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Recreational Cyclocross and Gravelbiking This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

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Old 10-24-05, 07:16 PM   #1
gonesh9
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How's your cyclocross season been going?

Here we are in the heart of cyclocross season, and there isn't much discussion of experiences at races. How have the courses been? What about the competition?

Here in Portland we basically have the Cross Crusade series, which is a race almost every weekend somewhere in the outskirts of town. The organizers do a great job of putting on a unique series, while also keeping it super laid back and fun. Beer is the ultimate object of attention throughout the races, if that gives any clue as to the atmosphere here.

A small local bike shop in town called Veloshop has also done a fantastic job of putting on a few well planned races. We all hope to see them put more on in the future.

That all said, this is my first season racing cross and I love it. I thought I'd start in the Men's Beginner level, but it was quickly apparent I needed to move up a category to Men's C. I ride a SS, but the SS division here is full of A-level riders. They race with the B's, and a lot of them get better times than the B's, even with only one gear. It's been a good time in the last few in C's, I've done alright. My goal is to work a little harder and come back strong next year in the SS category.

I'm really hooked.
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Old 10-24-05, 08:26 PM   #2
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i've done three so far in the c group, finishing in the middle/bottom half. i think 26th out of like 40 last race. floors me how hard it is, and how fast the really fast guys are. next one is this weekend.
one mistake i've been making is not getting there early enough to ride the course beforehand. i'm quickly realizing how key this is.
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Old 10-24-05, 10:41 PM   #3
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my season is going pretty well. i'm racing in the northeast in the mens C's and B's. After 3 top five finishes in the C's i moved up to B's, and i just had a 2 top ten finishes this weekend. i'm looking forward to gloucester next weekend. its been a pretty muddy season so far. and this past sunday we had snow!
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Old 10-25-05, 07:59 AM   #4
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I envy you. Gonesh9. I lived in Portland last year and raced the CC series. Damn, I miss Portland! The cyclocross scene was so laid back and fun.

Back here in the Twin Cities, we have something like 11 cyclocross races this season. We don't get the 600+ riders that you guys get -- more like 200.

Anyway, I started racing singlespeed this year, but we don't have a singlespeed category, so I'm racing B's. It turns out that I place about the same as always, middle of the pack. I guess multiple gears really don't make much of a difference in the B's.

We had a race on Sunday that involved a long, steep descent, with a flat run out to a double hurdle, that involved scrubbing off a bit of speed before dismounting. I was behind some dude on his left, we were both partially dismounted -- left leg clipped-in, right leg ready to dismount, when I decided to swerve around to his right -- Bad idea! He hit the brakes hard to check his speed, and my front wheel got swept out to the left as I tried to get on his right side. Well, I remember seeing the ground coming up fast. I instinctively tensed-up every muscle in my neck. I hit the ground HEAD FIRST -- my helmet literally breaking my fall, at about 16 miles per hour. The spectators were impressed with my perfect a$$-over-tea-kettle wipe-out. I got back up, amazed that I could move my limbs -- nothing broken. Checked my bike -- wheels true. Holy Crap! I survived. Well, I got back on the bike and kept on riding to the cheers of the spectators. My right brake lever was bent inward about 30 degrees, but it didn't matter. I didn't have a lot of energy left after the adrenaline surge wore off. I got lapped by the leaders -- a phenomenon that has NEVER happened to me in the B's, so I knew I was off my game. Well, it wasn't until I crossed the finish line that I noticed how serious that crash could have been. My helmet, which was now adorned with a tuft of grass and dirt, had one huge crack up the left side, with a network of smaller cracks running throughout. I had shattered my helmet, but my skull was intact. Yay, Giro helmets!

Hopefully, the rest of the season will be less eventful.
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Old 10-25-05, 09:05 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lunacycle
We had a race on Sunday that involved a long, steep descent, with a flat run out to a double hurdle, that involved scrubbing off a bit of speed before dismounting. I was behind some dude on his left, we were both partially dismounted -- left leg clipped-in, right leg ready to dismount, when I decided to swerve around to his right -- Bad idea! He hit the brakes hard to check his speed, and my front wheel got swept out to the left as I tried to get on his right side. Well, I remember seeing the ground coming up fast. I instinctively tensed-up every muscle in my neck. I hit the ground HEAD FIRST -- my helmet literally breaking my fall, at about 16 miles per hour. The spectators were impressed with my perfect a$$-over-tea-kettle wipe-out. I got back up, amazed that I could move my limbs -- nothing broken. Checked my bike -- wheels true. Holy Crap! I survived. Well, I got back on the bike and kept on riding to the cheers of the spectators. My right brake lever was bent inward about 30 degrees, but it didn't matter. I didn't have a lot of energy left after the adrenaline surge wore off. I got lapped by the leaders -- a phenomenon that has NEVER happened to me in the B's, so I knew I was off my game. Well, it wasn't until I crossed the finish line that I noticed how serious that crash could have been. My helmet, which was now adorned with a tuft of grass and dirt, had one huge crack up the left side, with a network of smaller cracks running throughout. I had shattered my helmet, but my skull was intact. Yay, Giro helmets!

