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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 08-12-06, 08:08 AM   #1
oneradtec
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What to expect...

New to cross. Never done one before.

I am good on the road and have done RR's, crits, TT's, centuries, etc.
Never done mountain biking before.

I'm worried that the typical cross course would be highly technical. In other words, if I'm good physically, I still will not do well because of the technical side. Just how technical is the typical course? Are they fast...or more technical? I prefer fast...like a crit.

What should I expect? What should I prepare fore? I live in NC..and we have a pretty good cross series here. I'd like to give it a try.

Now I need a cross bike.
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Old 08-12-06, 10:48 AM   #2
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also...wondering if this budget frame would be ok to build up as my cross bike?

http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...eid=&pagename=

I have a handlebar and a set of Tiagra shifters(new) in my garage..as well as a cassette, chain, front derailleur, and bottom bracket. I will have to get a fork, some cross brakes, a set of wheels, tires, tubes, a rear derailleur, etc. I might be able to get 'er done for under 700 dollars?

Do you guys/girls have any other recommendations for budget frames?
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Old 08-12-06, 11:28 AM   #3
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I have a friend who is really fast who rides a nice bike built around that frame. I think it would be a good way to try things out.
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Old 08-12-06, 06:35 PM   #4
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As far as what to expect during a cross race...

The courses typically aren't what I'd consider technical. At least not compared to some of the mountain biking I've done. The "worst" I encounter around here are some off-camber turns. Whether or not a course is "fast" is entirely dependent on you. With that said, some courses are faster than others. Some have more running, some have more pavement.

What to expect? Pain. 100% from the gun.
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Old 08-12-06, 06:42 PM   #5
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like fore said...

expect to be in oxygen debt for an hour plus a lap. you will not feel like you will die. you will feel as if you wish you could die.

do a lot of speed training. long intervals at or above theshold is probably the best. train skills like mounts and dismounts, bunnyhops, switchbacks and riding off-camber hills.
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Old 08-12-06, 07:23 PM   #6
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Seems like a good reason to not try.
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Old 08-12-06, 07:58 PM   #7
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I should seriously give up smoking before i try this.
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Old 08-12-06, 08:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oneradtec
New to cross. Never done one before.

I am good on the road and have done RR's, crits, TT's, centuries, etc.
Never done mountain biking before.

I'm worried that the typical cross course would be highly technical. In other words, if I'm good physically, I still will not do well because of the technical side. Just how technical is the typical course? Are they fast...or more technical? I prefer fast...like a crit.

What should I expect? What should I prepare fore? I live in NC..and we have a pretty good cross series here. I'd like to give it a try.

Now I need a cross bike.
This should give you an idea:
http://www.steephill.tv/galleries/20...locross-gp-sf/
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Old 08-14-06, 11:10 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oneradtec
I'm worried that the typical cross course would be highly technical. In other words, if I'm good physically, I still will not do well because of the technical side. Just how technical is the typical course? Are they fast...or more technical? I prefer fast...like a crit.
Cross races aren't like any other racing I've done. You have to go all out for the entire length of the race. The sprint is at the beginning. The harder you can go when you feel like you've got nothing left will move you up the placings. Mastering the "technical" skills (dismounts, mounts, carries) will mean tens of seconds off your lap times.

A typical cross course is about 2k and should take about 7-8 minutes to complete a lap. The lower cat crossers generally race 40-45 minutes (sometimes 30) and the A/Cat1/2/Masters will race 60 minutes. A course will have 1 or 2 sets of barriers, a run-up or two, some grass, dirt, gravel, pavement, and sand. A well designed course will have a number of well placed transitions to challenge the racers.

The vibe at cross races is more inclusive than road races (and in my opinion, mtb races as well). I think it's a lot less intimidating to get into.

The best preparation you can do for racing is to get dismounts and mounts down. In one of the forum topics, someone posted a link to directions about how to build PVC barriers. A set will cost you about $10 and are well worth having. Practice till you've got them down pat. Don't do too many in one sessions that you start to get sloppy though. Quit while you're still doing them well.

