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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 09-18-09, 11:35 AM   #1
arcellus
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Practice course ideas

Training for my first season of 'cross has been going pretty well, but I'm looking for some ideas to throw in, specifically in the realm of setting up my own little practice course at a local park.

What I've done so far is a short route that takes maybe 4 minutes to ride which includes a section of trail, some open grass, a fairly long & steep runup, and two practice barriers. I think I'll also add some cones to practice some quick 180 turns, both on and off the bike.

Anything else I should try? Put the barriers at the top of the runup, then at the bottom.. maybe on an off-camber spot.. basically anything to make riding the course a b**ch, right?

Thanks for any ideas.
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Old 09-18-09, 01:12 PM   #2
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I like the idea of putting barriers at the bottom of a hill, this would make things difficult for me. I road with a couple guys last weekend that set something like this up, and we road across a sandy volleyball court - pretty fun and you have to pedal like crazy to get across.
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Old 09-18-09, 01:21 PM   #3
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yeah i think that would be the toughest - you can semi-recover coasting down the hill but the barrier forces you to break your rhythm, no coasting onto the subsequent flat section.

maybe: runup, remount & ride short section, back down the hill to 180 turn then a quick barrier, onto the flat
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Old 09-18-09, 01:43 PM   #4
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Take a sharp turn before the run-up. This is the way they had the practice course set up at Alpenrose this week. There was also a section with a path running along the top of the slope where the run-up is and then went off the path just long enough to go around a tree at the top of the slope.

Definitely work in some off camber turns. Put the barriers together if you aren't already. You'll have a six-pack to deal with once the Crusade comes around. Try riding part way up your run up and then dismounting.

Of course, it would help it you could saturate your whole practice course with water.

Are you coming out to Hood River this weekend? That'll be good practice. The Blind Date at the Dairy series looks good for this too, and it's even on the site of one of the Crusade races.
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Old 09-18-09, 01:53 PM   #5
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Good idea with the tree on the slope.. I'll try that.

I won't be at Hood River, but I'm planning on at least a couple of the Blind Date races.
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Old 09-18-09, 01:55 PM   #6
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definintely 180s and off cambers
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Old 09-21-09, 08:29 AM   #7
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Yesterday at my race they had a 180 off camber to the left with a barrier right after the turn, then a small hill about 10 yards from there. After my race I watched the pro's at this spot and they for the most part did what I did with a couple of exceptions. A couple guys unclipped their right foot, stayed in their left pedal around the turn with their left hand on the left hood, after the run they unclipped the left foot, dismounted, jumped over barrier, remounted. It looked sweet and was good because they were closely bunched at this tight spot for the most part and this technique didn't take a lot of space and a lot of passing seemed to take place here. One guy, the guy that was at the front for the most part and I think won it, took the corner wide and bunny-hopped it every time.
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Old 09-21-09, 02:05 PM   #8
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The slick, off-camber stuff is what kicks my butt (or lands me on it). Toss in a tight turn and you've got the stuff I struggle with. I have wanted to find a good practice course as well, but finding somewhere that you can tear up in the mud is a trick. This is not an easy sport on the landscaping.

See you at the races.
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Old 09-30-09, 11:29 AM   #9
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I would agree with all these posts. I think something that has really helped me get faster on the course are shorter really hard efforts. Hot laps are always good but working in 4-6 really hard 30-60 second all out efforts with turns and sprints will help you with your quick acceleration and in time you will notice you can do this periodically in the race and drop people coming out of turns.
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