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  1. #1
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    Sucking at Cross Sucks!

    This is my third year racing Cat 4 (I'm 44 and never raced previous to getting involved with Cross). I love it - but, man, after a while it really sucks finishing in the bottom of the pack.

    Year 1, I was just getting the hang of it. Year 2, I got better techique and made some bike upgrades. This year, I really worked on fitness - I mean, I'm in the best shape of my life -but just had my first race and finished 8th from last. I know I'm only doing it for fun - but jeez - with all the training, I expected a better finish. In fact, last year, I finished middle of the pack in the same race. On a positive note - I felt really good in the race and for the first time ever, didn't have that 'praying for death' feeling. But, - I actually finished worse than last year. WTF?!

    I'm looking forward to my next race - until then - my self-loathing continues.

  2. #2
    Team Beer Cynikal's Avatar
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    Keep in mind that most of the roadies are still peaking from their season. You will start to place better as the season goes on. After having a baby this year (well not me but my wife...details, details) I will be bringing up the rear the whole season. I plan to fully embrace the suck.
    I'm not one for fawning over bicycles, but I do believe that our bikes communicate with us, and what this bike is saying is, "You're an idiot." BikeSnobNYC

  3. #3
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ambro View Post
    I felt really good in the race and for the first time ever, didn't have that 'praying for death' feeling.
    There's you're problem. You should have been going harder.

    Seriously, though, I feel your pain. I'm entering my fourth year at the bottom of the pack. I've shaved a couple of minutes from my best time on my commute, so I know I'm getting faster in some objective sense, but it isn't showing up on the CX course, where I'm 2 for 2 in DFLs this year.

  4. #4
    Senior Member david58's Avatar
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    Did my second race today, and realized that there are some guys that no matter how fit I could be (or in years past, could have been) I would never be able to keep up with. Tonite I progressed from mere survival to actually feeling like I was racing - I actually passed some folks (we will not discuss the ones that lapped me....). I am totally stoked by this crazy sport, but I realize I will never podium or in larger races ever gain a single point. If I can manage to have fun, increase my fitness, and actually achieve "race", then this silly sport has done its magic for me. Oh, yes, and if I can provide entertainment for just one person at the race (many of them the entertained will include my lovely bride, who is looking forward to administering the garden hose water after the race...). Work is such a high pressure drag, this is WONDERFUL in its ability to be a release and crazy fun.
    2011 BMC SR02; 2010 Fuji Cross Comp; n+1 on hold today, due to college tuition and a wedding. Some day, some where, over the rainbow, I will get that 29er....

  5. #5
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Don't sweat it. I'm one of those super-fit roadies (seriously, I have not had this kind of fitness since the kids were born) and I fully expect to be horrible at cross this fall. I've hardly run, haven't worked on any dismounting or remounting. I'll probably pass some people only to have them fly by me as I'm crashing into barriers or flailing on the ground with a foot still attached.

    We all suck. And that's what I love about cross.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  6. #6
    Overacting because I can SpongeDad's Avatar
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    I just pick the 2 or 3 guys who are finishing right a head of me and focus on trying to stay a head of them. Took me all season last year, but it was progress. Now I'm on to the next group of 2 or 3.
    “Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm." (Churchill)

    "I am a courageous cyclist." (SpongeDad)

  7. #7
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    Sucking at cross sucks -

    but it's so much more fun than sucking at so many other things!

  8. #8
    Foward Leaning Attitude rithem's Avatar
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    I'm in that boat ... Sunday's race front 20 first to laps then faded from 20th back to 61st after 8 laps... also not every course is ideal for each racers strengths. trying not to let it depress me

  9. #9
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by colobrio View Post
    Sucking at cross sucks -

    but it's so much more fun than sucking at so many other things!
    That's so true. I was just telling my nephew last night about how I was hit by cars twice in my first four months of biking to work. Sucking at cross is much better than sucking at bike commuting.

  10. #10
    old and in the way grueling's Avatar
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    +1

    I was almost not DFL in a race 3 years ago bu tthen I flatted.

    It is still great fun

  11. #11
    bf is my facebook. ljrichar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ambro View Post
    On a positive note - I felt really good in the race and for the first time ever, didn't have that 'praying for death' feeling.
    Definitely a problem. You should have nothing left in the tank & leave everything out on the course.

  12. #12
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    Did my first cross race toningt. Think I was last place. Only crashed once, got lost on the course, hit by rider and put in the brush. Still had a good time. Enjoyed it better than road racing and the TT.

  13. #13
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    We all find our limitations after the first couple of seasons, and then have to decide whether that's good enough or not. Do you enjoy it enough to keep doing it, even if you're not terribly good?

  14. #14
    Senior Member Debusama's Avatar
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    I have a fair amount of experience at sucking in all types of races and find that sucking at road racing is much worse. Being, or not being with the pack makes such a huge difference in how fast you can go that you're either with a pack or not. Even if you are a strong rider, but you get caught sleeping on the wrong wheel as the guy is popping, suddenly the pack rides away at 30 miles an hour and there is nothing you can do about it. Then the masters 50+ pack goes by, then the 60+, then the women. You get the occasional sympathetic “you can do it” or, “good job guy, just keep going” from the packs as the pass, which is meant to be encouraging but it's really more demoralizing. The nice thing about road riding is that you can always train yourself fit, and the kinds of skills needed (Holding a line, staying in the draft) are easy to learn, so you can will yourself not to suck.


    Off- road bike handling (power sliding around corners, becoming airborne and landing etc) seems to require a degree of inborn balance and coordination, or maybe it’s learned in childhood when some of the kids are building jumps, riding wheelies, hopping up and down on one wheel and all the other BMX tricks my mom would threaten take my bike away for even trying (that’s right, I’m blaming my mom). I mean, I have gotten better, but mostly it’s by finding ways to get around doing the things I suck at, not by actually getting good.


    I’m only in my second year of road racing, and although I’ll probably never win a cat 2 race, I have won some cat 5 & 4 races, and can pretty confidently say I don’t suck a road racing. Despite the fact that my first racing experience was on a mountain bike years before I even owned a road bike, the best I’ve done in any off-road race (CX or Mountain) has been mid-pack in a cat-4 race or just happy not to be DFL with the single-speeders. It’s a good damn thing racing off road is so much fun, because if I was doing it to win, I would have quit long ago.
    Cat-3 Fred

  15. #15
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    Sucking on the weekend makes me run harder during the week.

    By the end of the season I should be one fast runner.

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