things cross.
10-08-02, 01:05 PM
Originally posted by zlj75
...I'll be so nervous the whole time anyway, figure I'll just see how it all unfolds....
You'll be fine. Years ago when I raced as a beginner, our races were 30 minutes. I though, no problem. Hell I should be able to WIN this. Boy was I wrong. I could not believe how damned hard it was.....My head was totally in a fog after the first lap. I saw stars 75% of the race and placed well in the back of the pack, but finished strong and weary.
Do you best to stay calm, and ride your own ride. Good Luck
That reminds me of every race I've been in!! :D
I can second the Simon Burney Book....great photo's and commentry. He read the article I left on amazon and e-mailed me to say thanks...what a nice guy!
Thanks for the responses guys. I have been thinking that I should go out as hard as possible and then just make people pass me...and maybe I can sustain it for the 30 minutes, but now I am not so sure, maybe I'll just stay as pack fodder?? What should a first time racer do, get the lay of the land in mid-pack, or try to go out hard?
10-09-02, 03:25 PM
Pre-ride the course a few times. Do the first two pre-rides easily and then do one at about 75-80% effort to get an idea of how it feels going fast. Then recover and stretch before the race.
If this is your first race and you're not in a beginner or sport category, go hard at the start and then ride your own race. If you're with experienced seniors or masters, you will have trouble holding onto the pack.
Expect to put out maximum effort for the whole race. You do not get recovery time. That means you'll be around 90-95% HR the whole time. It hurts a lot, but you'll survive.
The things you should train are:
Skills: You can lose 30 seconds to a minute every lap with bad transitions. Get your mounts and dismounts fairly smooth, and you'll be okay, even if you crawl over the barriers.
Starts: Practice starts until it HURTS. If you lose the pack right at the start, you'll never get it back. This is a psychological thing, not physical. It's hard to stay motivated when you get dropped like an old girlfriend before the first barriers.
Threshold: Go out and train for the race by trying to ride all out -- and I mean all-out until you feel like you're going to die -- for 20-40 minutes once a week. Also, do intervals. Riding above your anaerobic threshold for 40 minutes is a special kind of Hell... but you'll have to do it for more like an hour when you race.
Racing tomorrow at 10 am eastern time, so will let you know how I did. Thanks for all the info over the past week. Wish me luck. Zach
Well, it's all over now. Came in 30th place out of 40 in the Class C mens race. It was so much fun and I cannot wait for the next one. I decided to go out strong and then hold my position, this did not quite work for me. I started well and was posititoned just behind the front 10 or 11, and had a sizeable lead on the second big group (which included my friend who I wanted to beat), but I could not gain on the lead group, and just seemed stuck in no man's land. Then before I knew it I was going backwards with my buddy coming past me, then battled it out for 30th with a guy.
In retrospect it seems easier to move up than defend a position. Next time I plan on pacing myself a little better at the beginning and then poking up. I felt okay on the first lap, garbage on the second, okay on the third, and great on the last, but by that time I had no one to pass...oh well. Live and learn.
Congrats!! I remember I came 35th in my first race out of 40...and ended up tussling with this guy for over half the race....
I'm racing this coming weekend, and can't wait to get back into it :D
10-17-02, 02:02 PM
Good luck this weekend Rich, and everyone else. :)
Thanks Rich. Good luck!!
Think I'm going to do another one on the 26th...I'm ready for more pain!
Well, raced on Sunday...got there about 11am to practice the course (race started at 1.30pm), so I thought there would be plenty of time to psych myself up. I watched the under 10's race (bless), the under 12's race (they were pretty fast!) and the Youth race (soem of their bikes were more expensive than mine!!!) :D
The course at Rainham will be the same one used for the Final of the National Trophy, and boy was it fast. There were about 50-60 riders in my race, and at the gun, there was the usual frenzy of jostling for positions, and even before I got to the fist steep incline, the head of the race were already down the other side of the field.
Now for those riders who have raced before, they'll know the psychological battles that go on in the mind...the "I'm not going fast enough", the "I want to give up now...come on, enough is enough" and the classic "how many more laps!?!" and I faced each one of these in turn....luckily...there were a few riders behind me, and one guy in front who I managed to keep the same gap with, so that helped alot, and with support from my wife and brother in law and his fiancee, each lap got a little easier.
