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  1. #1
    Senior Member adamt's Avatar
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    how do yiou know if you are in good enough shape to race?

    I have been working to get in shape to race. Im not sure I would be ready.

    I was planning on beginner class so that means my races are 40 minutes.

    I can run for 80 minutes (9.5 minute miles - and I am rarely out of breath when done..could keep gong but my knees start hurting.).

    I can ride a bike for 90 minutes at 17MPH. I can easily ride for 3+ hours without stopping keeping my cadence around 70, but I slow down to 14mph after 2 hours or so...(i should also note I do this with panniers..so add 10 lbs to my bike)

    Still, not sure if I should keep training myself up or if I could actually be competitive on a fitness level.

    Any ideas?
    Last edited by adamt; 09-02-08 at 12:45 PM.

  2. #2
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    Your post implies that not racing is a viable option.

    Does not compute.

  3. #3
    He drop me Grasschopper's Avatar
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    I would work on getting that cadance up if you can...70 RPM avg seems kind of low. Is this on or off road?
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  4. #4
    Senior Member adamt's Avatar
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    my cadence

    I get an average of 70. I also climb a 1 mile hill or so - so Im sure that drops it down a bit. this is on the road with stop lights etc...bike is a salsa casserroll.

    What would be a good cadence goal? 80 average? 90?

    thanks for the replies.
    Last edited by adamt; 09-02-08 at 01:09 PM.

  5. #5
    Soma Lover
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    Not finishing last = competitive. Doesn't sound like you'll finish last so go for it.

    I'll be racing for the first time this year myself. Even though I routinely finish centuries averaging 20-21 mph, I'll be racing beginner class for a few races since my racing experience adds up to a single triathalon and a single mountain bike race in the past three years. I figure I need to get used to the discipline as well as the scene. My bike is also kinda heavy and its wheelbase is a little long as far as cyclocross bikes go.

    I think you'll find a pretty kicked back scene at most of the local events. I know mine are.

  6. #6
    He drop me Grasschopper's Avatar
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    80-90 would be a good average...I will have to look at my stats...also are you just guessing at your average or do you have a computer that tells you? My Garmins tell me my average so you may be under estimating what you are really doing. If I do a 3 hour ride with a lot of climbing I get an average of like 70-75 but when I am climbing it is down between 55-60 rpm at times. If I do a ride with a lot of rollers it will be more like 80-85. If I am pedaling along a flat I try to keep it above 90 and closer to 100.

    Of course this is on a road bike so I am not sure how that all translates to a CX race.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member sfcrossrider's Avatar
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    The only way to know what a cross race is like is to do one. My numbers on a roadbike are very impressive, but they don't help me much in Cat A (expert) cross races. Cross is a special kind of frantic suffering. No one is ready... some of us just deal better.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Daveyboy's Avatar
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    Sounds like you've got a good base from which to work. A CX race is a highly intense effort for 30 - 40 minutes (for the beginner class.) So you should probably consider adding some higher intensity interval work into your routine once or twice a week.

    The best way to judge your conditioning is just to try a race or two. You'll find out pretty quickly whether you 'in shape' or not. Then you can make adjustments from there.

    Also, your bike handling skills will be just as important as being 'in shape'. So I would also practice mounts and dismounts, shouldering your bike, as well as obviously doing some off-road riding over varied terrain. Depending where you live, there might even be some cross clinics where you can get a little coaching.

    Most importantly, don't be too worried about your early results, just relax and enjoy it.

  9. #9
    Member quietglow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daveyboy View Post
    So you should probably consider adding some higher intensity interval work into your routine once or twice a week.
    Big ol' second to this. I was riding 200+ miles a week when I started cross practice a few weeks ago, lots of those miles around 20mph. My 1 hour cross sessions left me feeling like I'd done a hard century for a good while (okay, they still make me feel that way). The extended anaerobic pinging that cross does can totally eat your lunch when you're used to sustained lower efforts. Prepare by adding some intervals to get that fast-twitch muscle mass in shape.

  10. #10
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    you will be fine. I had about 5 months of mountain biking and 3 years of chain smoking under my belt when I started racing cross. I was dieing at the end of each race but eventually i was posting decent midpack finishes.

  11. #11
    Senior Member adamt's Avatar
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    thanks all! I appreciate the input. I'll be doing at least 2 of the local clinics before the season starts. I would guess a good effort for a month would be a good way to get myself kicked into shape for the first race.

    As long as I can go 40 minutes I think I will just consider that a win.