Hopefully, the rest of the season will be less eventful.
Powderhorn Park was a great course and tough as hell. I raced As and had no legs which was very apparent after 3 or 4 laps. I was lapped by Doug, as was most of the field, and was just happy to know that meant one less lap as I was completely drilled. My legs still hurt as I type this.
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Old 10-25-05, 11:05 AM   #6
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I haven't raced for two years. I'm 20 pounds over race weight. I finish midpack in the C race. I'm nursing various injuries. But I'm still happy to put the hurt on some guys I've raced with. And race with guys half my age. I'm motivated every weekend to go out and kick some serious A**, even it is mostly my own getting kicked. The local race scene in St Louis is small but growing, maybe 100 per day, fields of 20 or 30 per race? Fun and fitness, that's what its all about for me.
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Old 10-25-05, 12:31 PM   #7
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Mine hasn't started yet because I got sick and had to go to damn weddings

But my team ran one last weekend that went pretty well. I helped to set it up and maybe thats why I got sick, I was really afraid to race it because it was so brutal. No rest periods at all. Paved sections up hill and barriers on a sloping down hill section.

This Sunday I do my first race in the North Carolina series. My goal was to do well in Mens B's and possibly upgrade to A's to take a serious ass woopin for the winter series. But as it is I got more damn weddings to go to and so I will be lucky to be a series contender.

The local college team sets up a course every Wednesday which has been a lot of fun and good training.
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Old 10-25-05, 03:12 PM   #8
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I do the WMCX League over here in England. we don't have as main categories as over in the states. I have been gradually improving 3 laps down in my first 2 races, 3rd race just managed to avoid being lapped for the second time by Steve Knight (defending league champion and ex national Champion).

This weekend was going well, and was only lapped by steve with 2 laps to go so hoping to avoid being lapped before the season finishes
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Old 10-25-05, 04:03 PM   #9
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I am racing single speed in the B's in the Minnesota series like lunacycle. It is my first year racing 'cross (although I rode in some practice races locally last year) and I am having a blast, even though I am an undertrained mediocre rider at the moment. Anyway, 5 races left and I hope to race 4 of them.
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Old 10-26-05, 07:49 AM   #10
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Wow lunacycle. Way to stay alive and to KEEP racing!

This is my first year racing 'cross and yup I'm totally hooked. We have the Chicago Cyclocross Cup (chicrosscup.com) here and so far I've done two stages in both the Men's C class and the Singlspeed/Men's B class. My m.o. so far has been to place dead last in singlespeed (which I could rephrase as "top ten finishes") and place in the middle of the Men's C. On one hand I'd like to try just racing in the C class to see if I can improve my placing, but on the other racing is just so much fun that I want to get in as much as possible this season.

Question to all 2 or more class racers: Do you think you would place higher if you only raced 1 class?

jeff

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Originally Posted by lunacycle
I hit the ground HEAD FIRST -- my helmet literally breaking my fall, at about 16 miles per hour.
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Old 10-26-05, 08:22 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stickerguy
Wow lunacycle. Way to stay alive and to KEEP racing!

This is my first year racing 'cross and yup I'm totally hooked. We have the Chicago Cyclocross Cup (chicrosscup.com) here and so far I've done two stages in both the Men's C class and the Singlspeed/Men's B class. My m.o. so far has been to place dead last in singlespeed (which I could rephrase as "top ten finishes") and place in the middle of the Men's C. On one hand I'd like to try just racing in the C class to see if I can improve my placing, but on the other racing is just so much fun that I want to get in as much as possible this season.

Question to all 2 or more class racers: Do you think you would place higher if you only raced 1 class?

jeff
Are you racing twice in one day?
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Old 10-26-05, 08:29 AM   #12
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Nevermind, I see that you are racing back-to-back races.
You may do better giving more effort to one race instead of
spreading across two back-to-back.
Look at the times and see how close you are in either field
and try to move up in the field that has competition that is
closer to your own level.
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Old 10-26-05, 11:56 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stickerguy
Wow lunacycle. Way to stay alive and to KEEP racing!
Thanks, stickerguy! It sure beats the alternative. I can't wait to get back in the game this Saturday and Sunday!
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Old 10-26-05, 12:22 PM   #14
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There's no question that I'd do better by just racing in the C class, but if the only
benefit is being the top of the middle than I think I'd rather race in two classes
and gain that experience. I am treating this season as a "gain race experience
season" so that I can be more competitive in my right class next year. Oh and
in general, have fun

jeff

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You may do better giving more effort to one race instead of
spreading across two back-to-back.
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Old 10-26-05, 01:20 PM   #15
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Hey gonesh9
I’m also here in Oregon, over in Bend and my season has been super, and I’m in the Masters B’s. man it’s a fast bunch of dudes! I have a 15th, 21st and last weekend 27th I just suck at bumpy courses.
5 years ago when there was only one masters class I was in the top 10 every week, now I can’t even get in to the top 10 in the masters B. but the B’s are faster then the old single masters class. And as you know the Cross Crusade is some much bigger then 5 years ago, we had 562 racers last weekend.
So all in all I’m having a super season for a 47 year old,
Boy some times I wish I were 50, but dam there fast to! Ha ha
See ya this weekend.
Dan…
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Old 10-26-05, 02:04 PM   #16
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This is my 1st year of cross Nor Cal and I am hooked on the adrenaline rush it brings. I am sticking with the Men's C's this year mainly for experience. I think I could move up to the B's but I am having fun in the C's plus the races are a bit shorter so all is good. My long term goal is to put in 4 good years or racing then race 35+ Men's A and hopefully do well.
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Old 10-26-05, 09:26 PM   #17
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Hi everyone!!! I did my second race this last Sunday. My first cross race (literally) had this awful run-up, it was like over 70 feet!!!! and steep. The running portions of that race were significant, people flatted out a lot, so I ended up getting 3rd place in the women's B race. BTW...during the race I was thinking, "This is the most pain I've experienced riding a bike, worse than a TT". Afterwards I was told the course was not the typical type cross race, so decided to go ahead and participate in other races.

My second race was this past Sunday. It was, I'm told, a more traditional cross race, it wound about all through this park, was fairly techinical, a lot of turns, mud, gravel, off camber turns, more barriors, all set in a very green & pretty landscape. I race in the women's B and the field was large for us down here in So CA, there were ten of us ladies.

The race began, took off fairly quick to jump ahead of others to get ahead on the single-track, having a great time, albeit painful, came to this 180 degree, off camber turn, (I had been warned about this one), made it and continued. During the first lap, it was a cat and mouse game with these three other women, one would get ahead, I'd pass, ect. By the second lap, fatigued began to set in, I missed two turns, so ended up going further than I should have, knowing these other women were close behind. Then when I came to, "carnage" corner, that 180 degree turn in loose gravel, appearantly, my front wheel hit the lip of the curb and SLAM down I went, both wheels just washed out from underneath me. I was so pumped and full of adrenaline, I immediately jumped up, didn't want my competitors to get me. As I hopped on my bike started to pedal, damn chain had fallen off, so quickly dismounted, threw it back on. By now, these others had gotten close to me, I was getting pretty fried by now, not long after, a couple of these women passed but I was still keeping this one behind me.
The final part of this particular course had some straight aways, I was close to blowing up and I could practically feel this one woman' s breath. I knew I was in trouble, see this gal rides every weekend on the kick ass local ride and i know she is way strong-stronger than I-in fact, I was surprised she hadn't passed me by this point. However, I knew she was just waiting, waiting for those final areas where the technical part of the course smooths out, sure enough, I was gassed and she passed.
Rolled across the finish line, thankful the women's B is only a 35 minute race. Once I stopped, I looked down at the blood dripping down my leg and the what was now becoming quite painful area on my left arm. Hmm...wouldn't you know, the one area of the course that was not grass, dirt, was the area I fell on, the asphalt, so I had a nice case of road rash!!! Isn't it amazing what adrenaline will do? I was actually pretty banged up, and yet I barely acknowledged/noticed pain when i fell.
It turns out I came in last. ::::::::::: I know, *$%@ happens...and it did in this race.

Afterall, I'm racing on a very heavy steel framed old mtn bike, fat mtn bike tires with goop in the tubes, lol, and no clipless pedals.

BTW...what is up with these Norba chicks who are like almost pro riders entering the women's B races when they should be racing in the Women's A races? Isn't that kinda sandbagging/cherry picking? Pisses me off, I'll tell ya!!!
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Old 10-27-05, 06:34 AM   #18
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TSG welcome to cyclocross

Sounds like you had a lot of fun and now are hooked. I love the cat and mouse game when you are racing with a group of riders of similar strengths. That’s the way cross is. For me I make my time on the pavement and hard single track or fields but loose it all on technical corners ect... So you jive in with some one who is strong at just the opposite of your capabilities and its a great racing experience. And just because someone is strong on the road definitely does not mean they can race cross. I am a cat 4 and train with a group that includes some local pro's and I kicked there ass on the cross course, of course this was their first year trying so it's only a matter of time till the skills catch up

Pro’s none the less should not be racing B’s that’ for sure. Unless perhaps they just are out to try cross maybe and they are not very good at it. Where I race you can pick your category but if you dominate and or win three first place races they will push you up.
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Old 10-27-05, 07:55 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stickerguy
Question to all 2 or more class racers: Do you think you would place higher if you only raced 1 class?
I race both B and C, but not necessarily on the same day. If i race twice, I usually try to save some energy for the higher class (B), and just use the C race as a warmup. The problem is that lots of times the B and C races are back to back, so there's not always time to recover.

But soon i'm just going to move up to B permanently and leave it all out on the course. This year I have been racing B's at smaller races, and C's at the big ones where there's lots of competition.
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