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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 10-05-02, 11:39 AM   #1
zlj75
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first cross race...

Doing my first cross race next weekend!! Excited and a bit nervous, I MTB 5-6 times a week, but I don't run at all. With just a week before the race is there anything extra I can do to get myself ready? Thanks. Zach
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Old 10-05-02, 04:46 PM   #2
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HI
I have been thinging of trying cyclocross myself. After reading a lot of the posts I decided to go out and practice getting on and off of the bike while moving. Its not as easy as it seems. The first time I was travelling to quick when I jumped off. I caught my balance and managed to run up the hill. When I placed the bike down I missed the pedal and managed to spread eagle on the bike. After several successful slower tries I was using a large concrete curb for an obstacle and came in to fast and to close and wiped out on the asphalt. So I would practice mounting and dismounting your bike and figure how you will pick it up in different situations.
Thats what Im doing anyway.
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Old 10-06-02, 07:51 AM   #3
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Thanks. I have been working on my dismounts, am just a little worried about my running abilities...oh well, I'll be so nervous the whole time anyway, figure I'll just see how it all unfolds. Thanks.
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Old 10-06-02, 05:09 PM   #4
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Do some running. Run about 20 minutes a couple of times a week. Trust me.

Dismounts... Coming into barriers on the level, you want to be rolling at about 15 km/h. Unclip and swing your right leg over the saddle, pas it between your left leg and the frame so that, as you clip out of the left pedal, you're leding with your right leg when you hit the ground running.

Mounts... The firtst thing to remember is that your saddle shouldn't be quite as high as on your road bike, but not as low as on a MTB. Practice without rolling first. Try swinging your right leg up and over the saddle, so you hit the saddle with the inside of your upper right thigh, and then slide over to sit on the saddle and clip in with your right foot. Now try it running. You don't have to JUMP, exactly, just swing your leg and hit the saddle. Once you have that, the jumping part comes easy...

Don't shoulder your bike over barriers -- it's a waste of energy.
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Old 10-08-02, 03:35 AM   #5
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Good advice...

It took me ages to get the courage up to leaping onto the bike, but with practice it does come.

I've put a few pointers on my website (plug, plug)

http://www.richmatthews.homestead.co...erooindex.html

Go to the technique section...it also gives tips on bunnyhopping obsticles, and race day preps.

My first race of the season is on the 20th Oct, but I haven't raced for about two years, so it should be good to get back into it.

Cheers

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Old 10-08-02, 12:00 PM   #6
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Velo and Rich are dead on with the practice suggestions. My first season I went to a local park and practiced dismounts over the concrete "curb" things in the parking lot.

I HATE to run but quickly learned that I need to run 1-2 times a week to keep myself from blowing up on the run ups. Really, like others will tell you , the running thing can depend upon the course you race. Some courses will have a hill run up, so the running fitness will help a bunch. If you're thin and got long legs, use that stride to get up the hill as fast as possible.

BTW, Simon Burney's book is a pretty good resource on all things cross.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...lance&n=507846
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Old 10-08-02, 12:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by zlj75
...I'll be so nervous the whole time anyway, figure I'll just see how it all unfolds....
You'll be fine. Years ago when I raced as a beginner, our races were 30 minutes. I though, no problem. Hell I should be able to WIN this. Boy was I wrong. I could not believe how damned hard it was.....My head was totally in a fog after the first lap. I saw stars 75% of the race and placed well in the back of the pack, but finished strong and weary.

Do you best to stay calm, and ride your own ride. Good Luck
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Old 10-09-02, 02:46 AM   #8
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Hehe,

That reminds me of every race I've been in!!

I can second the Simon Burney Book....great photo's and commentry. He read the article I left on amazon and e-mailed me to say thanks...what a nice guy!

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Old 10-09-02, 01:58 PM   #9
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Thanks for the responses guys. I have been thinking that I should go out as hard as possible and then just make people pass me...and maybe I can sustain it for the 30 minutes, but now I am not so sure, maybe I'll just stay as pack fodder?? What should a first time racer do, get the lay of the land in mid-pack, or try to go out hard?
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Old 10-09-02, 02:25 PM   #10
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Pre-ride the course a few times. Do the first two pre-rides easily and then do one at about 75-80% effort to get an idea of how it feels going fast. Then recover and stretch before the race.

If this is your first race and you're not in a beginner or sport category, go hard at the start and then ride your own race. If you're with experienced seniors or masters, you will have trouble holding onto the pack.

Expect to put out maximum effort for the whole race. You do not get recovery time. That means you'll be around 90-95% HR the whole time. It hurts a lot, but you'll survive.

The things you should train are:

Skills: You can lose 30 seconds to a minute every lap with bad transitions. Get your mounts and dismounts fairly smooth, and you'll be okay, even if you crawl over the barriers.

Starts: Practice starts until it HURTS. If you lose the pack right at the start, you'll never get it back. This is a psychological thing, not physical. It's hard to stay motivated when you get dropped like an old girlfriend before the first barriers.

