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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 09-10-11, 10:43 PM   #1
david58
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First Cross Race Complete

First cross race, Psychocross in Eugene, Oregon.

I am a 53 year old Clyde, so I am a Beginner Fat Master.

The course was different than I had expected: very hard bumpy farm ground, fist-sized river rock salted through the course in densities from scattered to loose and deep, deep runs of loose road gravel, and a root-crossed run of rolling single track, and more.

Neither my bike nor my butt have experienced anything like this course, having done only road riding since purchasing the bike. This course was termed "technical" by one of my friends riding it - again, I've never ridden a mtn bike, and a mtn bike would have been prime for this course.

Didn't have mount/dismount mastered, so I deferred to a more stately removal and repositioning of my duff on the bike. Figgered I had enough to worry about just trying to remain vertical. In the end, a good decision.

Finally used up my allotment of crashes - the single track really was working on me. The roots conspired to teach me the concept of "airborne", and other subjects related to pedals and roots and how never the twain should meet. I et lotsa dirt...

Finished DFL, except for the gent that flatted both front and back and did a DNF (well, he was in a different division, but on the same heat, so I will claim a position ahead of DFL). Last doesn't hurt too bad.

Amazed by the encouragement of the other participants. Guys lapping me were nice enough to compliment my effort as they whizzed by (maybe they were calling me names and the wind noise of their passing made it seem complimentary...). A cute twenty-something caught me after the race to relate her three endos from the week before, and to encourage the old phardt to keep at it. Other folks were full of encouragement as well.

Over much of the fear (this was my first entry, willingly, in ANY kind of race in my life), now need to work on mounts and dismounts and some more technical off-road riding. And my fitness. Dang - I had NO IDEA how intense this is. I am finding sore spots on my bod that I didn't know existed until tonite.

So, all in all, a success. I'll likely go again on Tuesday evening, see if I can get a dismount and a mount added to the resume by then. If not, I'll get another night to work on handling my bike. I just hope they don't put me on that cussed single track stretch on the new course....
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Old 09-11-11, 12:10 AM   #2
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Con grats in order! What bike?
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Old 09-11-11, 12:27 AM   #3
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That sounds a lot like my first race (Heiser Farm 2008). I finished ninth out of ten beginners. One guy had a mechanical and so DNF. The other eight guys all lapped me at least once, including a guy who passed me in the last 100 yards while riding on a flat tire. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I probably never would have done it again if it hadn't been for the great encouragement of the other racers and the spectators.

You've got a great attitude about it, but your perspective is all wrong. You finished in the top five! Not many people get that on their race resume. Embrace it. Heck, if you had done the Clydesdale race, you could have been on the podium. (I believe there was only one Clyde.)

I was the guy who finished last in the Master C group (not counting the DNF). It was my second top ten finish. By comparison, I think my best race performance was at Alpenrose last year, where I finished 174th out of 212 Master C's. The eighth place finish today sounds a lot better.

BTW, be prepared for something completely different if you do a Cross Crusade race. There will be probably be at least a handful of people at about your same skill level and very possibly another bunch that can't keep up with you. You'll also be elbow-to-elbow with other people almost the entire race, which is both fun and scary.

That course today was definitely tricky. I never did figure out that rocky turn just as you looped back to the start or the transition from the gravel to that mound of loose dirt. I ended up dismounting and running the mound of loose dirt, and I think running probably would have been faster for the rocky turn. If there was a good line through those rocks, I couldn't find it.

Anyway, wait until the rain starts. You think you had a hard time keeping the bike upright today! Rocks and roots are at least predictable. Mud presents a whole other set of challenges. You never know what your bike is going to do. On the other hand, it hurts a lot less to crash in the mud.
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Old 09-11-11, 12:37 AM   #4
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You've got a great attitude about it, but your perspective is all wrong. You finished in the top five! Not many people get that on their race resume. Embrace it. Heck, if you had done the Clydesdale race, you could have been on the podium. (I believe there was only one Clyde.)
Thanks for the correction on perspective! LOL - if I had done Clyde I coulda been on the podium - you don't understand. At lap 4, I quit - was too tired and was teetering toward a REAL crash, had 4 or 5 dumps on that lap. But the scorer wouldn't let me off the course, since if I waited until the winner finished, I would be considered a finisher. I suppose then I could have been on the podium with just one lap! I think I like this game!

