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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 11-15-10, 01:35 PM   #1
dnfcx
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I have the engine, but none of the skills...

Cyclocross:
I have the engine, but none of the skills...

Looking to do short track next year(http://www.portlandracing.com/index.html) to improve my abysmal off road skills.

Should I just I do this on my cx bike? Or would a low end 29er be the ticket?
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Old 11-15-10, 02:12 PM   #2
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Funny, I have the reverse of your problem.

I started out on the PDXSTXC series this year. It was a lot of fun. It is pretty rough on the CX bike so don't expect to win. I used both my CX and my MTB in the STXC series. I found it was really good for imporving skills and being in the racing environment. You can also try taking your CX bike on some single track trails in the spring, Lewis River trail is a good one.

my opinion is use the bike you plan on racing.
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Old 11-15-10, 02:30 PM   #3
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You're going to learn the skills in the dirt regardless. But if you plan on racing cross, you would do well to learn the skinny-tire, non-suspension, sometimes-off-and-run skills that you'll get by trying your cross bike on the mtb path.

But if you just want one more (don't we all?), a 26er is more what you're looking for--a bit more agility, a little less "roll over the sum*****". Plus, less trendy...so probably cheaper on the used market.
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Old 11-15-10, 03:26 PM   #4
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I'm lacking in both engine and skills. I did the STXC stuff this year, and it did help a lot with the skills. Plus, it was a ton of fun. I will say, I don't think it helped my skills as much as the CX clinics I went to at Alpenrose -- we practiced a lot of off-camber and 180 degree turns, which is much more typical of what you see in CX than the average STXC race. Definitely do the STXC though. It's worth doing just for its own sake. But I digress....

I did the STXC races this year on a full-rigid 29er with drop bars and 29x2.1 tires. I figured this would be sort of like a CX bike, but a bit more forgiving. It wasn't a bad choice for the races at PIR, but when I used it at Westview and Sherwood, it beat the crap out of me. The other problem I had was that my 29er weighs about 30 poounds and I don't think the extra cushion of the tires was worth the weight penalty.

I'm still trying to figure out what bike to use for the short track races next year. I've considered putting some 700x42 knobbies on my Cross Check, which would be a lot like what I did last year but with a much lighter bike. I'm also toying with the idea of using an '89 Rockhopper I've been tinkering with -- I think I can get it down to about 22 pounds with modern parts, but it'll still be fully rigid.

If you're doing this just to build skills for CX, then I think using your CX bike is the way to go. The thing is, if you decide you want to do well in the short track races, a CX bike really isn't the best choice. I'm not sure a rigid mountain bike is much better, but cheap mountain bikes are so heavy.....
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Old 11-15-10, 03:44 PM   #5
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Get a mountain bike. You will not regret it, if you live.
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Old 11-15-10, 03:55 PM   #6
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Well played Flargle.
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Old 11-15-10, 09:35 PM   #7
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Get a mountain bike. You will not regret it, if you live.
I see what you did there.
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Old 11-16-10, 12:22 PM   #8
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Andy, I ran 42 speedmaxes in STXC last year on my CX and it was fine. I think next year I will stick with my Hutchenson Pirahana's for STXC as I like th feel of the tires better. Plus if you watch bonktown you can pick them up for pretty cheap.
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Old 11-16-10, 07:01 PM   #9
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give me serpentine courses with plenty of mini-obstacles, runups...yeah, technical. flat, long courses for the power-bred kill me.

i hate east coast grass (phelps!), but the flat nature of the recent (and new) kutztown race was very slinky with many acute angles and was one of the first races i was able to duel it out with a couple of guys and actually (finally) beat 'em!
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Old 11-17-10, 02:53 AM   #10
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I had the same problem you do LAST year. Bike handling is learned faster than fitness is gained. I lost my fitness this last year and while I don't crash so much anymore, I can't keep up this year. 4th overall in the Crusade last year in Clydes', to 19th this year.

Do the PIR Short Track on your cross bike. I did. It was great practice for Sherwood. Best practice for CX though is rding in the wet grass and mud. Tight corners, off camber, etc. Short track is too dry to get the right kind of practice in.
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Old 11-19-10, 03:51 PM   #11
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thanks for your help all.

Ill be rolling the short track on the major jake next year. Im not there to win, just ride. My goal is just to not get in anybody's way...

Also - I cant think of a better time in the NW to actually use a non mud tire...


to those in PDX on cx bikes - we should all pick a group to ride with at PIR and just hang off the back for the first 30 seconds or so - have our own mini cx race. now that would be fun...
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Old 11-19-10, 04:50 PM   #12
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to those in PDX on cx bikes - we should all pick a group to ride with at PIR and just hang off the back for the first 30 seconds or so - have our own mini cx race. now that would be fun...
That would be fun. We could even try to talk Kris into starting a official category for CX bikes.
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Old 11-20-10, 02:14 AM   #13
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That would be fun. We could even try to talk Kris into starting a official category for CX bikes.
I'm guessing the schedule is too tight. Besides, the MTBers might get testy. I think they put extra bumps in this yer on the back flat part outside the fence just to discourage non-suspension forks.
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Old 11-20-10, 03:39 PM   #14
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Cross bikes are much more difficult to handle than a mountain bike. Just the way it is. If you've ever done any MTB riding before, that will definitely help - I did my first cross race a couple of weeks ago and felt like I did okay on the handling, mostly - but situations that wouldn't make you blink on a mountain bike are really scary on a cross bike. They just don't turn nearly as well, and the skinny tires and weight distribution make fast off-camber turns the stuff of nightmares. I think the only solution is to keep riding and find out what works best.
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Old 11-22-10, 11:39 PM   #15
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I think the only solution is to keep riding and find out what works best.
+1
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Old 11-25-10, 11:02 AM   #16
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I ran the ST series on an MTB. I couldn't imagine hitting those jumps at speed on a C-X bike. But then again, I am a M/X rider at heart.

But check out the finishers in some of the top categories. Plenty of dudes on C-X bikes finishing well or winning races. Flat bar C-X bikes seems to do very well.


Once again proving, its the motor, not the bike.

-Z
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Old 11-26-10, 01:45 AM   #17
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its the motor, not the bike.
+8(on it's side)
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