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  1. #1
    In the top 42% ridethatbike's Avatar
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    First race report, Boulevard Cup

    Let me start by letting you know where I'm coming from. I used to race MTB's about 6 years ago, and was mid-pack finisher in the beginner category, and haven't really been on the bike much since then. I just finished building up a cross bike to replace my broken road bike, and have just been getting back on the saddle for the first time in years. So my training has been very limited, and my experience is nil. I had every reason not to race, but thought I should do it anyway. I set out with two goals, not to DFL, and to learn a few things and evaluate whether I wanted to do this more seriously in the future.

    My first race was at the Boulevard Cup in Kansas City, KS, part of the Series60 CX series around Kansas City. This was held at the same place as the 2007 Kansas City Cyclocross National Championships. I got there a couple of hours early to check stuff out, and I rode around the course a bit, and only saw two dismount opportunities per 2 mile lap. First was a set of barriers, and then a set of stairs. What made them tricky was that the section where you would typically remount were off-camber, and your bike would be a lot higher than what you would normally practice with. So instead of futzing with a wild remount, I just switched the bike to my other side and remounted with the bike below me. Seemed to work well, at least until I become a cross pro.

    So let's get on to the race. There were 55 guys in my class, probably the largest class of the day. We all lined up on a 400-yard section of pavement, and then the whistle blew. A mass sprint ensued, and at the end of the pavement you dove off into the grass. There were lots of power hills (short steep pitches), off-camber sections, and lots of playing around in the gullies. There were a few crashes, and I managed to stay clear of those. I had my heart rate monitor on, and it instantaneously exploded. I finally shut it off after about eight minutes, and it showed an average of 185, max 196. Which is about 8 beats higher than what it should be (220 - your age). Cool.

    I just kept chugging along, although my seat post broke about 10 minutes into the race, causing the nose of my saddle to go sky ward. I had my nose down about one degree, but it was a solid ten degrees up plus it had fallen way out of position. Not only was it uncomfortable, but it forced by back into a way sharper "C" position than I was used to, so I'll be visiting the Chiro today. I tried to pound the saddle back into position, but it just didn't work.

    All in all, I consider the race a success. I didn't take last place, and I learned a lot. Once I get some more training in, I'll anxious to do another, maybe in a month or so. I sure didn't enjoy the race while I was doing it, but once I was done, I had that notion that I could do better and I think I should go for it.

    A few random notes I had:

    1) The disparity in talent between myself and the leaders was huge. I didn't get lapped until later in the race, but those guys seemed to be pretty good. Definitely have put in a few more miles/races than I have.

    2) I looked like a rookie out there in a mtb jersey with all of the skin suits out there. CX doesn't seem to be a very beginnerish type of sport. There were a few MTB's out there, but a vast majority were pretty nice CX specific steeds, even in the Cat 4 class.

    3) The suffering was as advertised. There just was very little chance to recover, and it makes me anxious to put in some more hours training so I can be a bit more competitive.

    4) I did a pretty good job warming up, and I drank a crap load of water. I think that was good, as I wasn't really dehydrated when I finished.

    5) This sport is very fun and family friendly. As most races around here are held at parks, it gives the kids something to do while the old man (or old lady) is out there sucking the oxygen out of the air.

    Thanks to everyone here that helped steer me along. I'm anxious to try it again after my back un-compresses and I get some more miles on these old legs.

  2. #2
    Senior Member hocker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fatroadie View Post
    A few random notes I had:

    1) The disparity in talent between myself and the leaders was huge. I didn't get lapped until later in the race, but those guys seemed to be pretty good. Definitely have put in a few more miles/races than I have.

    2) I looked like a rookie out there in a mtb jersey with all of the skin suits out there. CX doesn't seem to be a very beginnerish type of sport. There were a few MTB's out there, but a vast majority were pretty nice CX specific steeds, even in the Cat 4 class.

    3) The suffering was as advertised. There just was very little chance to recover, and it makes me anxious to put in some more hours training so I can be a bit more competitive.

    4) I did a pretty good job warming up, and I drank a crap load of water. I think that was good, as I wasn't really dehydrated when I finished.

    5) This sport is very fun and family friendly. As most races around here are held at parks, it gives the kids something to do while the old man (or old lady) is out there sucking the oxygen out of the air.
    Congrats on the first race!
    1-2) No kidding. I can't believe how fast some people are in the 4s. I think there should be a Cat 5, or "beginner" category and after 3-5 races you should be forced to move up. It depends on the promoter I think as to whether there is a "beginner" category or not. I was told 4s were beginner, but there are guys that have been in this cat for years. You need tight fitting clothes, it is a must...but don't you have a high end CX bike? 3) You never recover, but there are times for a respite. 5) Yeah, I love the family friendly aspect of cross. Road racing (RR, hill climbs) and road training you can be out there for hours and hours. At a cross races my wife gets a coffee, brings the dog and we are home by noon for honey-dos.

