First of all, I really know nothing of the sport of cyclocross. To be honest, I saw my first cyclocross bike last Sunday in a local bike shop and was intruigued. While searching for triathlons the other day, I stumbled across a duathlon that looked like fun. So I'm here to ask about the biking portion of that. It is a 10 mile leg on gravel roads. I was thinking I could use my Specialized Sirrus and put some 700x40 tires on it with a good amount of tread. Would this work out? Is this pretty much what cyclocross is or am I way off? Any advice would be greatly appriceated.
You're off, but do the duo anyway. You really don't need anything bigger than a 28 for unpaved roads. Ride what you got, a 40 well pumped up will be okay, if a little slower. A cross bike would be about perfect for that, a little overkill maybe, but it's a competitive event, advantage is good.
A duo has some number of miles of cycling and a few miles of running, 10-15 ride and 3.2-5 running seems to be the most popular range. It's sort of a time trial - no drafting and ride/run your own pace. That is a LOT more running than goes into a cross race.
CX is a short course of about 1-2 miles and either 8-10 laps or a specified time plus one lap. It is a bike race except for about 2-4 dismounts a lap and usually no more than 10 - 50 yards each. The pace is screaming fast. Think steeplechase for bicycles, whereas a duo is more like a foot race with bikes.
I haven't done a duo in decades, but I ride on dirt, gravel, shell roads a lot. Get used to it. Practice riding really bloody fast on that sort of surface or the tension from hanging on too tight will kill you on race day. Maybe do intervals on that road or similar - the fatigue and speed will force you to relax and ride it smooth. Mostly, have fun.
Thanks for the info, that is pretty much what I am finding out. The tires I currently have on that bike are Specialized All Condition 700x28c with almost no tread. Will that work out or will I need something more nobby?
I want to follow the suggestion at the end to ride a course and then watch the race. That will internalize it all for me (and probably cure whatever fantasy I harbor that I would have been good at it in my prime ;-)).
Trek Portland (after numerous flings with other bikes)
Right behind you...
If the age group starts at 50, I will practice a couple of seasons first.... ;-) as I am right behind you. I was on a wide dirt trail this past week and on my way down a guy blew by me going up the hill. Ye ha! Very impressive. 20 years ago I would have knocked him down and dragged him home by his hair.... Right now I am concerned that caution has snuck into my repertoire which is clearly not a benefit here. But fun it is regardless!