  12. #12
    Tiocfáidh ár Lá jfmckenna's Avatar
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    Beginners races are usually 30 minutes. And most cross racers use low cadence. You sound like you are in good enough shape to try it, any one is really. In the beginner field you will see lots of guys just out there to have fun and get a good work out.

  13. #13
    Master of the Universe Angus37's Avatar
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    The best way to know is to enter a race. If you finish well, you are in shape enough. If you finish last, then you probably aren't in good enough shape, unless it is a close finish. If you finish last, way behind everyone else, then you definitely aren't in racing shape.

    That is how you know.

  14. #14
    Senior Member MONGO!'s Avatar
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    You need more high intensity training, 1 min max effort 2 min rest then 2 min max effort 30 secs rest x3

    Being able to ride at 17mph for 90 mins in't going to help you in a cross race.

    Also learn how to get on and off the bike while it's moving.

  15. #15
    antisocialite dirtyphotons's Avatar
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    almost no one is really prepared for their first race. you might as well get yours over with.
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  16. #16
    painthawg painthawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtyphotons View Post
    almost no one is really prepared for their first race. you might as well get yours over with.
    I did my first race last night! It is somewhat of a training series to get folks ready for the real USAC races. It is exactly like Mark Twain says, "You will not regret it, if you live." I haven't hurt that much or had that much fun in a while. As has been mentioned, I wasn't prepared enough but by the third lap I started to develop a groove and the rest was just gutting it out until the timer popped. Apparently half hour cross races in Houston last for 54 minutes. Everything is bigger in Texas.

    Get out and do it. I think most would love it or hate it. I loved it.

  17. #17
    sweathogs kennykaos's Avatar
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    just do it, racing is more about having fun, esp in the beginner classes so just chill and hav a good time.

  18. #18
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    Do it!

    When I started racing (cross and road) a few years ago, my personal mantra was that I could do anything for an hour. So if I had a three hour road race, I'd suffer through two hours and then be very mentally prepared for the last hour. The hour mantra worked perfectly for cross, where most races are just around an hour. Think about all the other stupid stuff you do in an hour in your life. Wait in lines, sit on airplanes during flight delays, go to work, get stuck in traffic. An hour's like no time at all.
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  19. #19
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    It seems like just going to watch one would be pretty informative.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  20. #20
    Senior Member cam117's Avatar
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    Have you raced yet? Any updates? If not, go out and race.
    “The greater the suffering, the greater the pleasure. That is nature’s payback to riders for the homage they pay her by suffering...” -The Rider

  21. #21
    Spoke busting fat guy
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    I just did my first one last weekend. I got destroyed, and had a great time. I'm a bit large for racing, but I know how to have a good time and not take it personally. I got lapped & had to drop out w/ 2 laps left, but I can tell you that I gave it all I had. Cross racing for 40 minutes is like road riding for 4 hours...and then some.

    Nothing ventured....nothing sprained.

  22. #22
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    Rule of thumb if you puke before you die, then you're in good enough shape to race.

    Nothing prepares you for the intensity, it's best to go hit it, see what it feels like, then KNOW what you need to work on. Better, your body will have felt it and set itself up a notch.

  23. #23
    M_S
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    All Mod Cons M_S's Avatar
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    Well, I would say that cross country racing in high school prepped me pretty well for the intensity part of 'cross. That's 17-18 minutes (for me as a back- mid pack varsity runner) of fairly high intensity. A cross race is longer, and probably averages a lower physical intensity, however that is because on technical sections, etc, you'r enot putting out maximum effort because you have to focus on bike control. This is what makes riding more fun than running.

    I've never done any bike racing other than cyclocross and some short track MTB, so cyclocross actually feels pretty long to me. However if I came from Road or XC, or especially endurance MTB, that would be way different.

  24. #24
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    Just Race. Did my first one this past weekend and survived easily. I went out conservatively and ended up with each lap a bit faster than previous lap. Came in 41st out of 60 in the Cat 4 Beginners. (A Few Sandbaggers in there), but very cool to pass people on any lap.

    I had never done the dismount before the practice lap and it was easier than I thought. Right leg off, last second twist heel & dismount, run, then jump back on like you stole something.

    It's a blast.

  25. #25
    50000 Guatts of power 127.0.0.1's Avatar
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    just go to a race, pay up, line up, and pedal when they say go, and have a good ride.

    and if you finish, then you are all set for racing. there ain't no mystery.


    although. if every time you ride, you can reel in any other cyclist you see and stomp them
    and no one can ever pass you or stay ahead of you, no matter where you ride and what is
    happening...if you are 'd man!'...then you may be ready to race

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