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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 05-28-08, 08:10 PM   #1
txtriguy
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Building first cross bike from "shop scraps" - retro or foolish?

Anyone tried this before?

So I got a smokin deal on a "nearly new" nashbar cross frame and fork and thought it would be fun to build "on the cheap" as a project. Most of the stuff I have is road although the brakes are mountain. I don't expect to race it (famous last words?) but do intend to ride it regularly. All parts are servicable and good quality stuff.

Some highlights: Shimano 105 9 speed front to rear, XTR brakes, Mavic Kyserium Elite wheels, Thompson zero setback seatpost, Bontranger cross handlebars (from a tandem - go figure). Pretty much all I had to buy so far are tires (35s) and tubes.

So am I set up for failure here? I'm moving to San Antonio this summer and expect to use it mostly for commuting and perhaps riding around the local park trails.

So how does cross compare to triathlon? I have raced tri short and long course for about 10 years. How long are cross courses and how many folks at the start line? Is there much contact between riders durng the race? I fear I will soon be trading my Stealth Kestrel Airfoil for that super sweet Specialized cross bike I saw yesterday!
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Old 05-29-08, 08:42 AM   #2
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So how does cross compare to triathlon?
They are both races.
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Old 05-29-08, 09:16 AM   #3
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They are both races.
Both also involve running and cycling.
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Old 05-29-08, 03:07 PM   #4
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Building a 'cross bike out of parts bin scraps is part of the essence of the sport. I pity those who get their start on $3000 Ridleys without knowing the true joy of schlupping a 24 lb. steel beast through the mud. (Alright, I'm jealous of them, but whatever.)

'Cross is addictive. The two major differences between cross and tri in my mind.

1.) Cross rewards good bike handling and tactical skills.
2.) Tri rewards having a huge engine.
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Old 05-29-08, 03:14 PM   #5
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3.) Triathlons are boring.
4.) Cross is not.
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Old 05-29-08, 03:33 PM   #6
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If you have those kinds of spare parts sitting around, color me jealous.
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Old 05-29-08, 06:28 PM   #7
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CX is like being killed by a chainsaw, tri is like being poisoned. You die either way.
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Old 05-29-08, 06:47 PM   #8
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They both include bikes.
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Old 05-30-08, 10:04 AM   #9
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Yours is a perfectly normal 'cross build. That you question the wisdom of building up a bike from the perfectly good parts you listed demonstrates the damage that prolonged triathlism has already done to your thought processes.

See, cross people don't sneer at someone's gear if he shows up with wrong color forearm pads for this season, "I don't know how you can ride without the new orange siliastium cushions. Those old things gave me a quadrolatosis in my elbows that cost me 14 seconds in the swim." Or "what's with the 105 parts, don't you know that der weighs 24 grams more than D/A. Are you that broke?"

Little of the head games, gear obsession, or the yippy, overtrained type A personalities swinging their anatomy at each other. Oh, it's a race and everyone is going to be cruel to the opponent - Guys ride hard and will try to get inside the other guy's head. But nothing like advanced triathlism with its stupid riding position and idiotic equipment that is so completely deformed you can't even jump on the bike to have fun riding around. If your bike cannot competently leave the pavement, you might as well drive.

Cross is all about having fun on the bike, like the races you had with your friends when you were a kid - down the street, through the bulldozed new subdivision, up the trail that comes out behind Tim's house and then back around. Triathlon is for guys who work in cubicles who feel the need to prove that they're tough and have money. Cross is for guys who like to go out and ride AND want to race.

Cross races run 45 min to an hour, kinda like a short course tri, that way. But the pacing is completely different. Tri's reward a steady pace, Cross often rewards the guy who throws away efficiency by bursting out of corners even if it means braking 3 seconds later. The sprint - relax - sprint - relax thing is the big difference. Pack riding isn't the deal in cross that it is in road racing. While it is a group start race, drafting isn't as much a factor as road racing and for the most part people ride their own race outside of key moments. Cyclocross running rarely goes on for more than a few seconds at a time, so it isn't nearly as important. Cross is essentially a bike race with obstacles. Triathlon is essentially some guys who let a "who's tougher" bar argument get out of hand. Literally and in truth, that really is how that stupid sport started - buncha testosterone poisoning cases arguing in a bar and ending on a dare and a bet. Which is, in itself, pretty awesome. That it didn't stop there is the tragedy.

Go youtube some cyclocross video to get an idea.
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Old 05-30-08, 12:34 PM   #10
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Triathlon is essentially some guys who let a "who's tougher" bar argument get out of hand. Literally and in truth, that really is how that stupid sport started - buncha testosterone poisoning cases arguing in a bar and ending on a dare and a bet. Which is, in itself, pretty awesome. That it didn't stop there is the tragedy.
I'm more or less with you on your anti-triathlon rant (in particular the gear-dorkery, but let's be honest, crossers can be as gear-dorky or more than a typical triathlete).

But pretty much any kind of racing is a "who's tougher" bar argument, when you come right down to it.
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Old 05-31-08, 07:49 AM   #11
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Of course you're right Flargle, the cyclist's tendency to gear-dorkery (well coined) does transcend all disciplines and yep we got it in cross. The deviant fascination with braking systems is probably the main manifestation followed closely by obsessive wheel and tire accumulation. The CK Headset fetishism is seen in all branches of cycling and seems permanent.
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Old 05-31-08, 09:20 AM   #12
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So how does cross compare to triathlon?
i think this says it all....
http://www.bikebuzz.net/cyclocrossfilm/

also buy the film its well worth it
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