Bikes ... the Nashbar frame is fine. It's got 135 rear spacing though. If you get a mtb skewer, you can squeeze a road wheel (130 spacing) in there but it's not optimal. Lots folks just trying out cross will use a mountain bike. Most races only require that mtbs not have bar ends. If you've got a mountain bike, that's a good option to try out cross before jumping in with a bike purchase. I bought both of my cross bikes off of Ebay and I recommend the used option.

I hope you give it a go and love it.
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Old 08-14-06, 04:55 PM   #10
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I think 'Cross races are the most similar from a fitness standpoint
like a Criterium. The differences are that you have to add the
technical stuff (singletrack, dis/remounts) and subtract some level
of tactics (not as much teamwork, the starts are much more
critical and sprints at the line seem to be not as common).

For both you really have to be able to go all out for a specified amount
of time & be able to amp it up for short critical moments.

my impressions at least

jeff
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Old 08-15-06, 12:28 PM   #11
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There are actually two "seasons" or "series" for cross here in NC. The fall season which runs until December is generally dry and dusty. This removes some of the down and dirty fun of cross, but that's what the winter season from January on is for. The rains and what little snow comes and cross courses become just darn unrideable by the second heat of riders. There is at least on elementery school here in Durham that we won't be racing at any more, or as a friend put it, "It looks like P.E. is going to be indoor only for the rest of the year." As everyone else has said, it's a very inclusive group and a lot of fun just to hang around and watch. The sprint really is at the begining so have your heart rate already amped up; after that it's all catch up and some tactics. The Duke bicycle club has a weekly practice to handle the barriers and an unofficial nationals that are open to anyone in the area, and they're a good group as well. Where are you in NC, it's a wide state?

Remember kids, sometimes running is faster than biking!
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Old 08-15-06, 06:04 PM   #12
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Thanks for all the info!

What about this bike as a good budget cross bike?...

http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...s_preorder.htm

bandregg...I'm in Tabor City, on the coast, near the SC line..... between Wilmington and Myrtle Beach.
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Old 08-16-06, 09:23 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oneradtec
Thanks for all the info!

What about this bike as a good budget cross bike?...

http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...s_preorder.htm

bandregg...I'm in Tabor City, on the coast, near the SC line..... between Wilmington and Myrtle Beach.
Try one, you gotta let us know what you think.

Looks like a decent deal for the parts involved.

Spend some time getting it wrenched and tuned and it should be okay. Even if the frame turns out to be crap that's a good price for the build kit.

Ron
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Old 08-16-06, 12:36 PM   #14
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Hey, the Fantom Cross! I just got mine about a month ago! Can give you my thoughts if you like.

I've been hoping to do some 'cross racing in the future with it. But after not riding for a few years I'm working on getting back in shape first. Been riding single speed for a while.
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Old 08-18-06, 04:44 PM   #15
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Question re your friends nashbar frame

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leviathan
I have a friend who is really fast who rides a nice bike built around that frame. I think it would be a good way to try things out.
I bought the nashbar CX frame. I'm waiting for it to arrive, but I spotted one potential problem; the rear hub spacing is 135mm. Most road bike spacing is 130mm. I'm planning on using road wheels like most others do, so the question is; did your friend have a problem with that and if so how did he resolve it? Sorry to jump in on the thread, but I've been searching for similar topics and this is the closest I've come.

Thanks,
Anthony
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Old 08-18-06, 04:54 PM   #16
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How to resolve 135mm vs 130mm spacing issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by vanwaCX
...the Nashbar frame is fine. It's got 135 rear spacing though. If you get a mtb skewer, you can squeeze a road wheel (130 spacing) in there but it's not optimal.
Did you resolve the 135 vs 130mm spacing difference ever? I was thinking of adding in spacers but then realized that the threaded tube probably wouldn't be long enough to put the wheel in the right position anyhow.
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