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  1. #1
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    6'5" 285, looking to get into CX. Thoughts???

    I am 6'5" 285 lbs and started road biking in July (down from 305 pre cycling), I saw a CX event in my area (St. Louis) and thought it looked awesome. I am wondering if I am being to ambitious getting involved in this sport. I am 29, and was a long time smoker (quit Aug 2nd) and since have been weight lifting and riding some. I am an ex football player so did play sports all my life and am trying to get back into the swing of things. Anyone else tried/do CX races? Let me know your thoughts. Thanks for your input.

  2. #2
    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    CX is one of the hardest/funnest races I've done. Its also complete oppose style then road races where the sprint is in the final laps. In CX the sprint is off the line and trying to string the group out on the first half of the laps. Pass aggressively and sprinting from corner to corner will get you HR maxed out faster then you know it. Then after the 2nd or 3rd lap you can start to relax and defend your spot and pick of those that are blowing up.

    Most races down here, have rental bikes or you can use a MTB. Some courses favor MTB more then CX bikes, but most are in favor of CX bikes. If you have access to a bike, you don't need a license, just pay the extra $5 for a one day plus race fee and your good to go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jsigone View Post
    CX is one of the hardest/funnest races I've done. Its also complete oppose style then road races where the sprint is in the final laps. In CX the sprint is off the line and trying to string the group out on the first half of the laps. Pass aggressively and sprinting from corner to corner will get you HR maxed out faster then you know it. Then after the 2nd or 3rd lap you can start to relax and defend your spot and pick of those that are blowing up.

    Most races down here, have rental bikes or you can use a MTB. Some courses favor MTB more then CX bikes, but most are in favor of CX bikes. If you have access to a bike, you don't need a license, just pay the extra $5 for a one day plus race fee and your good to go.
    Do you have a CX bike or do you use a mtn bike?
    Feel free to visit my blog www.chefonabicycle.com

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    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    a CX bike with gears and then also used my singlespeed MTB 29er to race the SS class for more pain errrrr fun for $5 more(2nd race fee). I was actually faster on the SS then the gear bike. No ***** gear allowed and can corner better through the tape. Not many of courses got to top speed very long and the ones that did was horrible on the SS.

    I haven't race CX this yr, was trying to get ready for a 12hr race this saturday but wrecked myself last week...endless cycle continues for me.

  5. #5
    Keepin it Wheel RubeRad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsigone View Post
    Most races down here, have rental bikes or you can use a MTB. Some courses favor MTB more then CX bikes, but most are in favor of CX bikes. If you have access to a bike, you don't need a license, just pay the extra $5 for a one day plus race fee and your good to go.
    Where is "down here", specifically? I.e. where are CX races held, how do you find out about them? I live in San Diego and would be interested in at least coming out to see CX for the first time ever, see what the fuss is all about.

    Also, how do you get into training for CX? Just go ride trails aggressively? Are there race courses people can try out (when there is no race going on)?

  6. #6
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stlbill View Post
    Anyone else tried/do CX races? Let me know your thoughts. Thanks for your input.
    I'm 6'6" and 210-ish and I've been racing CX for 2 seasons. Started last year at 235-ish. There are guys bigger than me on my team, and even more out on the course. The nice thing about 'cross is that you can pick your category and seed yourself within your own limitations so you're not just out there getting thrashed by everyone and not having fun.

    Quote Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post
    Do you have a CX bike or do you use a mtn bike?
    For one of our series, you can race any bike as long as there aren't front-protruding bars (MTB bar-ends or bullhorns.)

