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Cyclocross Racing Discuss pro racing, the big races, and even the small backyard races. Don't forget to update all the members with your own race results.

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Old 09-16-07, 08:04 PM   #1
flargle
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Sandpit strategy

Do you just ride as far as you can, then run when you stall out?

Or maybe if you know you have no chance of riding through it, just run the whole thing.

Thoughts?
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Old 09-17-07, 07:25 AM   #2
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In most cases, pick a good line through it (through the shallowest sand you can without having to turn, etc.) and hit it with as much speed as possible. If you can't pedal smoothly through it, don't thrash around and try to get a last few feet out of it because you'll expend a lot of energy going nowhere. Dismount as you slow and then run the rest of the way. Let the sand dictate what your bike does to some extent; don't try to muscle it through exactly the way you think it should go, instead try to float above the bike to let it move around a bit under you. You'll be less likely to crash that way.
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Old 09-17-07, 08:15 AM   #3
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Keep your weight back as well.
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Old 09-18-07, 09:43 AM   #4
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I'm comfortable in sand. Basically you ride it like you were climbing a flat. IOW traction is the issue so get back and low, pedal smooth and strong. You'll have to give the bike it's head a little and allow it to squirrel around a little. As long as the back wheel doesn't pass the front (it'll try) you'll be okay. You will not have complete traction, the back tire will throw sand no matter how smooth you pedal and the front will wander.

If you find that you need to dismount for the section, it might be necessary if there's a sharp turn, then make the most of any momentum and get off while you still have some speed and don't hurry to get back on before you're on solid ground. Remounting on sand is at best slow and usually hopeless.

I find no advantages in following someone else's track, but of course riding a slight angle to a rut is no good either. That's okay, because you'll find few straight ruts after anybody's gone through.

As much time as you can spend in the stuff will pay off. I ride a lot of trails here in Florida and familiarity is everything. The real rule is the same as any other aspect of the sport, momentum is the only principle of physics that is ever in a 'cross rider's favor. Try to keep it on your side.

Ron
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Old 09-19-07, 11:27 AM   #5
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The real rule is the same as any other aspect of the sport, momentum is the only principle of physics that is ever in a 'cross rider's favor. Try to keep it on your side.

Ron
I like this line.
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Old 10-22-07, 03:38 PM   #6
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There is a race I want to do with an advertised sand pit but never done one. Anything to add to the advice above? Sounds pretty sound to me. Blast into it as far as you can go then dismount and run like hell. Remount. Simple, eh. Might practice a bit on the nearby volleyball sand pit.
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Old 10-23-07, 07:41 AM   #7
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I think you need to preview the actual course and see what the sand is like. If it's a straight shot through the sand then that's very different than courses that snake through. Your ability to ride it may also change as the race goes on -- the sand may become more or less easy to ride. Also, it depends a lot on what's happening in front of you -- it's not always possible to come screaming into the sand if you are with a group. Finally, in your practice laps and race pay attention to how well other people are carrying speed through the sand. I prefer to ride sand, but often times it's MUCH faster to run than to ride and you can pass people like they are standing still by getting off the bike. In warm-up laps at a recent race I was walking the sand and passing people that were trying to ride it.
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Old 10-23-07, 07:45 AM   #8
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There is a race I want to do with an advertised sand pit but never done one. Anything to add to the advice above? Sounds pretty sound to me. Blast into it as far as you can go then dismount and run like hell. Remount. Simple, eh. Might practice a bit on the nearby volleyball sand pit.
Sounds like a plan to me.
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