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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 10-10-06, 08:09 PM   #1
hamr22
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First Race Advice

Getting ready to do my first cx race and get b!tch slapped. A few questions:

Do you warm up on a trainer or on the course or not at all and just go balls out and choke back the yak?

How do I figure out how to dismount / remount without crashing or castrating myself?
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Old 10-10-06, 08:35 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hamr22
Do you warm up on a trainer or on the course or not at all and just go balls out and choke back the yak?
out on the course if I can, just to see what it's like and what to expect. otherwise on the local roads/in the park/wherever. no trainer. i hate them.

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Originally Posted by hamr22
How do I figure out how to dismount / remount without crashing or castrating myself?

practice beforehand.
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Old 10-11-06, 07:45 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hamr22
Getting ready to do my first cx race and get b!tch slapped. A few questions:

Do you warm up on a trainer or on the course or not at all and just go balls out and choke back the yak?

How do I figure out how to dismount / remount without crashing or castrating myself?
Ride the course so you'll know what you're up against. It won't help so much for a complete beginner, but it's better than abject ignorance.

The dismount is easy, slow to a speed that only slightly frightens you to run at and hop off. The remount is just like stealing a bike from in front of a 7-11.

Ron
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Old 10-11-06, 08:07 AM   #4
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In general, it's good to warm up really well -- either on the course, on a side road, or on a trainer -- as the start of the race is an all-out sprint for position.

In your case, since it's your first race, it might be better to hang back a bit and watch for the inevitable stack-up of riders at the first obstacle or bottle-neck. Sometimes it's best to dismount, and run your bike around the pile of stopped riders when this happens.

Although, I think you've got it right regarding going all out and just trying to hang on.
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Old 10-11-06, 11:18 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lunacycle
In general, it's good to warm up really well -- either on the course, on a side road, or on a trainer -- as the start of the race is an all-out sprint for position.

In your case, since it's your first race, it might be better to hang back a bit and watch for the inevitable stack-up of riders at the first obstacle or bottle-neck. Sometimes it's best to dismount, and run your bike around the pile of stopped riders when this happens.

Although, I think you've got it right regarding going all out and just trying to hang on.
Is it legal to run around an obstacle, even if there is a stackup of riders? Can one get pulled for that?
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Old 10-11-06, 12:51 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by billh
Is it legal to run around an obstacle, even if there is a stackup of riders? Can one get pulled for that?
Many cyclocross races have plastic tape lines suspended on stakes on both sides of the course. Stay inside the tape and you are good. Last weekend at Gloucester (I was supporting my daughter), nearly the entire course had that tape (kind of like the "police line- do not cross" stuff), except along the ocean, but there was no need there- unless you wanted to swim.

By the way, a 'cross race has been described as a road race in reverse- you sprint at the BEGINNING. So a good warm-up is essential- unless you want to spend the entire race working your way back up to where you would have been if you had started well. By then, unless you are superhuman, the leaders should be well off the front.

Good luck,
John
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Old 10-11-06, 02:18 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by billh
Is it legal to run around an obstacle, even if there is a stackup of riders? Can one get pulled for that?
What I meant was to run your bike around the riders, not around the obstacle. But that is an interesting question. I would think that you would have to wait to go over the obstacle. Although sometimes you get forced over to the edge of the hurdle, I think you're still obligated to dismount and go through the motions, like everybody else.

Here's my question of the day: If a hurdle gets knocked over flat during a race, are you obligated to pretend that it's still standing and dismount, or can you just ride over it?
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Old 10-11-06, 03:07 PM   #8
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You aren't obliged to dismount at any point in the race. If you can hop over the obstacle, go for it.
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Old 10-11-06, 08:29 PM   #9
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So at any point in the race you can be on or off your bike? You are never required to be riding or dismounted?
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Old 10-11-06, 09:26 PM   #10
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If you want to run the whole thing, you can run it, just so long as you've got your bike with you.

Or if you want to ride the whole thing and bunnyhop the barriers, that's cool too.

