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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 10-03-07, 10:38 PM   #1
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new one to cross

been a biker for a while, but i'm a new one to cross. I just got a cross bike and love it, not ridden in any competitions, but have ridden on dirt / grass / sand. It seems like local to me (Chicago) there are no clinics, so i come looking for basic advice.

1) what to wear if possible recommendations of brand and models of jerseys etc.
I have base layers, but really nothing other than that. What;s a good midweight jersey? I have access to Pearl Izumi stuff so any recomendations in their line would be stellar.

2) Do you ride in tights or always shorts? Do you warm up in tights or are there easer pants to get off?

3) Shoes - i have old mtb shoes at the moment with egg beaters, i will shortly be looking to upgrade... any Shoe recommendations? I can spend $200 on shoes.

4) advice basic technique to mount and dismount fast.

5) anything else for a rookie?

thanks in advance
p.s. I bought an F1x by Felt.
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Old 10-04-07, 06:31 AM   #2
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velonews has some good cross advice in the video how to section. dismounts and remounts and stuff...

as far as clothing...same as you would wear when riding...whatever works. i personally like arm/leg warmers more than tights and long sleeves (weather permitting) because as you get warmer they're easier to roll up/remove. that said, it hasn't been below 50 for any race yet this season here.

shoes. you like pearl? get the second one in the line. not the top of the line, but #2. not too expensive but nice. eggbeaters are the way to go.

yeah, thats about it. just go ride. and get to a race. they do clinics. also, if you get to a race, talk to cardstock about this stuff. he just upgraded to two's, and can point you towards practices and whatnot.
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Old 10-04-07, 08:31 AM   #3
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Here's a link to the velonews videos:
Click on the "How-To" tab to get to the cross vids.

Go to youtube and search for "superprestige" and watch how the pros do it.

For clothes, do what works, but nothing very baggy. For cold weather I just use those poly base layers you can get at the local camping store, even under my shorts -- since the race is so short, chafing isn't an issue. This season I'm wearing bibshorts to help prevent droop -- because droop can be a problem on the remount. But normal shorts work fine too.

Practice your remounts as much as you can stand before your first race. But use a cheap saddle because almost surely you will bend the rails.

Don't blow yourself out on the first lap. With all the excitement and adrenalin, it's a big temptation. Get a snappy start, try to avoid pileups, then do your work. The nature of the course means you'll be spiking your heart rate fairly often, but you can't spike it the entire time (unless you're incredibly fit). 45 minutes sounds short, but it can feel very long after you've popped.
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Old 10-04-07, 09:01 AM   #4
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Let's take this in order.

1) Your clothes are going to be trashed. Don't buy anything fancy. Besides, who really cares. It's a jersey, don't fuss, wear something fun. I favor my Crash Test Dummy jersey for racing.

2) Race in shorts. Warm up in tights, sweats, whatever you care to abuse that won't prohibit you from riding and remounting in practice.

3) Shoes - Old MTB shoes are perfect. Mostly you want a little more give in the sole than for other riding, but that's about the only difference. You will want something with toe spikes. Beyond that get what fits and lets you run a little.

4) There are video examples throughout the interwebs. Google up some races and some demonstrations. The first rule is that you must slow down to a speed that you can run before dismounting. Beyond that just remember that momentum is the only law of physics that has ever worked in favor of a cross rider.

5) Rock out and have fun.

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Old 10-04-07, 08:19 PM   #5
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I know that there are clinics in chicago. Call Turin in Evanston. I know they do one.
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Old 10-04-07, 11:17 PM   #6
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Cool, cool, thanks for the tips, the flying mount is scaring me
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