Wish we had connected there - I was the guy in the red jersey standing at the scorer's table the last couple laps. Dunno why I am still up typing this late, my tail is draggin...

Now off to the park in the morning to practice!
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Old 09-11-11, 12:38 AM   #5
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Con grats in order! What bike?
Fuji Cross Comp.
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Old 09-11-11, 12:42 AM   #6
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That course today was definitely tricky. I never did figure out that rocky turn just as you looped back to the start or the transition from the gravel to that mound of loose dirt. I ended up dismounting and running the mound of loose dirt, and I think running probably would have been faster for the rocky turn. If there was a good line through those rocks, I couldn't find it.
I dumped in that rock pile and on the mound the first practice lap. But managed to get thru the rock pile and stay vertical, tho one lap I did have to unclip and 'dab' once. That evil little mound of dust with the river rock salted in got me three times, but three times I got over it (counting practice). But it was the cussed single track that ate my tail - never had ridden such before, and managed airborne, snagged pedal, dropped chain, and probably poison oak on that section.

It was a blast.
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Old 09-11-11, 06:40 AM   #7
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Amazed by the encouragement of the other participants. Guys lapping me were nice enough to compliment my effort as they whizzed by (maybe they were calling me names and the wind noise of their passing made it seem complimentary...). A cute twenty-something caught me after the race to relate her three endos from the week before, and to encourage the old phardt to keep at it. Other folks were full of encouragement as well.
One reason why cross rules.

Don't get discouraged by this early-season "jungle cross". It's kind of like you were thrown in the deep end. But it does show the importance of training off-road!
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Old 09-11-11, 07:38 AM   #8
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Awesome! good for you! It sounds like you had fun. I decided to at the last minute to go to today's race on Bald Peak west of Portland. My goal for the first Crusade race was to finish above DFL, but for today's race, I may have to lower my expectations. Finishing is good. Having fun is better.

I'm really looking forward to it, but nervous about what to expect. I hope I can find people along the way to help guide me through the pre-race process.
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Old 09-11-11, 09:16 AM   #9
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Awesome! good for you! It sounds like you had fun. I decided to at the last minute to go to today's race on Bald Peak west of Portland. My goal for the first Crusade race was to finish above DFL, but for today's race, I may have to lower my expectations. Finishing is good. Having fun is better.

I'm really looking forward to it, but nervous about what to expect. I hope I can find people along the way to help guide me through the pre-race process.
Will be looking for an update tonite!

CXROTWU!

My morning report on the day after is that I have found the bruises that were hiding yesterday.....
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Old 09-11-11, 11:46 AM   #10
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If your body is more bruised then your ego, me thinks you are a cross racer.

Well done and glad you had fun.
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Old 09-11-11, 12:10 PM   #11
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Wish we had connected there - I was the guy in the red jersey standing at the scorer's table the last couple laps.
Did you see the guy who fell on his dismount just before the finish on the last lap? I was the guy right behind him, in the Water.org jersey. Say hello if you see me at a future race.

There's not much to be done for the singletrack stuff except practice. If there's someone right in front of you it can be helpful to ride where he rides. Otherwise, just stay off the brakes and fix your eyes where you want to go and not on the stuff you want to avoid.
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Old 09-11-11, 12:15 PM   #12
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Awesome! good for you! It sounds like you had fun. I decided to at the last minute to go to today's race on Bald Peak west of Portland. My goal for the first Crusade race was to finish above DFL, but for today's race, I may have to lower my expectations. Finishing is good. Having fun is better.
Ouch! Talk about being thrown in the deep end. Pain on the Peak is one of the toughest races I've been to. I did that race the last two years, and it crushes me.
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Old 09-11-11, 02:10 PM   #13
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Did you see the guy who fell on his dismount just before the finish on the last lap? I was the guy right behind him, in the Water.org jersey. Say hello if you see me at a future race.