All and all, it's a pretty relaxed sport.
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Old 10-12-06, 07:58 AM   #11
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but of course you can't just ride around a barrier. I guess it is up to the judgment of the officials. If there is some rider down with a broken collarbone, completely blocking a barrier, I guess no one would question running around it and not hopping, but riding around it might be too much. maybe USA Cycling has a rule book for cross?

I remember one race that had this mound of dirt with some bumps. basically one rider at a time could ride on it. complete pile up the first lap. I remember guys in the back just running around it really fast and taking the lead. I didn't think it was fair, because they didn't have to navigate the tricky bumps and they didn't sprint to the mound first. Other guys waited for the pile to clear. Probably didn't affect the results because the fast guys made up time anyway after a few laps.
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Old 10-12-06, 08:45 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billh
I remember one race that had this mound of dirt with some bumps. basically one rider at a time could ride on it. complete pile up the first lap. I remember guys in the back just running around it really fast and taking the lead. I didn't think it was fair, because they didn't have to navigate the tricky bumps and they didn't sprint to the mound first. Other guys waited for the pile to clear. Probably didn't affect the results because the fast guys made up time anyway after a few laps.
As long as they didn't go out of bounds, then the other riders were right to dismount and run around the other cyclists that weren't thinking ahead and ended up stuck in the bottleneck. Cyclocross is all about getting from point A to point B in the shortest amount of time. The means by which that is accomplished is up to the rider. Some riders try to ride stuff that's more quickly traversed on foot, and vice versa.
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Old 10-12-06, 08:05 PM   #13
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Hammr, for ten buck's worth of 1/2" PVC I made two 13" high x 48" wide "barriers" which I use to practice on. I take one of them to races just to get a couple of dismounts in beforehand (Inevitably, others want to get a couple of hops in too). I find that I definetly get in a groove with dismounts, and so a few before a race really seem to help me (If you're allowed to ride the course beforehand, you could probably use the race barriers). Practice-wise, I set them up about thirty yards apart from each other, which allows me to dismount/hurdle/ carry/ remount/ pedal/ dismount/hurdle/ remount/ turn around.... Since the 1/2" PVC is pretty flimsy, it's really forgiving if you fall on it (as opposed to a stake driven in the ground, for instance)

You should definetly practice this, because, well... It kicks your a$$. Tonight I did twenty laps of my two barriers (that's forty dismounts, way more than your average race) and feel like a truck ran over my legs. Twice. But you do not, do not, want to pop this cherry on race day. You'll hurt yourself and that spoils all the fun in a sport which is an absolute blast.
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Old 10-17-06, 01:02 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walleye
Hammr, for ten buck's worth of 1/2" PVC I made two 13" high x 48" wide "barriers" which I use to practice on. I take one of them to races just to get a couple of dismounts in beforehand (Inevitably, others want to get a couple of hops in too). I find that I definetly get in a groove with dismounts, and so a few before a race really seem to help me (If you're allowed to ride the course beforehand, you could probably use the race barriers). Practice-wise, I set them up about thirty yards apart from each other, which allows me to dismount/hurdle/ carry/ remount/ pedal/ dismount/hurdle/ remount/ turn around.... Since the 1/2" PVC is pretty flimsy, it's really forgiving if you fall on it (as opposed to a stake driven in the ground, for instance)

You should definetly practice this, because, well... It kicks your a$$. Tonight I did twenty laps of my two barriers (that's forty dismounts, way more than your average race) and feel like a truck ran over my legs. Twice. But you do not, do not, want to pop this cherry on race day. You'll hurt yourself and that spoils all the fun in a sport which is an absolute blast.
Thanks, read you loud and clear. Less nervousness means more fun and i was starting to fret about the dismount part.
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Old 10-18-06, 09:00 AM   #15
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And if I may add... You will be in pain. You will want to quit. You will think you suck. And you will question if this is actually fun.

But the good news is that everyone else is feeling aweful too, and your heart and lungs will settle down somewhat after the first lap or two. If you get here without quitting, you'll see that this is where it all comes together. When it's over, you'll be wanting to die, but you'll feel great about it.

So just have a good attitude and remember it's supposed to be hard.
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