I've never even seen a cyclocross race in person, but recently I met someone who races cyclocross, and was fascinated, and since then I've looked at many youtube videos and read a few websites, and now I really really want to try this. My ADD brain loves the idea of a bike race where things are always different and it's more than just "go fast." Cyclocross racers just look like they're having way too much fun, too!
Only problem is, I've never done any kind of bicycle racing at all. I ride my bike to work and back every day, and it's only a couple of miles each way. I don't have a diamond frame bike, I currently ride an old British three-speed and I'm about to start fixing up an older mixte bike.
So, obviously, I have a long-ass way to go before I'd be ready to even attempt to race. (The gentleman I spoke to who did cyclocross told me I should try it with my 3-speed, telling me people would cheer for me just for having the sheer audacity to attempt it. Uhhh....no.)
Buying another bike probably wouldn't happen until this fall at the earliest (and given a chance, I'd just borrow one for one race to see if I like cyclocross enough to spend money on it), and I'm wondering what I can do to start getting ready before I have a proper cyclocross bike. All I can think of, is getting used to riding harder for longer periods of time. I've already started doing that a little--rather than be slow and relaxed about my commute, I push myself more. I want to start taking longer rides, especially on the weekend, and focus more on speed and/or endurance, especially on hills.
Anything else? It seems silly to attempt practicing getting off and on my bike quickly when I don't even have a diamond frame yet. Should I take my mixte on some mountain bike trails? Should I try to practice really sharp turns?
Should I just keep my eye out for used lightweight diamond frame bikes and figure I can change things on the bike to make it more cyclocross appropriate? I'm damn short (5'2") so finding bikes that fit is a hassle no matter how you slice it, and I do *not* have a lot of money to blow.
I don't plan on racing to win...I think I'd be happy just knowing I did it, and having my friends and/or family cheer me on. Then again, you never know. :^)