Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 12 of 12
  1. #1
    duh-river foe
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    boston
    Posts
    151
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    First race - the tale of a tree

    Cyclocross racing looked like SO much fun back when I lived in TX, but I never got the chance to do a race there. Now that I finally have a bike that would have fit in back home, I signed up for a race in my newish state of MA. Hooooo-boy, it's different here!

    I'm not in superb shape, but I was expecting to at least hang onto the back of the beginner women's group. The pack turned out to be HUGE. I was the only chick there who wasn't on a specific 'cross bike, and like, all of these 'beginners' were on one of two or three racing teams and had like, team strategy. No kidding! There were tubular tires around. Tubular, y'all.

    I somehow managed to pass a few of the chix0rs in the first few corners, but lost that lead in the bottleneck of a first barrier followed by a soft run-up, tight corner, re-mount, and steep soft downhill back onto the grass. Well, it should have been, but I happened to get my lack of panties in a wad by the melee and remounted at the top to slide right into a tree. After yanking my front wheel out of the ground-level branches, I got back onto the grassy section. There were lots of mean scary people on the sides yelling for me to "go! go!" and "get back up there!" and people, I just wasn't making any progress on that lumpy lumpy grass.

    Upon inspection, the front tire had lost a lot of air and it looks like I bent the valve on the tube back on the branches and made a big 'ol leak there. After a creative walking path back to avoid the course and the chain-link fences, I was about ready to have an embarassment puke and call it a day. This makes it the first race I've ever DNF'ed, and I'm grouchy!

    After y'all have heard the tale of woe, a few questions:

    1. Am I just in horrible shape? I was struggling to keep up with the back of the beginner group 1/3 into the first lap. The pavement and grass weren't so bad, but the soft sections and the run-up killed any advances I could make. I've been biking all season for distance and transportation and do get a good number of hills, but I haven't gone out to specifically train for speed. I'm getting the impression that adding miles won't do much for my performance in this matter. I'd guess that I average 125 miles a week or so, with about 20-25 miles of running mixed in.

    2. I'm riding a stripped-down 650b touring frame, with a pretty decent set of components. Comparing it to the other bikes out there, my tires (33 mm) were less knobby than the competition. Also, it's a bit of a tank (the BF makes faces and grunts every time he picks it up). I'm used to hearing about 'cross races where the beginner categories are full of just about any old thang. I can't justify going out and getting a bike specifically for something I might not like when this one serves just about every other biking desire of mine so damn well, but I don't want to be crippled by it, either. The flat I got wouldn't have been prevented by a different wheel, since the valve stem got killed by a branch. Different tires might have helped keep me out of the tree, though. A rough bathroom scale estimate is that it weighs 26 pounds. Is there a major bike issue? What do I do about it?

    3. Lastly, are the New England chix actually amazons? If somebody were wanting to pat my back and comfort me, they'd say that I got started with the wrong category and that the real beginners look as ragtag and scared as I did

    Help! I'd love to get into cross, but I can't face the prospect of going back out there and sucking quite as spectacularly as I did today without changing something.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Sunny Tampa, Florida
    Posts
    952
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    If you came to a Florida CX race you'd fit right in. Mostly normal people who race for grins on whatever's convenient.

    A lot of the New England races are essentially national, that's where you go if you've got ambitions. Living as we do in a world where there are national class C championships this sort of crap is inevitable. Sandbagging is a fact of racing life.

    It WAS your first race and there is nothing that can prepare you for the pain and intensity. Normal road races end with a sprint, cross races start with one. Expect to spend the duration of the event with the digits on your HRM spinning around like a bugs bunny cartoon. If you had lasted a few laps you would've started to adapt.

    That is a fairly hefty bike especially for what I gather is a petite rider, but mostly any bike should get you through. You might want to see if there are more suitable tires. I know nothing about that size and where you'd find a good tire for it.

    Riding grass is one of the unique joys of cyclocross. Nothing steals inertia worse than grass and a fast bumpy ride is especially rough on smaller riders. Try to get used to it. Spending time on the trainer is especially helpful since it absorbs your efforts in much the same way.

    If you go back it'll probably be just as painful and scary, but you'll have a better result to show for it. And you'll have at least a hint of how bad it'll hurt. I really expect that you'll find yourself doing better than you'd expect from the wretchedness you've already experienced.

    You probably aren't in terrible shape, but you sure weren't' ready for this stuff. Intensity is the key. You need intervals and practice fast hard riding on bad surfaces. And you need to be warmed up and prepared to contest that initial sprint and keep the hammer down for the duration. These races only last like 30-45 minutes so there is no pacing, strategy or anything but inflicting pain on your rivals by embracing it yourself.

    Try again, stay composed and don't let it rattle you.