    Quote Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
    Also, how do you get into training for CX? Just go ride trails aggressively? Are there race courses people can try out (when there is no race going on)?
    I'm relatively serious about my racing so there's my non-specific training, which is commuting to work. I use that for base miles and hammering hillwork or working on point-to-point sprints.
    The specific skills I practice are dismounts and remounts, shouldering/run-ups, barriers, and off-camber turns and traversing.
    If you're just getting into CX, work on these things to the point that you're comfortable with your ability in each one. You don't need to be super fast, just smooth. Speed will come later on, but not if you're not smooth. Make a pair of PVC barriers and practice dismounting, running over 'em, and remounting. Invite some friends and make a short loop around a park and have a race for fun to practice. That's what we do around here in the pre-season.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
    - Mandi M.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Lexi01's Avatar
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    Good thing about cyclocross is that the bigger guys tend to do quite well for some reason...Barry wicks and Ryan Trebon come to mind.

  8. #8
    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
    Where is "down here", specifically? I.e. where are CX races held, how do you find out about them? I live in San Diego and would be interested in at least coming out to see CX for the first time ever, see what the fuss is all about.

    Also, how do you get into training for CX? Just go ride trails aggressively? Are there race courses people can try out (when there is no race going on)?
    can go here for the schedule http://socalcross.org/

    My club, Celo Pacific is holding a race on Camp Pend beach this saturday http://socalcross.org/events/

    Then Ranchos is holding a race Sunday at Lake Hodges on the south side.

    Both are fast course, not too techy but the sand on the beach can be tricky and deep. Makes running a pain. Pacelines can be held so don't get stuck alone.

    How to train? Go ride the trails balls out and sprint out of every corner. This should get the HR up in the 80-95% range and hold that pace for 30-40 mins. Puking is allowed. This will give you an idea of the pace on the first 2-3 laps. But seriously just have fun racing.
    Last edited by jsigone; 11-06-12 at 07:20 PM.

  9. #9
    babylon by bike Standalone's Avatar
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    6'4" 190. I built up an old 25" frame from a trek 620 as a single speed CX bike. I only finished building it the night before the race, and had about a half hour of sunlight to ride it around the park and learn how to mount and dismount!

    The race was a great time, but I obviously wasn't rested for it. I quit after two and a half hard laps. Single speed probably wasn't the way to go. If you just quit the cigs, I'd target next season as a first race. Get out there and ride a lot for a year-- I recommend hard core commuting to get your power up (lots of fast starts from lights and such) and your handling skills up (lots of cars to deal with).

    Being a big guy didn't seem to mess with me, it was all a matter of cardio fitness, fearlessness and handling skills, none of which I was really up to race readiness. I didn't make a fool of myself too badly, and kept out of the way of the guys who were really in it to win it.


    Good luck!
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    I'm in the middle of my first season CX racing and having a blast! Never raced CX before so I have lots to learn and school is in session every time I line up. Races in our area, No CA, are set up in different experience classes and grouped for age.

    If you have watched a race you have seen some of the basic skills (dismounting for barriers, shouldering bike for running up hills/stairs, turns, and my nemesis navigating sand pits), practice those at a park and go sign up for a race and give it a try. It's a very friendly atmosphere and a great workout. In our race series guys are riding either mtn and cross bikes. Only restriction is no forward facing handle bar ends.

    What surprised me about cross racing is the intensity of the workout. After my first race of the season I went home and downloaded data from my Garmin and holy crap saw average and max heart rate numbers that were way off the chart.

    I'm 5'11" and 190 lbs .... Down from 250 lbs. And there are several bigger guys in my class that do very well.

  11. #11
    Keepin it Wheel RubeRad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsigone View Post
    My club, Celo Pacific is holding a race on Camp Pend beach this saturday http://socalcross.org/events/. Then Ranchos is holding a race Sunday at Lake Hodges on the south side.
    Aw man, the only two events down here, and they're this weekend, too soon to make calendar space for. I might be able to go to Pendleton though, is it just spectate however you want?

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    Keepin it Wheel RubeRad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1242Vintage View Post
    Only restriction is no forward facing handle bar ends.
    Two of you have said this now, apparently this is a common restriction. Do bullhorns tend to get hooked into things (like other riders' handlebars or asses?)

