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  1. #1
    Senior Member TimJ's Avatar
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    What is this "pit" you speak of?

    I don't get some of the references to cyclocross racing. I get that the pit is where you wrench on your stuff or whatever, like a pit in other wheeled sports, but I keep seeing people say things like "blah, blah pit bike", or "blah, blah pit wheels", stuff like that. For example someone says "it would make a good pit bike" I ask myself, why would someone need a bike just for the pit? I don't get it. Why "pit wheels"?

    Can someone tell me what's going on? I'm guessing it's something way beyond my means, like bringing two bikes in case one gets trashed or something.
    fun facts: Psychopaths have trouble understanding abstract concepts.
    "Incompetent individuals, compared with their more competent peers, will dramatically overestimate their ability and performance relative to objective criteria."

  2. #2
    Sensible shoes. CastIron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimJ
    ... like bringing two bikes in case one gets trashed or something.
    That's it. Sometimes you even get to have a crew who washes the filth between laps. In my dreams, personally.
    Mike
    Quote Originally Posted by cedricbosch View Post
    It looks silly when you have quotes from other forum members in your signature. Nobody on this forum is that funny.
    Quote Originally Posted by cedricbosch View Post
    Why am I in your signature.

  3. #3
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    Think of the pit as a place where there is a neutral support mechanic and where you can store spare wheels and/or a spare bike. If you have a mechanical, you would run your bike to the pit and do whatever work you need to/swap wheels or bike and continue to race. Some people's pit bikes are way better then my A bike At one race, one Master's rider had a Colnago C50 CX with Zipp's as his pit bike/B bike...I needed to be held after I saw it As the previous poster mentioned, A and B bike are often used so you can race one bike while the other is being cleaned off, but some times pits can only be entered if you have a real problem - depends on the race.

    Flats are the most common problem, so I suggest pit wheels if you can swing 'em. You can always share pit wheels with friends and teammates as well.

    Oh, and sometimes, there is more then one pit on a race course.

  4. #4
    Senior Member TimJ's Avatar
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    So you can actually go to the pit in the middle of a race?
    fun facts: Psychopaths have trouble understanding abstract concepts.
    "Incompetent individuals, compared with their more competent peers, will dramatically overestimate their ability and performance relative to objective criteria."

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    yes it's like the pit in a crit.

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    The pit is always precisely on the very opposite side of the course from where you flat. That's how I find it.

  7. #7
    Senior Member TimJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dutret
    yes it's like the pit in a crit.
    Yeah... that's lost on me. I did some mtb races as a kid but that's it, so crit pit is yet another mystery.

    Quote Originally Posted by 92degrees
    The pit is always precisely on the very opposite side of the course from where you flat.
    When I first read that I was like, "Oh man, now someone's got to explain what 'where you flat' means." At first glance I thought it was some technical race term, like, "on the 2nd turn you flat, then the third barrier you bump, and then finally the last leg you rumble." But then I understood and had a good laugh.

    So can I expand my question a bit? Re: the pit. If you flat, or bust something, is it worth the bother to run to the pit and get new wheels, for example, or is the race pretty much lost for you? It seems like if you were a ways away from the pit and so had to run... I dunno, a 1/2 mile of course to get there, so much time would pass it'd probably be pointless.

    Different question: when/how/why do you get to do practice laps? I may figure this stuff out when I attend more races, but the only one I've seen so far really didn't make sense to me in terms of organization. It seemed like most of the time I was there there were people on the course racing. How/when would you ever get a chance to do a practice lap?
    fun facts: Psychopaths have trouble understanding abstract concepts.
    "Incompetent individuals, compared with their more competent peers, will dramatically overestimate their ability and performance relative to objective criteria."

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    Some of the C races are pretty short -- 30min. If you are on a long course, it's possible that you only do two or three laps. So yeah, it's possible that you could flat early in the race and it would take a looong time to run to the pit. That's happened to me. I guess the incentive is that you've traveled a long way, paid your entry, so you want to get in as much racing as possible even if you are DFL.

    Most races have the course open for practice before the races and often between races. You want to be at a race as much as 2hours early to get registered, dress, warm up, get to the line. C races often go off first, so the venue isn't often very crowded when you get there.

  9. #9
    Tiocfáidh ár Lá jfmckenna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimJ

    So can I expand my question a bit? Re: the pit. If you flat, or bust something, is it worth the bother to run to the pit and get new wheels, for example, or is the race pretty much lost for you? It seems like if you were a ways away from the pit and so had to run... I dunno, a 1/2 mile of course to get there, so much time would pass it'd probably be pointless.
    It's definitely worth it. You paid to race so you may as well race. Plus if you are neck and neck with some one you never know what kind of bad luck they are going to run into either. So you run to the pit and get set up loose a lot of ground but then he may flat or crash too. Having a pit bike of course is the better set up. In that case you may for example crush a deraillure but still manage to pedal into the pit.

    At nationals last year I saw a pro racer twist his bars down on the first 1/2 lap and go into the pit for a bike change and he hardly lost a placing. I was working the pit for a friend at the time and when you have mechanics you can actually hand off a bike in full motion such that the rider does a quick mount and dismount in the pit and pops back into the field as he exits the pit.

  10. #10
    Senior Member TimJ's Avatar
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    Thanks. All good info.
    fun facts: Psychopaths have trouble understanding abstract concepts.
    "Incompetent individuals, compared with their more competent peers, will dramatically overestimate their ability and performance relative to objective criteria."

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimJ
    I'm guessing it's something way beyond my means, like bringing two bikes in case one gets trashed or something.
    There's a dude around here that races on a Pegoretti ($$$$$$$$$), and his pit bike is a....uh....Pegoretti ($$$$$$$$$$$$).
    This is the internet. If someone is being nice to you they are probably trying to **** you.

  12. #12
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    All the races I've been to have been dry courses in good weather. The pit is just a place where some people leave spare wheels in case they get a flat, but nobody really needs it.

    But if you've ever seen a rainy, muddy, or snowy race, the pit is where the race can be won or lost. The pro racers will change bikes every lap, and the bike hand-off is as quick as jumping a barrier. The mechanic will hose a couple of pounds of mud, snow, or slush off the bike, squirt some lube where it needs to go, then hand it back off. It's a huge advantage over someone who only has one bike and no mechanic, because the bike will get heavier and slower as the muck cakes up.

  13. #13
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    Go to race.cx and watch the women's world championships. Not only is it a fantastic race, but it shows the riders switching out their bikes in the pit every few laps. Cross bike accumulate a lot of mud in the drivetrain. It allows them to ride a clean one or maybe switch wheels during the race if a tread pattern isn't working.

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