Well, not too sure where I ended up (my wife thinks about 40th...urgh) but it was great to get back into racing...looking forward now to the next one which is in a few weeks time...will post photo's when they come through.
p.s. Ofcourse I raced in Bikeforum colours, and my wife was able to spot the slow yellow blob going around the whole of the course :D
10-21-02, 07:56 AM
Well done Rich,
I was meant to ride, but can't for a couple of weeks due to 'Family commitments' (wedding/stag-do/hen-do etc (not mine, I'm well spliced and sprogged up!) ).
You should check out the London League Web-site for results and pix, www.londonxleague.co.uk or www.londoncyclesport.com, see if you can see yourself.
The good thing about the LL races is that it's usually the same faces racing, so you can gauge your progress against the same oppo.
Yeah, there are some photo's on there, and I did spot myself in one of them, but it's been taken back off...the website states it'll be putting some more photo's on later, so we'll have to wait and see :D
Will you be doing any of the London League's? They seem like a great bunch of people.
10-21-02, 09:53 AM
I rode the first two, coming 15th & 21st, both dust-bowl conditions, and will probably restart with Hillingdon on Nov 3rd. I tend to go better the worser the conditions so am looking forward to a bit of mud!
After an injury shortened last season, I shall try to ride the requisit 9 rounds, more if poss, to count at the end of season (have you registered with them for the season?).
Unfortunately not...as I'm carless (note not careless) at the moment, it's hard to get to all the races, so I can only do local ones...but I'm hoping to get to the Footscray Meadows race in January, and spectate at the final round of the National Trophy at Rainham.
Wow...top 20 results...I bet the mud doesn't stick on you eh!?! :beer:
10-21-02, 10:48 AM
Congrats on getting back to the races Rich, the first one is always the hardest. You described the mental challenge perfectly.
10-21-02, 11:08 AM
"I bet the mud doesn't stick on you eh!?!"
It does at Footscray - one of those courses where, if it's wet, and you only have one bike (like me), a short 'clearance clearing' stick in your back pocket is essential!!
- It's always a great atmosphere there though, they tend to invite a twinned French club over for the race, and usually has a big field (for the big fields)
You know that utterly destroyed, going into a coma, must sleep for 12 hours feeling only a fellow CX'er can know? I got the first one in and looking forward to next weekend:D
I was surprised to not feel completely broken on Monday morning...usually it's "Ohh, I'll grab an extra few minutes in bed", and not wake up for the rest of the day....but no...I was up and at em.
Maybe my fitness wasn't as bad as I first suspected..hmmmm.
10-22-02, 10:30 AM
We have races on Saturday and Sunday next weekend, should be interesting.
Wow...are you going to be competing in both? :D
Here's me at Rainham, I don't know why I'm smiling, I was dead on my wheels!!! ;)
Doesn't the Bikeforums jersey look great!!!
Hi guys. I should have ordered one of those cool bike forum tops. Doing my second race this weekend, finally got my bike a little more squared aways, especially in the tire, and gearing department. Am going to 12x26, 38x46...rode first race in 12x26, 42 front, did not like the 42 that much. Good luck in your weekend races. Zach
10-23-02, 09:03 PM
that doesn't look like the cyclocross bike that I seen posted before. Still looks nice though.
Yeah, I sold my Alan Cross bike a while back and am racing my Kona Hei Hei. The shame of it is is that I can't race any premier cross events in the UK (cross bikes only).
Still, never mind...I'll spectate at the final round of the National Trophy, and take some photo's of riders in pain...Muwwhahaha!
Hi guys. Rode my second race on Saturday, it was pouring rain, which made a fast course very technical...which suited me fine. I felt great and before I knew it was on the last lap, and heard the announcer say that the two guys, who were right in front of me, were battling for third and fourth place, I could not believe it because I still felt good. I was able to reel in one of them, and pass the guy I was riding with to take 4th place!!! A bit better than my 30th place two weeks ago. The big differences between the were, better gearing 38x46 by 12x26, and I was far more relaxed...I actually was able to breathe this race. Thanks for all the advice! Zach:)
Good work fella!!! :beer: You'll have to take pole position in the cross forums now!!!
Are you racing again soon?
10-28-02, 10:39 AM
Congratulations! I finished second again. It stinks when you get out all by yourself and don't have anybody to race with. Aside from when I started lapping the rear of the field, I didn't see anyone the entire race - makes it hard to keep up the pace. I guess I'm a mental weenie.
