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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 10-12-07, 07:36 AM   #1
nartoff
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newbie question: where to begin?

Hello,

I just bought a Specialized Tricross sport, primarily for its versatility and use as a touring bike. But seeing as how I have a bike that can be used for cyclocross, I would be interested to give it a try.

So the question is, where does one start? Is there a list of places people usually train? How about events aimed at newbies? I live in Danville, VA (right in the middle of the NC border) but come to DC frequently. For that matter, if anyone within a 2-3 hour radius were to want to take me on a ride, I'd happily take you out for food and drink!

Thanks,
Brett
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Old 10-12-07, 08:09 AM   #2
Mtn Mike
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If you're saying that you want to race, most 'cross races have a beginer catagory.

To prepare for racing, start riding your cross bike on mountain bike trails, practice dismounting and carrying your bike, and finally practice going really really hard for 1 hour . Then you should be ready to just do it.
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Old 10-12-07, 08:38 AM   #3
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brett, check out our team's site for clinics and training rides.

http://www.bikerackcyclocross.com/

particularly, keep an eye on the forum for impromptu rides and the race calendar for upcoming races. i'd recommend practicing mounts and dismounts for fifteen minutes at least three times and then jumping in a race. start at the back and be safe, and i think you'll be surprised how much fun you have.

there are lots of dc area races coming up. this weekend is charlottesville (which i wont be at, but ryand and cardstock will). next weekend is superior cross in catharpin, va. and the week after that is the only cross race in dc proper, dccx. i'd recommend making it to that one if you can (and signing up early), it's gonna be huge.

cheers!

-john
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Old 10-12-07, 10:13 AM   #4
evillevelo
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Brett,
If your travels take you through Charlottesville on your way to or from DC, you can log on to the Charlottesville Area Mountain Biking Club, <<www.cambc.org>> and join the email list to be notified of upcoming cross training rides.

For races check out Bikereg.com: http://www.bikereg.com/

Some races going on around Charlottesville:

10/13 - Corkscrew Cross - Louisa, VA: <<http://www.bikereg.com/events/register.asp?eventid=5282>>
10/14 - Urban Cross at Ix - downtown Charlottesville, VA: <<http://www.bikereg.com/events/register.asp?eventid=5373>>
12/09 - Virginia Cyclocross Series Final - Darden Towe Park - <<http://www.bikereg.com/events/register.asp?eventid=5293>>

Steve
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Old 10-12-07, 10:24 AM   #5
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A lot of good advice above. The only thing I can say is just get out there and give it a shot. You might not be good the first race, or two, but you'll get better and you'll have a lot of fun.
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Old 10-12-07, 10:24 AM   #6
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...and don't hesitate to sign up for a race. Just figure out which is the beginner's category, and go for it. Even if your dismount or run-up technique is horrible, you'll still be able to get yourself around the course and have a blast doing it.

It's not like road racing, where you can take out the pack if you mess up a corner, or even mtb racing, where you'll get in everyone's way on the singletrack. Cross races spread out pretty quickly, and you'll find yourself racing 5 or so other people who are at a similar skill level/speed.
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Old 10-12-07, 10:41 AM   #7
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just show up and enter a race.

stay in the back so you get to see everyone else crash in the first corner or sketchy stuff.

then if U are strong, you will be able to reel people in. do this a few races and yo' be fine.

when you are strong enough to be a contender, then go for the holeshot to avoid the scrum on the first lap. but it doesn't make much sense to fight for the holeshot if you have no serious ability to stay
up front, because avoiding crashes [and upsetting everyone else] while up front takes strength, and if you are torqued just staying up front, you may plant.

but it is fun and you will have a ball. it is OK to be last in a CX race because no one looks bad in CX...ever.

and anyway you won't be last. always, someone else will be last.
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Old 10-12-07, 03:55 PM   #8
nartoff
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Wow, thanks for the prompt and thorough replies!

By the time I got around to reading the responses, I had already been out for a few hours on a mountain bike trail, where I:

- Got used to riding on mountain bike trails; check!

- Got on and off my bike a bunch; check!

- Went flying off a steep area and into a bunch of prickly thorns and trees, in effect crashing pretty damned hard; check!

- Carried my bike back up the trail and kept on going; check!

Looks like I'm all ready to go to Luisa, VA for my first race tomorrow. Woo hoo!

Umm... just one more question. Based on this page (http://www.bikereg.com/events/register.asp?eventid=5282) which event do I want to do for a first time race? There's Men's A, B, & C, and then categories 1-5.

Sorry if all of this is in a FAQ or archive somewhere and I'm asking redundant questions...

Thanks,
Brett
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Old 10-12-07, 04:16 PM   #9
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you want the men's c race at 12:15 pm. they'll also charge you ten bucks to buy a one day racing license, both that and the race fee will probably be payable with cash or check, but i usually bring enough cash to cover just in case.

also, get there early and try to get a lap in before the race, this will help a lot. they'll be running the other races so stay out of the way!

glad you're making it out, have a blast.
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