Threshold: Go out and train for the race by trying to ride all out -- and I mean all-out until you feel like you're going to die -- for 20-40 minutes once a week. Also, do intervals. Riding above your anaerobic threshold for 40 minutes is a special kind of Hell... but you'll have to do it for more like an hour when you race.
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Old 10-12-02, 08:14 PM   #11
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Racing tomorrow at 10 am eastern time, so will let you know how I did. Thanks for all the info over the past week. Wish me luck. Zach
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Old 10-13-02, 08:46 PM   #12
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Well, it's all over now. Came in 30th place out of 40 in the Class C mens race. It was so much fun and I cannot wait for the next one. I decided to go out strong and then hold my position, this did not quite work for me. I started well and was posititoned just behind the front 10 or 11, and had a sizeable lead on the second big group (which included my friend who I wanted to beat), but I could not gain on the lead group, and just seemed stuck in no man's land. Then before I knew it I was going backwards with my buddy coming past me, then battled it out for 30th with a guy.
In retrospect it seems easier to move up than defend a position. Next time I plan on pacing myself a little better at the beginning and then poking up. I felt okay on the first lap, garbage on the second, okay on the third, and great on the last, but by that time I had no one to pass...oh well. Live and learn.
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Old 10-14-02, 04:34 AM   #13
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Hey Zach,

Congrats!! I remember I came 35th in my first race out of 40...and ended up tussling with this guy for over half the race....

I'm racing this coming weekend, and can't wait to get back into it

Cheers

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Old 10-17-02, 01:02 PM   #14
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Good luck this weekend Rich, and everyone else.
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Old 10-17-02, 02:55 PM   #15
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Thanks Rich. Good luck!!

Think I'm going to do another one on the 26th...I'm ready for more pain!
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Old 10-21-02, 02:46 AM   #16
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Thanks Guys,

Well, raced on Sunday...got there about 11am to practice the course (race started at 1.30pm), so I thought there would be plenty of time to psych myself up. I watched the under 10's race (bless), the under 12's race (they were pretty fast!) and the Youth race (soem of their bikes were more expensive than mine!!!)

The course at Rainham will be the same one used for the Final of the National Trophy, and boy was it fast. There were about 50-60 riders in my race, and at the gun, there was the usual frenzy of jostling for positions, and even before I got to the fist steep incline, the head of the race were already down the other side of the field.

Now for those riders who have raced before, they'll know the psychological battles that go on in the mind...the "I'm not going fast enough", the "I want to give up now...come on, enough is enough" and the classic "how many more laps!?!" and I faced each one of these in turn....luckily...there were a few riders behind me, and one guy in front who I managed to keep the same gap with, so that helped alot, and with support from my wife and brother in law and his fiancee, each lap got a little easier.

Well, not too sure where I ended up (my wife thinks about 40th...urgh) but it was great to get back into racing...looking forward now to the next one which is in a few weeks time...will post photo's when they come through.

Keep smiling!

Rich

p.s. Ofcourse I raced in Bikeforum colours, and my wife was able to spot the slow yellow blob going around the whole of the course
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Old 10-21-02, 06:56 AM   #17
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Well done Rich,
I was meant to ride, but can't for a couple of weeks due to 'Family commitments' (wedding/stag-do/hen-do etc (not mine, I'm well spliced and sprogged up!) ).
You should check out the London League Web-site for results and pix, www.londonxleague.co.uk or www.londoncyclesport.com, see if you can see yourself.
The good thing about the LL races is that it's usually the same faces racing, so you can gauge your progress against the same oppo.

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Old 10-21-02, 08:35 AM   #18
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Thanks Dan,

Yeah, there are some photo's on there, and I did spot myself in one of them, but it's been taken back off...the website states it'll be putting some more photo's on later, so we'll have to wait and see

Will you be doing any of the London League's? They seem like a great bunch of people.

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Old 10-21-02, 08:53 AM   #19
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I rode the first two, coming 15th & 21st, both dust-bowl conditions, and will probably restart with Hillingdon on Nov 3rd. I tend to go better the worser the conditions so am looking forward to a bit of mud!
After an injury shortened last season, I shall try to ride the requisit 9 rounds, more if poss, to count at the end of season (have you registered with them for the season?).
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Old 10-21-02, 09:09 AM   #20
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Unfortunately not...as I'm carless (note not careless) at the moment, it's hard to get to all the races, so I can only do local ones...but I'm hoping to get to the Footscray Meadows race in January, and spectate at the final round of the National Trophy at Rainham.

Wow...top 20 results...I bet the mud doesn't stick on you eh!?!

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Old 10-21-02, 09:48 AM   #21
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Congrats on getting back to the races Rich, the first one is always the hardest. You described the mental challenge perfectly.
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Old 10-21-02, 10:08 AM   #22
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"I bet the mud doesn't stick on you eh!?!"


It does at Footscray - one of those courses where, if it's wet, and you only have one bike (like me), a short 'clearance clearing' stick in your back pocket is essential!!
- It's always a great atmosphere there though, they tend to invite a twinned French club over for the race, and usually has a big field (for the big fields)


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Old 10-21-02, 11:53 PM   #23
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You know that utterly destroyed, going into a coma, must sleep for 12 hours feeling only a fellow CX'er can know? I got the first one in and looking forward to next weekend
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Old 10-22-02, 02:25 AM   #24
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I was surprised to not feel completely broken on Monday morning...usually it's "Ohh, I'll grab an extra few minutes in bed", and not wake up for the rest of the day....but no...I was up and at em.

Maybe my fitness wasn't as bad as I first suspected..hmmmm.

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Old 10-22-02, 09:30 AM   #25
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We have races on Saturday and Sunday next weekend, should be interesting.
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