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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 09-11-10, 07:55 PM   #1
adam_mac84
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2nd place in first C class cross race... lessons learned (long post about my race)

Like everyone says, you have a finite amount of 'matches' to burn. I learned this full force in my first cycling race of any kind.

I started in the back of the field of about 25 (and 1 tandem) at the start. Was nervous, and didn't know what to expect. Long straight and into the first barriers near the start/finish. Lap one begins, i find myself in about 8th after the shuffling out over the barriers etc.

Jogging around the park, and up and over a barrier run up hill on to a paved straight before another technical section. HOLY CRAP i am in 4th place. Sprint around 3rd on a short straight and come into the barriers at start/finish in third.

At this point on lap 2, it's the leader, then the TANDEM (later found out one of the guys came down from the A's, and they were SMOOOTH, so fast on remount). Nothing eventful, but got a draft from the tandem and we got around leader, i am now in second. Made my pass for the lead, clean through the barriers.

Lead laps 3 and 4. Here is where the matches come into play. Lap 4 on the paved section, i tried to open up a gap on the tandem, but they must have seen, and i got nothing out of my effort (except for being tired). Through the barriers at the end of lap 4, i was gassed.

About 400m into lap 5 the tandem got me. I figured, heck, i will just pace them in the technicals and runups, and draft/pass on the paved section (bout 1/4 mile). Well, by that point, i just didn't have it in me, and they really pushed it on the flats, opened up about 40m gap on me.

By the final runups i was about 10m behind the lead tandem, and they crossed the line about 15 feet in front of me for a dissappointing second. The crowd was screaming for me to beat the tandem (probably because they knew how embarassed the rest of us SHOULD be if they won haha).

Learned:

Maybe it is better to save a bit for the end, especially if there is a battle for the lead, and i know that i have particular skills to open up or pass an opponent. In this case, it was the technical sections and twisty turns.

Shift early for turns/barriers. Did this about 50% of the time

It's better to dismount too early than too late (i was able to do this consistently as i was quite nervous after going right through a barrier at wednesday's practice).


Seeking advice on strategy. Do you guys just go all out and let the cards fall where they will, or do you have strategy for cross? I lapped my 'teammate' (dad) at the end of lap 4, and had 1/2 of a mind to have him block the tandem through the barriers haha, but couldn't bring myself to do it.

Thanks for listening
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Old 09-11-10, 08:54 PM   #2
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Based on your descriptions of the course, the race and your other posts noting the weather and that you were doing a tri today, was this the Kisscross race in West MI? If so, I was there too (7th place) (and if not, that's a lot of coincidences). Anyway, if it was the same race, I obviously don't really have any advice to give you, but as this was my first race too today, gotta say it does seem like if one can save some energy till the end, that's when you can really do a lot of damage, since everyone seems to be pretty tired by that point.
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Old 09-11-10, 08:59 PM   #3
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yes, it was kisscross... good to see that there are some other W. Michigan folks out there on these boards. Are you racing tomorrow? I don't really have any idea what were getting ourselves into with this cross stuff... but i do know that i felt like i was going to puke blood, and could barely walk at the end... from what i hear that means you're doing it right
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Old 09-11-10, 09:07 PM   #4
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Yep, I plan to be there, again. I can't say I was about to puke blood, but that was definitely one of the most intense riding experiences I've done. I'm so glad I did done what little training I did.
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Old 09-11-10, 09:09 PM   #5
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I'm on a white/black/silver Spec. Tricross, by the way. I was also the guy doing lefty dismounts... sorry if you or your dad were the guy who bumped into me during the first lap (I was afraid that would happen, but luckily it didn't seem to affect either of us much).
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Old 09-11-10, 09:17 PM   #6
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I don't think it was me, but i am sure whoever it was is cool with it. I am guessing us C class guys are a little more careful (apologetic) about bumping than those higher level dudes. Ill look for you tomorrow. If i am not racing, i will be watching for sure. If im watchin, i'll try to grab a few pics for ya, i will have my camera with me.
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Old 09-12-10, 08:11 PM   #7
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Well, I beat that dang tandem today in the sunday race.... only because they mis-counted their laps and pulled off a lap early. haha, at that point they had me by about 50m, i was gassed.

So, my resume now consists of 2 C races, both about 25-30 minutes, 2 2nd places (the race coordinators shoot for 30 min for C). The next class (B/Masters) runs 45 minutes, we ran 5 laps (about 4.5miles total), they ran 11. When would you guys recommend moving up a class? I know my fitness will hold me back as i am nearly bleeding out my eyes when i finished the C races this weekend. Should I move up a class, or keep working on my skills in the C. I can only race 3-4 weekends this year because i have ankle surgery this october.
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Old 09-12-10, 08:31 PM   #8
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30min for men? wtf? our noob men groups are all 40min
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Old 09-13-10, 10:49 PM   #9
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I say congrats and keep at it, all of you. Very cool.
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Old 09-14-10, 05:51 AM   #10
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Dunno if you saw the site, but you and the other top finishers have all been asked to move up anyway. Congrats and have fun in the Bs.
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Old 09-14-10, 12:43 PM   #11
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You placed second in your first two races? Yeah, you belong in the B's. You'll suffer more, but I bet you'll get more satisfaction from killing yourself to finish mid-pack in the B's, then you would winning the C race.
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Old 09-15-10, 06:33 PM   #12
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Yea, i guess i will be moving up to the B's. I had no idea what to expect in the C's, so I entered twice... It'll be quite a jump to nearly double the amount of laps... I am sure i'll be road kill haha
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Old 09-16-10, 12:36 PM   #13
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The fitness levels are all over the map in the B race. I'm sure you'll do fine. Just don't get suckered in to going out too fast too soon. Fight for a good position before the first bottle-neck, set your pace, and start picking riders off one by one. A lot of them will be dropping like flies later in the race.
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