    Ron

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    in the shade
    My Bikes
    too few
    Posts
    492
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Bedford Springs. That was a tough course yesterday. Lotta grass and it was slow.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    2,026
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by 8bit View Post
    I was struggling to keep up with the back of the beginner group 1/3 into the first lap.
    What do you mean by "1/3"? It sounds like you weren't riding the beginner race, especially if there were more than one or two people riding tubulars.

    If you DNF'd because you ran into a tree, maybe it has more to do with technique than with fitness.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    in the shade
    My Bikes
    too few
    Posts
    492
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    The early race (9:15) was 3/4 combined and the late race (1:00) was 1/2/3. Which one did you race? Sounds like the later race as you don't mention men, and the 3/4 was on the course with the men?

  6. #6
    duh-river foe
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    boston
    Posts
    151
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks for the replies! I raced 9:15, Beginner 3/4 women. The guys were started about a minute ahead so I didn't see them until I had flatted and had left the course. The tree in question was on the soft downhill after the run-up; I'll admit that my technique getting back on the bike after the run up sucked. The bike dug right into the dirt as I was swinging back up onto it and I got a nice, graceful glide into the trees. It totally sucked, I had a solid last-place finish sewn up! At least I had gotten the rides to and from the race to make it not a total loss.

    I totally got schooled. I had that horrible feeling like I was showing up to a new middle school in overalls and plaid when everyone else had just gotten makeovers at Neiman's. As for the future, I ran intervals today and will need to remember to do them while I'm out on my bike. About how often can you do them? I ride somewhere almost every day, and that's anywhere between 10-110 miles a day depending on where I go. How decent do I have to be at speedwork before I can go show my face at a race again?

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    in the shade
    My Bikes
    too few
    Posts
    492
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    If it makes you feel slightly better, people had a lot of trouble coming down the run up all day. There were spectacular crashes in most races including elite men. A guy in front of me went over his bars and it was like nothing I can remember seeing. It was hard.

    There's a thread on intervals just a few down from this one.

    The good news is that there is a cx race on Sat and Sun every weekend from now until mid-Dec within two hours of you. You could "race into form" to some extent and just recover during the week.

  8. #8
    4 letter tirade
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    8 blocks west of the Sears Tower
    My Bikes
    Soon to be owner of a matching pair of Rock Lobster CX machines, Kelly Deluxe, Bianchi Commuter, Waterford R22
    Posts
    541
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    try to take everything with a larger grain of salt. Go out, race and have fun while trying not to expect the world from your legs. With practice you will get better, you will start making more friends at the races and then just enjoy the time on the bike and at the races. You have started into a form of bike racing that many people consider some of the hardest there is but also is probably the most excepting of any type. When you come around those corners and complete strangers are shaking their cowbells, it is for you!

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    2,026
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I think I know what advice Chopper Reid would have for you, and I wouldn't disagree with him.

  10. #10
    Senior Member sfcrossrider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    San Francisco
    My Bikes
    Steelman eurocross, Surly CrossCheck, IRO Rob Roy...
    Posts
    2,760
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by cardstock View Post
    try to take everything with a larger grain of salt. Go out, race and have fun while trying not to expect the world from your legs. With practice you will get better, you will start making more friends at the races and then just enjoy the time on the bike and at the races. You have started into a form of bike racing that many people consider some of the hardest there is but also is probably the most excepting of any type. When you come around those corners and complete strangers are shaking their cowbells, it is for you!

    Great reply! The last sentence is the effing jam.
    Quote Originally Posted by BikeIndustryGuy View Post
    I guess the feel good aspect of this story is that the perpetrators did this as a couple. It's nice to see people coming together with a common love of cycling and assault.

  11. #11
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    1
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    same here

    Hey...it if makes you feel any better, my first race was also in Bedford in the Mens Cat 4 and I had an equally ugly experience. In fact, since you started about 60 sec. after us, you might have seen me....I was the guy who crashed in the first quarter mile. I've been a pretty successful road racer and cross country runner, so I was thinking that I'd be competitive in a "Beginner" race, but definately not the case. In fact, I sort of question how "beginner" some of these guys were. Like you, I felt as if I was the only person in the ~40 person or so field who was actually doing his first race. I ended up mid-pack, but struggling to do so.

    Anyways, I figure that the only way I'm really going to improve is if I just keep racing. Competing with good people just makes you better. Good luck!

  12. #12
    member
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    137
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Watch out for the Citizens/class 4/ C cat races-since many race organizers let you ride in more than one race, you'll see some A's and B's in there, just warming up. And killing you. This season I'll probably do the C race on a SS before racing in Masters, for kicks n giggles.

    Check out the interval thread.
    This is the internet. If someone is being nice to you they are probably trying to **** you.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •