Cyclocross Racing - Technique/Etiquette question
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10-08-07, 04:16 PM
In my (first CX) race yesterday, I noticed a lot of guys would enter and exit the corners with a pretty wide line, and also brake heavily and coast through them.
I was able to almost effortlessly pass a lot of guys by merely using skills I learned from crit racing, i.e. set up for a corner more inside/take a line closer to the apex, and pedal all the way through the corner. It was easy enough that it made me wonder if I was violating some unwritten code about passing on corners. Or maybe it's just a C division thing.
10-08-07, 04:50 PM
nope, that's C
10-08-07, 06:26 PM
i've also noticed people taking corners a lot slower than necessary, creating a backup behind them.
conversely i've seen guys take stupid chances so they can get around someone and alomst (or actually) cause a wreck. it happened to ghostman in our first race and the guy ran right into him.
i don't think it's necessarily inappropriate to pass on the corners but i prefer to wait and pass in other places. i try to use fast cornering as a way of putting a gap on someone or closing a gap, but it's not where i'm gonna try something risky.
i think you should go with your gut. if you feel like you're doing something wrong, you might very well be. maybe find some of the guys you pass after the race and say "hey, i'm trying to get a feel for what's cool and what's not, what did you think of that corner?" and try not to rub it in if you end up beating them ;)
10-08-07, 07:30 PM
i try to use fast cornering as a way of putting a gap on someone or closing a gap, but it's not where i'm gonna try something risky.
Yeah, this definitely did not seem risky in any way...not like "diving" a corner in a crit (i.e. taking an inside line that doesn't actually exist). I'm basically just talking about setting up and taking a corner more inside.
i think you should go with your gut. if you feel like you're doing something wrong, you might very well be.
Well, I didn't feel like it was wrong, but my only point of reference is road/crit racing, where I am pretty conservative. I was just surprised at how much of a hole people were leaving. Again, this might just be a Cs thing.
I've two CX races under my belt now in C division, and so far, these are the things I've learned about cornering in a CX race:
- Unlike crit or road racing where you're sweeping through a silky smooth corner, in CX you're cornering on many varied surfaces that are bumpy, splashy, muddy, rocky, rutted, etc... The cornering is simply less predictable and requires lines and bike handling skills that can change from lap to lap. The best thing to do is recconoiter the course as best as possible before the race, and have an idea of both the ideal ways of taking the corner and also an assesment of how those corners can get hairy.
- Defend your line! At any given time, you'll be taking a corner surrounded by guys who have great and confident bike handling skills and guys who are just plain nervous and a bit scared. It's really just a matter of developing a sense of who knows what they're doing and who doesn't, and thus working with a good rider in a corner and defending your line against bad rider who can jepordize your line and a place. Most of all, just pont and shoot your bike into the corner, commit to your line, and fight to keep it as best as possible.
10-08-07, 09:07 PM
- Defend your line! At any given time, you'll be taking a corner surrounded by guys who have great and confident bike handling skills and guys who are just plain nervous and a bit scared.
I encountered plenty of the latter (and was able to ride away from them) but only a few of the former (and of those, recognized a few from local crits!).
I never even so much as brushed elbows with anyone on the course (though I do think someone bumped my rear wheel on one muddy corner, which actually helped me complete the turn faster!).
Well, the learning adventure continues. The race was great fun! I'm looking forward to doing some more.
10-09-07, 09:44 AM
Holding a line through a bumpy, loose graveled corner is difficult enough if you're tired. Pedaling through the same corner when you're tired it even harder. I think a lot of guys (myself included) had our tires overinflated an could have used something more like 45-50psi instead of 55-60.
Corners are where I make speed- if you can make a safe pass, do it. If you dont think you can make a safe pass, then hold off...just my .02
10-10-07, 08:11 PM
I've got two races under my belt, in the 'cat 4's' and would say, the latter 1/2 - 2/3's of my field didn't have much road racing or mountain bike skills. If you have mountain bike skills, it's easy to pass in the off road sections, and if you have road skills, the corners allow you to make up a lot of time.
In my last race, I thought something must be really wrong, as these guys were sweeping really wide. The third lap I started taking the inside line (which was easily there, probably for a VW beetle even) and started making up 20-40 feet each turn.
Don't cut anyone off, but at least in the C's/4's, there are a lot of guys who are probably not as comfortable pushing the corners as you.
10-11-07, 09:01 AM
Cyclocroos races are won in the corners. If you can corner better then most in your field you have a huge advantage. If it's safe to do so by all means pass some one in a corner. It also helps to let some one lead out in corners so you can watch their line. If its a good one then use it for your self on the following laps.
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