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  1. #1
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    Question First Race - Help!

    So, I'm going to do my first race either on the 31th or one of the first weeks in November. I've read through some of the Beginners thread and looked at some youtube videos on mounting/dismounting, etc. but still have some questions.

    I'm planning to ride a rigid Specialized Rockhopper with my spd's. I tested mounting/dismounting this evening and noticed that one side of my left hand pedal seems to be harder to release than the other side (they are double-sided). I messed with the tension, but can't seem to get it right. Anyone else have similar problems?

    Will regular MTb tires work just to try it out, or should I get something more cross-friendly?

    Would you all recommend I race in the U19 category or the Novice Category? In some races there is a U16 category as well - I turned 16 a few months ago; am I still eligible?

    Sorry for all the questions
    1984 Club Fuji
    Early 1980's Bianchi Randonneur
    2000 Rocky Mountain Vapor
    2004 Giant OCR1

  2. #2
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    I don't know about the pedal issue. My 4-sided pedals don't have that problem.

    MTB tires are just fine fore starting out. They'll be a little slower on pavement and hardpack, but they'll give you better handling in the technical parts. Just be sure to keep the pressure low.

    Around here some of the junior racers are crazy fast. The fastest juniors are definitely much faster than the fastest beginners. The fast riders are also very aggressive. The slowest beginners tend to have really poor bike handling skills, making riding with them a challenge at times. If you want to be competitive eventually, you're probably better off riding with your age group. Just expect to get whooped by the winners. You probably can't do U16, as your racing age tends to be what your age will be at the end of the year.

    Above all, just go out and have fun.

  3. #3
    Mud, Gore & Guts eddubal's Avatar
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    Welcome to the sport! You'll have a load of fun. You probably won't be able to do U16, but the U19 will serve you well. Since its your first season, do what you can, pick up tips, learn the sport and just ride. Above all have fun. If it's not fun, it's not worth doing.

    You can use your MTB tires in most races that you'll be doing, so don't worry about them. If you want to try skinny tires, I recommend Schwalbe CX-Pro 26" tires. I run them on an old MTB with good results. You'll need to dial in the tire pressure since they're not as forgiving as wider tires.

    It sounds like your pedals are misadjusted. You need to adjust both sides of each pedal at the same time. Loosen the spring tension as much as you can on both sides. Instead of steady turning, it will want to stop at detent points along the way. As you tighten them again, count the detents and tighten each side the same number of clicks. Do the same with the other pedal, using your first pedal for the number of clicks to tighten it. If it's still odd, you will have to try each side and tighten or loosen until they feel the same. Also check your cleats to make sure they are in good condition. That will help.

    Have a good race!

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    check your cleats too - they could be worn.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by eddubal View Post
    Welcome to the sport! You'll have a load of fun. You probably won't be able to do U16, but the U19 will serve you well. Since its your first season, do what you can, pick up tips, learn the sport and just ride. Above all have fun. If it's not fun, it's not worth doing.

    You can use your MTB tires in most races that you'll be doing, so don't worry about them. If you want to try skinny tires, I recommend Schwalbe CX-Pro 26" tires. I run them on an old MTB with good results. You'll need to dial in the tire pressure since they're not as forgiving as wider tires.

    It sounds like your pedals are misadjusted. You need to adjust both sides of each pedal at the same time. Loosen the spring tension as much as you can on both sides. Instead of steady turning, it will want to stop at detent points along the way. As you tighten them again, count the detents and tighten each side the same number of clicks. Do the same with the other pedal, using your first pedal for the number of clicks to tighten it. If it's still odd, you will have to try each side and tighten or loosen until they feel the same. Also check your cleats to make sure they are in good condition. That will help.

    Have a good race!
    Thanks for all the help. I adjusted my pedals, and they feel better, although I won't be able to ride until tomorrow. I've read about the Cx 26" tires, but I think that I'll use regular tires that I have laying around. In general though, I should go with something that has larger spaces between the knobs, right?
    Also..I guess the consensus is that I should do U19 then?
    1984 Club Fuji
    Early 1980's Bianchi Randonneur
    2000 Rocky Mountain Vapor
    2004 Giant OCR1

  6. #6
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    Turn the tension all the way to the left to loosen it. That seems to work best - assuming your cleats are in decent shape. As the cleat wears, you'll need to tighten it back.

  7. #7
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    I took it for a ride today and It's definitely better. I actually ended up tightening one tension bolt a bit to get it to have less tension.
    1984 Club Fuji
    Early 1980's Bianchi Randonneur
    2000 Rocky Mountain Vapor
    2004 Giant OCR1

  8. #8
    sqrl misskaz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vincavinz View Post
    I took it for a ride today and It's definitely better. I actually ended up tightening one tension bolt a bit to get it to have less tension.
    Somewhat counter-intuitively, I like a little more tension rather than less -- too much float and my shoes can wiggle back and forth a LOT before they pop out. Tighter and they pop out more cleanly, in my very limited experience.

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