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  1. #1
    Seņor Member 4Rings6Stars's Avatar
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    Interested in doing my first cross race this fall. Any suggestions (I'm in Boston)

    I say my first cross race, but this will be my first race of any kind on a bicycle. This is my first year doing anything on a bike other than riding to and from school/work and I'm really starting to get into it.

    Last month I did the D2R2 and attempted the 112 mile (15000 ft. + of climbing) version but was only able to finish 92 (~11,000 ft climbing) as I got lost and had a very sore knee..but mainly because I didn't train enough.

    Anyway, I would like to try a cross race this fall to see if it is something I want to get into. Anybody know of any local (weekend) races where a noob such as myself could enter? Any suggestions on training/preparing for the ride? I did some searching and it looks like most (all?) rides show Cat 4 as the lowest experience level...

    I'll be using this bike: Raleigh Team Cross. I have a triple on there (from the ride mentioned above) but could also ride it as a 1 x 9.

  2. #2
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    It turns out that there's very little overlap between the bike skills for riding a century and the bike skills for cyclocross. And 15000 feet of climbing? My knees get sore just reading that!

    Any Cat 4 race should be fine. The thing you'll probably find is that a Cat 4 race will have a bunch of guys who are so much faster than you that you are ashamed to be in the race, a bunch of guys who are faster than you but who you can still see as you go around the course and a decent number of guys who are about your speed. Or you may be in one of the first two groups I mentioned.

    Anyway, don't worry about it. Go out there and have fun and the slower you are the more people will cheer for you and give you encouragement. Really, cross is the perfect discipline to break into bike racing. The thing to do is pedal until you think you're going to puke, and then try to hold on for another lap or two. If you don't expect to win, challenging yourself to finish can be a lot of fun.

    Read the "tips for newbies" thread in the CX racing subforum and you'll be able to avoid most of the common rookie mistakes.

    As for training, I think the first thing to do is figure out your lactate threshhold. Basically, it's the hardest effort you can maintain for 60 minutes or so. It's easiest to find this rate with a heart rate monitor and on a stationary trainer, but you can wing it based on perceived rate of exertion. Once you know your lactate threshhold, go out and ride 45 minutes to an hour as close to that effort as you can two or three times a week.

    You'll hear a lot of people talk about doing intervals for CX training, but until you have your aerobic base established intervals probably aren't worth the pain. Running will help a lot getting your aerboic fitness up in a hurry if this is a particular weakness for you, but if you aren't a runner be sure to ease into it.

    Above all, whatever you do, don't wait until you think you've trained enough before you do your first race. You'll never do a race that way. Just sign up for the earliest race you can and do what you can to get ready for it. No matter how long you train, you'll never be fit enough not to suffer miserably during the race. Everybody suffers. It's what we love about cyclocross.

  3. #3
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    Show up, purchase a one-day license, and do the cat 4 race.

  4. #4
    Seņor Member 4Rings6Stars's Avatar
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    @ Andy_K: Thanks that's good advice. By no means do I plan on going out there and winning, I just want to have fun, get a taste of racing, and get my a$$ kicked for 45 minutes or so.

    @ flargle: I can do that? I know nothing about racing and my brief research made me think I needed to be certified/qualified or something as a Cat 4 in order to do a Cat 4 race.

    Is it true that I can just show up, buy a license and do a Cat 4 race?

    Thanks guys.

  5. #5
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4Rings6Stars View Post
    Is it true that I can just show up, buy a license and do a Cat 4 race?
    Yes.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4Rings6Stars View Post
    @ flargle: I can do that? I know nothing about racing and my brief research made me think I needed to be certified/qualified or something as a Cat 4 in order to do a Cat 4 race.

    Is it true that I can just show up, buy a license and do a Cat 4 race?
    Well you should double-check the flyer and, if necessary, the race director, but every race I've gone to offers one-day licenses for a nominal fee (usually $10). Look at this for example:
    http://www.fastalracing.com/greenmountaincx.pdf

  7. #7
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    I would recommend attending a cross clinic of some type before jumping into a race. It's nice to know how to dismount, clear a barrier, and remount efficiently. It makes the experience more enjoyable, but it's not mandatory.

    Don't worry about your fitness level. Just go out there, work hard, have fun, and try not to crash into people.

    By the way, your bike is kick-ass. I covet that frame.

  8. #8
    Seņor Member 4Rings6Stars's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lunacycle View Post
    I would recommend attending a cross clinic of some type before jumping into a race. It's nice to know how to dismount, clear a barrier, and remount efficiently. It makes the experience more enjoyable, but it's not mandatory.

    Don't worry about your fitness level. Just go out there, work hard, have fun, and try not to crash into people.

    By the way, your bike is kick-ass. I covet that frame.
    Thanks for the clinic recommendation. If I can't find one around here I'll at least check out a video or two on technique.

    I got a killer deal on the bike used...but haven't found anything out about the frame. I know I love it but I didn't know if it was considered (by the cycling/cx world) to be any good. I don't even have any idea how much it might have cost new. Only mention I have found is in the 05 catalog but that shows a slightly different paint scheme...

    The combo of the carbon stays and forks makes for a really smooth ride on rough roads (compared to my all steel and Ti + cf fork rides). This bike has never seen a cross race but has seen many, many miles on unpaved roads.

  9. #9
    I like beans eippo1's Avatar
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    Wheelworks in Belmont is doing a 2nd cross clinic on Sept 25th at 9 am. Wayne Cunningham is the main teacher for this and he's awesome.
    You got it buddy: the large print giveth, and the small print taketh away

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  10. #10
    Senior Member bluenote157's Avatar
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    I dont know if you can enter this or purchase a license for the day... but regardless.. thought you might be interested..

    http://www.gpgloucester.com/

  11. #11
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    MRC does a cross clinic in Wrentham on Wednesdays in Sept. I also heard of a group who also do clinics in Andover on Wednesdays

  12. #12
    Senior Member TourDeHood's Avatar
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    *2013 Bump*

    Clinics, shops, places to ride...

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