There's not much to be done for the singletrack stuff except practice. If there's someone right in front of you it can be helpful to ride where he rides. Otherwise, just stay off the brakes and fix your eyes where you want to go and not on the stuff you want to avoid.
That kid ate it hard. Willamette valley clay in the summer is not what I'd wanna crash on like that.

I have some friends that mtn bike a lot. I hope to be able to get some riding with them - but the kind of trails they take me on will likely further define the level of friendship....

Got the dismounts nailed today. From having never done a moving dismount until about 6pm Friday, to today, they are really easy. Remounts are not working nearly as smooth. But baby steps....

Gonna be a couple of weeks before I can race again, probably back at Camp Harlow on Tues nites. But in between I will be working on that cussed remount and the single track.

Now if I could get my drift boat sold so I can afford a road bike, then my CX bike won't have all these split personality problems..
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Old 09-11-11, 04:35 PM   #14
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I'm back, and I'm sore! I had an absolute blast. I happened to run into a former co-worker who was the guy that planted the cross seed in my head. He was a marshal at the race and gave me much needed moral support. My son rang the hell out of his cowbell and between the two of them and the rest of the racers/fans, I had enough gas in the tank to not get lapped/pulled before the final lap.

I didn't have any problems with barriers, turns, or staying rightside up, but that isn't usually a problem when you are as slow as I am. I finished ahead of three finishers and 2 DNFs in a field of 17. All in all, I was very happy with my race, and I will say it again - I had a blast.

My problem was not the technical stuff at all, it was fitness. I sucked wind the whole race. My six mile commute is definitely not enough to prepare me for CX.
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Old 09-11-11, 06:03 PM   #15
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My problem was not the technical stuff at all, it was fitness. I sucked wind the whole race. My six mile commute is definitely not enough to prepare me for CX.
LOL! My 9 miler don't do it either!!!
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Old 09-12-11, 10:53 AM   #16
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I'm back, and I'm sore! I had an absolute blast. I happened to run into a former co-worker who was the guy that planted the cross seed in my head. He was a marshal at the race and gave me much needed moral support. My son rang the hell out of his cowbell and between the two of them and the rest of the racers/fans, I had enough gas in the tank to not get lapped/pulled before the final lap.

I didn't have any problems with barriers, turns, or staying rightside up, but that isn't usually a problem when you are as slow as I am. I finished ahead of three finishers and 2 DNFs in a field of 17. All in all, I was very happy with my race, and I will say it again - I had a blast.

My problem was not the technical stuff at all, it was fitness. I sucked wind the whole race. My six mile commute is definitely not enough to prepare me for CX.
That's pretty good. Congrats.

Pain on the Peak is usually a very hilly course, so I'm not at all surprised to hear that you sucked wind the whole race. I hear they changed it a little this year. The past two years it has been ridiculously dusty...like their was one barrier that if you were in a pack you just had to dismount when the guy in front of you dismounted because you couldn't see the barrier through the dust until you were right on top of it. Two years ago it wasn't very techincal at all. Last year, they added a gravel section that was a little challenging. Both times though, the dominant feature was the long steep climb/run-up that ensured you'd have no oxygen for the rest of the lap.
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Old 09-12-11, 11:40 AM   #17
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This thread makes me want to race. Inspiring story - quite different from the Road commentary I am so used to getting sucked into.
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Old 09-12-11, 12:26 PM   #18
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BTW, if you aren't familiar with PDX Cross, you should check them out. They've posted a gallery of shots from Sunday's race: http://www.pdxcross.com/blog/2011/9/...suffering.html

The upcoming courses at Hood River should be fun, but it's a long drive out there. Saturday looks to be flat and non-technical. The Sunday course will have a couple of sections of singletrack. Battle at Barlow the following week is one of my favorite races. And, of course, the Cross Crusade opener at Alpenrose is the quintessential cyclocross race. Definitely don't miss that one. Now if we could just get some rain...
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Old 09-12-11, 02:10 PM   #19
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BTW, if you aren't familiar with PDX Cross, you should check them out. They've posted a gallery of shots from Sunday's race: http://www.pdxcross.com/blog/2011/9/...suffering.html