Hey Guys. Good work on the second place finish Rotifer...it sucks when you are stuck in no man's land!! I am going to try to race in Vermont next Saturday, but still need to work on the logistics. Was thinking it would be cool if I had a Bikeforums jerseay to wear...oh well.
here's a crazy link to a pic of me running a barrier, let me know if you can actually follow the link.
10-28-02, 12:54 PM
Worked for me, cool pic. I have some from yesterday but haven't had time to mess with them.. I'll post one when I can. Thanks, by the way.
Great photo mate...
I'm going to be spectating at the final round of the National Trophy, but the added bonus is that I'll have a camera.
Will post some shots up here.
Keep up the great results guys!!! Rotifer....I guess the only thing you can do when you're in second place is try and catch up and pass as many end tailers as possible....
Hey Guys. I got hosed last weekend but it's my fault. I left last Saturday's race positive that I came in 4th place, but I never checked the official list...well, they posted the results yesterday and I wound up finishing 3rd!!! So my one and only podium finish and I did not even get to enjoy it...oh well.
Have to try and make sure it was not a fluke by racing in Rhode Island on Sunday. Hope you are all doing well. Rotifer, have fun with the Swede!!
11-01-02, 02:52 PM
Congratulations man, and thanks Rich. Yeah, cross races can be a little confusing - I definitely won't rest on my laurels next time I am out in front. Oh, and thanks for the Swede - I'm fortifying her with Guinness as we speak.
Swedes love Guiness and cross racing...they live for them!!
What class do you race Rotifer?
11-01-02, 04:03 PM
In this series we have A's, B's and Masters ... I've been racing B's. It's been 2 years since I raced at all so I used that as an excuse to race B's. After the last race, I think the guy who won and I should probably be in A's. Next year ... after I have a season of mt bike racing under my belt. :D You?
We have A, B, and C...I ride C. Up until three weeks ago I had never raced anything before, though I ride a cross country MTB everyday, and occasionally moonlight on the road. CX has been great so far, hopefully I can get in three more races this season, with two more good C performances, maybe I'll try a B. Hopefully I am able to make it to the Rhode Island race on Sunday...concert on Saturday night may make it a little tough. Talk to you soon.
What MTB class do you ride?
11-01-02, 05:10 PM
I rode sport in my last mountain bike race but will probably move up to expert next year.
I should start racing MTBs next year, something to train for...am planning a five week Euro bike tour which I'm sure would mess up a race schedule. I teach so I'll have the summer off!!
Heading up for my third race tomorrow morning...two hour drive for a thirty minute race...I should bump myself up to B's just to get an extra 15 minutes, nahh, we'll stay with the C's. Good luck with all your races this weekend. Zach
Hi Guys. Had a pretty good race last Saturday, felt okay, course was techical with lots of barriors, 8 of them...those sucked. In my lowly old C race I took 10th out of 32, but I was aiming for top 10, so it worked out well. Another race this Sunday...can't wait. Hope you all had good races. Zach
10th out of 32 that is great!!!! Congratulations!
11-14-02, 11:52 AM
Good job man. We have a race this Sunday - I skipped the state championships to spend time with my son. Final race in our series so I hope to do well. European tour? Cool, I had a great one a few years back .. memories.
11-17-02, 04:46 PM
I did my first cross race two weeks ago. I raced in the juniors cat. The best way to discirbe it would be to say it was "interesting". Going into the race I figured one of two things. 1) The other juniors would be out there doing this just for a fun early season work out, like myself, or 2) Would be hard core cross racers. I found out the hard way that the two other racers, there were only three of us:( ,were hard core cross people. Even though I got third I was still pretty happy because I only lost because I beat myself. On all the straights I was clearly the strongest rider, but on the tecnical stuff I sucked big time. For the state championship next weekend I have been practicing my mounts and cornering, and hope to do better. It was a fun time even though I did come in last, hey I still won a chain cleaner, and I can't wait till next weekend.
11-18-02, 11:34 AM
Nice job strider. If you are having trouble in cornering, it may be your tires. Play with tire pressure and talk to people about what tire selection. I'm also rather bold about walking up and squeezing other racer's tires. :D I haven't been slapped yet ... I flatted yesterday and it turned out that my rear whell was toast. I didn't have a spare so couldn't finish. Ended up 3rd overall in Bs anyway, can't complain. Well, I would have wrapped up 2nd place handily but, there's always next year.
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