  3. #3
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Nice. Extra suffering inflicted by the seat post -- as if CX wasn't painful enough!

    There's no better training than racing. Well, maybe there is, I don't know, but you don't usually get the same euphoria from training that you get at the end of a race.

    We have a specific beginner class around here, but that doesn't prevent the huge disparity. Yesterday, something like 70 out of 108 guys finished a lap down, and the guy who won has four second place and two first place finishes in six races this year, but it is his first year so I guess I can't call him a sandbagger yet.

  4. #4
    In the top 42% ridethatbike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hocker View Post
    Congrats on the first race!
    You need tight fitting clothes, it is a must...but don't you have a high end CX bike?
    Think Chris Farley in Tommy-Boy (Fat guy in a little coat). Ok, I'm not that bad. Wouldn't mind dropping another 10 lbs before I start getting too carried away in lycra-land. And high end CX bike? I guess, I don't know. I'd say mid-pack.

    Thanks for the congrats though. There is a race in less than 3 weeks, but I'm looking closer at the new year's eve race. That would give me some time to get some miles in and drop those lbs. Plus get a new seatpost. Maybe I'll catch another race between now and then. Depends on the scheduling of life and everything. I definitely like cross, but not so much (at this point) to start re-arranging life for it.

  5. #5
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    Great race report. But 220 - Age is a (persistent) myth.

  6. #6
    Munchin' and rollin' chuongdoan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fatroadie View Post
    1) The disparity in talent between myself and the leaders was huge. I didn't get lapped until later in the race, but those guys seemed to be pretty good. Definitely have put in a few more miles/races than I have.

    2) I looked like a rookie out there in a mtb jersey with all of the skin suits out there. CX doesn't seem to be a very beginnerish type of sport. There were a few MTB's out there, but a vast majority were pretty nice CX specific steeds, even in the Cat 4 class.
    That field was HUGE. Must've been the weather and free beer. If you started anywhere behind the 2nd row, you had no chance of placing top 10. By the time the back row clips in, the front of the group is already 20 seconds ahead. Next time, preregister if you can. I started 2nd row and it was a mad sprint from the get go and I was redlining as soon as we started up the first long grassy false flat. They were just hammering the hell out of it up there. Believe me, all of them were hurting bad.

    Yeah a lot more roadies around here are signing up for cross this year. A majority of the guys that finished ahead of you are Cat3's and 4's on the road and have been racing all year long. Like you said, its nowhere near a true "beginner" category. Not even close. Even the 35+ cat4 field is hard as hell.

    Don't worry about looking like a noobie. Every single guy out there started out the same way. No one is gonna look down on you- at least not the cool ones. Screw the snobs. Keep practicing and keep coming back. You'd be surprised at how much progress you can make within a short amount of time. There are guys that normally smoke me on the road who I have beaten this year in cross. Its a totally different game.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
    Nice. Extra suffering inflicted by the seat post -- as if CX wasn't painful enough!

    There's no better training than racing. Well, maybe there is, I don't know, but you don't usually get the same euphoria from training that you get at the end of a race.

    We have a specific beginner class around here, but that doesn't prevent the huge disparity. Yesterday, something like 70 out of 108 guys finished a lap down, and the guy who won has four second place and two first place finishes in six races this year, but it is his first year so I guess I can't call him a sandbagger yet.
    He is a sandbagger

    you can tell the officials he has 2 wins, auto upgrade, or tell him to read the rule book. He should not be a cat 4 anymore.
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  8. #8
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    I got to experience the saddle tilt first hand today. Sometime around the second or third lap, I heard a crack and the saddle was pointing up. Next time I went over a barrier, I hit the front of the saddle hard and it snapped back, but over the rest of the race it continued working it's way loose. By the end of the race, my saddle was like a rocking chair. That's no fun, but it is something you can ride through.

  9. #9
    BAM! theextremist04's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuongdoan View Post
    That field was HUGE. Must've been the weather and free beer. If you started anywhere behind the 2nd row, you had no chance of placing top 10. By the time the back row clips in, the front of the group is already 20 seconds ahead. Next time, preregister if you can. I started 2nd row and it was a mad sprint from the get go and I was redlining as soon as we started up the first long grassy false flat. They were just hammering the hell out of it up there. Believe me, all of them were hurting bad.
    Yeah, I considered myself lucky when they were doing callups and I managed to get in the front row! I should've hammered harder, I probably could've gained 10 spots over where I finished.

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