The upcoming courses at Hood River should be fun, but it's a long drive out there. Saturday looks to be flat and non-technical. The Sunday course will have a couple of sections of singletrack. Battle at Barlow the following week is one of my favorite races. And, of course, the Cross Crusade opener at Alpenrose is the quintessential cyclocross race. Definitely don't miss that one. Now if we could just get some rain...
I'll check out PDX cross. I'm already signed up for Alpenrose, but I have plans for the next two weekends.
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Old 09-13-11, 05:57 PM   #20
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I'm 52 and 6'3" and 195 and used to do criteriums back in the 90's and did my first cross race this past weekend in PA. Did the Nittany Cross cat 1,2,3,4 race. We had a whole different surface to deal with.




Didn't get any chance to practice mounts dismounts and portage because of crappy east coast weather (I know excuses, excuses) I met my goals though, don't crash and finish even though I finished DFL not sure if there were any DNF's. Over the years I've been riding i have done double centurys in 12 hours in 100 degree heat, rainy crappy weather 50 degree hilly centurys and all other manner of self abuse but the hour I spent on my Fuji was the toughest thing I've ever done on a bike and I loved it.

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Old 09-13-11, 06:59 PM   #21
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I'm 52 and 6'3" and 195 and used to do criteriums back in the 90's and did my first cross race this past weekend in PA. Did the Nittany Cross cat 1,2,3,4 race. We had a whole different surface to deal with.




Didn't get any chance to practice mounts dismounts and portage because of crappy east coast weather (I know excuses, excuses) I met my goals though, don't crash and finish even though I finished DFL not sure if there were any DNF's. Over the years I've been riding i have done double centurys in 12 hours in 100 degree heat, rainy crappy weather 50 degree hilly centurys and all other manner of self abuse but the hour I spent on my Fuji was the toughest thing I've ever done on a bike and I loved it.
Nittany was a muddy mess I was in cat 4 as my first race of any type. I did discover why carbon is not as popular in cross; after the first trip through the mud pit everybody's bike weighs the same.
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Old 09-13-11, 10:13 PM   #22
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Second Race today

Completed my second race today, part of the twilight series in Eugene OR on the same track as my first experience on Saturday.

A TOTAL blast. Have progressed from mere survival to actually a small bit of race being mixed into my day today. Actually dismounted cross-style at every barrier, tho the remount was a bit more stately. Less wear on the brake pads, more pedaling less coasting, and actually passed some folks even tho I had a chain drop and a HARD crash in the gravel (now I have my road rash badge ).

Only a 30 minute race, but I managed to peel 2 minutes off my lap time from Saturday and actually managed to go fast in some stretches. Boy, this CX stuff is fun!

The crash was pretty funny - the dust is so thick on the ground that when I hit everything I could see was just "tan." As the dust settled, I could start to see again, but had to laugh at the comedic picture. But I still haven't figured out how I could hit the ground that hard on my left side, and my RIGHT side is sore and bruised.

I thought I was hooked on Saturday. I am totally addicted after tonite. Still don't want the rain coming too soon so I can finish out my road riding goals, but CX Crusade in Portland is calling my name. Methinks I will be registering for Alpenrose in a few minutes, and the Psychocross series is fully blocked in on the calendar.
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Old 09-14-11, 09:01 AM   #23
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That's awesome, David! Nice work.
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Old 09-15-11, 02:57 PM   #24
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LOL! My 9 miler don't do it either!!!

DAMN! I thought my 9 miler was good enough too. I guess I have to make it round trip, 15? Don't want to be gasping for air within the first lap.
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Old 09-15-11, 08:52 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by david58 View Post
Completed my second race today, part of the twilight series in Eugene OR on the same track as my first experience on Saturday.

A TOTAL blast. Have progressed from mere survival to actually a small bit of race being mixed into my day today. Actually dismounted cross-style at every barrier, tho the remount was a bit more stately. