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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 11-16-05, 04:11 PM   #1
danimal
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first race...category?...advice?

so i've been a pretty dedicated roadie/fixed gear rider for a few years and have always wanted to try cross. a friend of mine is loaning me his bike and giving me a ride to flagstaff for the race. the bike is kinda big for me (a 56 and i ride a 54 on the road), but i figure for a chance to try out the sport i can deal with a big bike for the day.

my question is (1) what category should i race? i'm debating between B and collegiate, although since B starts at 9 and collegiate is at 10:30 i could try both (that is, if i'm not totally exhausted after the first race). -i don't know, i've raced two crits in a day before, but as i read old threads it sounds like cross will kick my a$$ in a whole new way...any thoughts from experienced riders? and (2) what should i be working on to prepare for the race? i'm trying to get the mount/dismount thing down (with limited success) and otherwise i'm at a loss as to what to even expect? (3) what do you wear for races in cold(er) weather? the coldest i've really raced (road) in is ~50degrees and that was a road race where i could peel-off arm warmers as i heated up. it's supposed to be somewhere in the low-40s in flagstaff...any advice?

thanks in advance...
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Old 11-16-05, 07:44 PM   #2
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1. what cat do you ride on the road? if i were you id race c's. you will be amazed how fast ppl are. generally the c's are early in the day, so if you do well you can always do another race if you have anything left in the tank.

2. definetly practice mounts and dismounts. and practice getting back up to "cruising speed" quickly after you remount. the starts are FAST -- basically a sprint, so get to the line early and be warmed up and ready to hammer. dont eat anything for 2 hrs previous to the race...fluids and gel packs are ok. try to get a good start so that you dont get trapped in a bottleneck when the course narrows. make sure you PLACE your bike down after carrying it...dont plop it down because you will likely drop your chain. dont "jump" back on your seat...try to simply swing your leg over the saddle in one fluid motion. make sure your cleats and pedals are in good shape and working properly. be prepared to be at your redline for the entire time -- if you are resting you are doing something wrong. pre-ride the course and make sure to get your tire pressure right. ideally, you want to run the lowest pressure you can get away with without flatting/bottoming out. bring a spare set of wheels to put in the pit if you have them. if the course is dry and flat/fast, you can run higher tire pressures. definetly wear glasses, and full-fingered gloves are always a good idea. unless its frigid i always wear shorts or knickers, and a jersey with or without arm warmers. you will be working so hard and in so much pain that you wont notice or care how wet/cold/hot you are....but dont make the mistake of wearing too much. you will be going all out so you will get warm. start hydrating the night before. you wont have time to drink during the race (and take off your cages if you have them).
also, you can use embrocation if it gets cold to help loosen up/protect your muscles/skin. and if its really cold you can protect/open up your chest with some vicks menthol rub. bring warm dry clothes/hat, etc for after the race. bring a recovery drink/food. try to keep your bike as clean as possible b4 the race if it is muddy...a clean bike is a fast bike. have run and ride hard. soon you will be hooked. cx rocks.
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Old 11-17-05, 05:42 PM   #3
danimal
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thanks for the advice....

for some reason i hadn't really thought of how hard people are probably going to be going from the start. i race road cat 4 and since there's no C field i'll race in the Bs on sunday. as i was practicing my mounts/dismounts/shouldering/runups this morning i kept thinking of your quote: "if you are resting you are doing something wrong" -a little pre-race mantra
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Old 11-17-05, 07:15 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danimal
thanks for the advice....

for some reason i hadn't really thought of how hard people are probably going to be going from the start. i race road cat 4 and since there's no C field i'll race in the Bs on sunday. as i was practicing my mounts/dismounts/shouldering/runups this morning i kept thinking of your quote: "if you are resting you are doing something wrong" -a little pre-race mantra
yes, ppl will go hard from the start. it has often been said that a cx race is like a crit with the sprint at the beginning. have fun and post a report after your race.
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