hammer up the hills and coast down them?
As a roadie Im not sure I get how to ride a cx race.
..un less you can get over the hump faster with the bike on your shoulder, running.
might be loose soil and Muddy , and then you will bog down and get passed.
just ride your bike hard whenever you can as the course allows. accelerate (get out of the saddle!!) out of every corner and get back up to speed as quickly as possible. maintain your momentum through obstacles. mistakes will be made - minimize your own and capitalize on others.' know your strengths and weaknesses so you can manage them during the race - there's almost always a section(s) where you will rock and others where you will suck. in some ways, cx is just damage control . .. .if you bobble and lose a few seconds, make it up somewhere. go hard, take chances, and keep racing even when it doesn't go as planned.
Hammer when you can.
Coast when you can't.
Do not use brakes unless absolutely necessary.
If you can't ride it, or if it's slower to ride it; run it.
Don't bunnyhop unless you can do it 100% of the time.
If nothing else, don't stop moving forward.
Your lungs and legs will be screaming, drool will be hanging from your mouth, but It's all good as long as you give it your all.
Have fun and enjoy yourself. It's only 40 minutes out of your week.
Above all, buy Simon Burney's book. It'll tell you just about everything that you really need to know.
52 closed, degenerate or unsupported objects rejected
I've been pondering this thread for over a week. I think eddubal pretty much has it nailed, but want to add a couple thoughts.
Because of the slow (relative to road racing) speeds, cross is much more of a pure endurance sport than road racing. In a crit, you might have to turn yourself inside-out to make the main selection, and then eventually the pace slackens. That would be suicide in a cross race, because it will just ruin the rest of your race.
How do you know if you are pacing yourself correctly? Lap times. You can use a wristwatch to grab them, you just have to remember to hit the lap button whenever you cross the start/finish.
Always be looking for the optimal line/strategy at every part of the course. It's not always obvious, especially since most course designers enjoy presenting you with dilemmas. But, in general, the default line is a late apex, especially entering a series of turns. Check out just how wide Tim Johnson takes the turn at 2:10, and how it sets him up for the rest of that section: http://vimeo.com/30940214
I view a one hour cross event as though it was a time trial. It's a time trial with nasty obstacles in your way. So basically it's balls to the wall the whole time. But like a TT you cannot over cook yourself at first. You go hard from the start and then settle in to the end. You have to find the right threshold to settle in at. IOW unlike a TT you also have some race dynamics to work with like race psychology, when to attack, when to look strong to trick your competition, even sometimes team tactics. So unlike a TT you may have to surge into the red zone for a bit and recover. But over all the psychical effort is very similar to a TT especially if you are alone off the front or chasing which happens in about 90% of the races you do.
If you don't talk to your cat about catnip, who will? =^.^=
In general, as long as the trail is straight/smooth enough to do so, I’m generally pedaling as hard as I can, regardless of whether there is an incline/ decline. I generally coast into corners and up to obstacles as I shed speed and catch my breath a little. The biggest surprise when I first did a cross race after racing road was how everyone sprinted off of the line. Generally, the race will start in a more open stretch of dirt road and then get onto trails. Once your hit the trail, if you get stuck behind a slower rider, you’ll be slowing down to his speed until you find an opportunity to pass and all the while the leaders are opening up more distance on you. The best time to get past people will be in the first few hundred feet.
The race is won off the start line, not at the finish line.
The importance of getting a fast start is dependent on the field size, the course, your line-up position, and your skill and fitness relative to other racers. If you go too hard on lap 1, you absolutely will pay for it for the rest of the race. It's not fun getting passed in the second half of a race.
In Cat4 races where I do have a chance, I've shown up late to the starting line and with a field twice the size of the SS field and been stuck waiting behind one excruciatingly slow person after another. At that point you'd be lucky to finish in the front half of the field and can pretty well kiss any podium aspirations goodbye, even if you are the strongest rider in the race.
There's an easy solution to getting stuck in large, slow cat 4 fields.
Been thinkin on this one for a while now. If you're going as fast as possible in a straight wouldn't you need to use the brakes entering a corner? If you can make the corner without braking wouldn't that mean you weren't moving as fast as possible in the straight? Educate me.Do not use brakes unless absolutely necessary.
I'm just starting my second season. Here's what I've learned so far.
Be aggressive at the start.
Fight hard for the corners.
Don't be afraid to get up close and personal with the tape.
Stay off your brakes as much as possible.
Spend the extra effort to get around sketchy riders even if they're not in your field.
Get your dismounts/remounts down.
Play to your strengths and work on your weaknesses.
Dig in where others get discouraged.
If you're pulling up to someone it's because they have dropped off the pace. Staying with them will only slow you down. Unless you're in the lead group think of it as a time trial, as has been said earlier.
Recovery is really the name of the game. Focusing on this has been huge for me. Sometimes the place to turn the screws is not on a big course feature (runup, climb), but after when the other guy is gasping for breath.
(I ride a SSCX and have found, to my surprise, that I often pass a lot of geared riders on the flat, packed straightaways where their higher gears should give them the advantage. I think they're using those sections to recover from the harder parts, either intentionally or unintentionally. Since I can't shift, I just focus on spinning my pedals as quickly as possible.)
Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!
Interesting observation, caloso. I kind of noticed the same thing last weekend. We had a lot of fire road and a beach section in the race I did. I would hit those and treat it just like I was riding a 2x20 threshold interval. I noticed a lot of people were just not comfortable at that pace. They seemed to go more at an SST pace. It's easy to just let up on the pedals a bit and make it hurt less. You've got to be willing to make it hurt, but at the same time not go so hard that you blow up. It's a tricky game.
On my geared bike I'm always clicking down to a tougher gear as soon as the hard part is over.
I've also learned that for me shouldering/running can help me recover. If riding is not clearly faster I'll often do that. It's also less risky. In my last race I finally dropped a guy on the runup when he tried to ride it and lost traction.
The ideal, kind of asholish, thing to do is draft a strong rider on the start/finish stretch, then come around him right before the course heads into the twisty-turnies. The best outcome is you gap him in the tougher sections and never see him again. At the very least, he has to spend more energy getting around you, after having pulled that entire stretch of pavement.