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  1. #1
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Short track racing

    Does anyone here have experience with short track racing?

    I'm signed up to do my first race tonight, and I have no idea what I'm getting myself into. I've seen pictures from the races, but that doesn't really tell me much.

    My background: I'm a really slow cyclocross junkie, looking to get a summer fix. I don't really do any mountain biking, so my handling skills need work and I hope this will help. I'm not even sure I have a good bike for this, though I have several that could be passable.

    So...

    1. What should I expect? It looks like cyclocross without getting off your bike, but I'm sure that must be a ridiculous oversimplification.

    2. Which of the following bikes would be least poorly suited to this: (a) Marin Muirwoods 29er with drop bars and MTB tires (i.e. frankenbike commuter in MTB wannabe configuration), (b) 1989 RockHopper (i.e. over-the-hill MTB turned commuter), or (c) Kona Jake (i.e. entry-level cyclocross bike). For tonight the question is moot, because the Jake is currently disassembled for maintenance and I don't have knobbies for the RockHopper, but I could have one of the others ready next week. Do the fat tires on the MTB's justify the extra 7 pounds these bike weigh? Would the smaller tires of the RockHopper make it more suitable than the 29er?

    3. Any last minute tips you can give me?

  2. #2
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    So I showed up and a bunch of snobs gave me a hard time about still having mechanical disc brakes on my bike... Oh wait, wrong thread.

    Anyway, it was pretty fun. I sucked, which I expected, and bonked after two laps, which I totally didn't expect. The biggest difference, from a slow beginner's perspective, that I see between CX and STXC is this. In CX, you can generally avoid crashing just by slowing down. In STXC, there were a lot of places where I had to go faster to avoid crashing. I also figured out the trick to doing a controlled slide through gravel by tapping my rear break. That alone was worth the price of admission.

    My shoulder muscles and triceps were really sore afterward. I felt like I had just done about 100 push-ups. Can I blame my rigid fork for that? I realize poor conditioning is probably the real culprit, but what I mean is, would that be easier with a suspension fork?

  3. #3
    Gravity hunter dminor's Avatar
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    Probably . . . and you'll probably notice an improvement with mountain bars (even flat ones). Now I know short track is little more than a dirt crit, but, still, you're giving up some useful leverage and a more suitable riding position with drops (IMO).

    Glad you enjoyed the experience.

    BTW, with more leverage and experience, you may find you can induce nice, controlled slides in gravel by pitching it sideways sans brakes. It's a rush.

  4. #4
    Gravity hunter dminor's Avatar
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    Probably . . . and you'll probably notice an improvement with mountain bars (even flat ones). Now I know short track is little more than a dirt crit, but, still, you're giving up some useful leverage and a more suitable riding position with drops (IMO).

    Glad you enjoyed the experience.

    BTW, with more leverage and experience, you may find you can induce nice, controlled slides in gravel by pitching it sideways sans brakes. It's a rush.

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