  13. #13
    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    Yah just go and watch, bring a camera and cow bell. It might rain early morning so have wet gear for that. The back section is 20+ mph and tank/fire road so not much to watch there. Stay near the hill and beach. There should be a beer garden as well, I'm not sure who the keg is from this yr.

    UCI rules has no bar ends, bull bars for few reasons, extra leverage and possibly hooking tape, poles, racers. Socal only has 2-3 UCI events all season, so these rules don't apply. UCI needs a different license then normal and don't think 1 days are allowed.

    3 weeks ago they had a 2 days event down at the Velodrome/ Balbao park. That was cool and techy course.

  14. #14
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    Can you mount and dismount on the left side of the bike? My husband's cycling club had a 'cross season kick-off barbeque one year and that was the first thing the club coach had everyone working on in the demo session. I suppose it's to prevent people ripping their calf muscles to shreds on the chainrings.
    Cyclocross is very popular here. I see people riding mountain bikes, but most seem to have 'cross bikes.

  15. #15
    noodly appendage
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    Cross is a kick in the ass by a hot gal. It sucks when it happens, but later on you look back at it and think "That was pretty great". Find pedals that you can easily clip into. Clipping out isn't the problem, its clipping in while people are zooming by and there's an off camber corner coming up. I struggled with different pedals and wound up using platforms for the last couple of races. Your fitness level will be exposed for the world to see, prepare to be humbled.

    Here is a copy of my training goals checklist. I'll give this to you, you don't need to buy my book, "How to Suck at Cross Without Really Trying".

    Goal 1: Start a race. (This was the hardest step so far.)
    Goal 2: Finish a race. (Harder than it sounds.)
    Goal 3: Pass somebody. Old lady, jogger, somebody! Just pass them!
    Goal 4: Don't finish last.
    Goal 5: I'll let you know once I accomplish goal 4.

  16. #16
    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhodabike View Post
    Can you mount and dismount on the left side of the bike? My husband's cycling club had a 'cross season kick-off barbeque one year and that was the first thing the club coach had everyone working on in the demo session. I suppose it's to prevent people ripping their calf muscles to shreds on the chainrings.
    Cyclocross is very popular here. I see people riding mountain bikes, but most seem to have 'cross bikes.
    yes dismount on the left, step into the stride meaning right foot foward in front of the cranks, when/as you step down with the right foot like you would naturally walk/run, unclip the left foot. Make SURE you don't forget to click the left heel out!! If you dismount with the right foot behind your crank, now you're playing catch up to the bike and harder to control the bars ie: modulating braking. And if you do it at speed, you might end up doing the splits and the left foot doesn't naturally click out of the pedal like that. Once you have both feet running, grab the bike on the top tube roughly 6-8" from the seat post. This allows better clearance to lift the bike vertically with your forearm in the way. By grabbing to close to the seat post, when your saddle hits the arm you will want to fan the bike up to clear the obstacle. Not a good thing if you have someone running next to you.

    Remount isn't landing on your junk, land on the upper inner thigh then slide onto the saddle. You'll know when you do it right, it won't hurt. Remember to be running in this motion, that is key.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scotton View Post

    Goal 1: Start a race. (This was the hardest step so far.)
    Goal 2: Finish a race. (Harder than it sounds.)
    Goal 3: Pass somebody. Old lady, jogger, somebody! Just pass them!
    Goal 4: Don't finish last.
    Goal 5: I'll let you know once I accomplish goal 4.

    My goals for my first race of the season earlier this fall were very similar. For my first race it was (1) don't get in anyone's way, (2) keep the rubber side down, (3) don't finish last. Mission accomplished, kind of. Reason I didn't finish last was a larger guy (300+ lbs) quite after one lap and a few others had mechanical issues that slowed them up.

    Raced last night for the first time under the lights. Shadows and low light conditions made it harder than I thought but much more fun. My race ended with a pinch flat on lap three, but ran the rest of the course to finish, and I wasn't DFL.

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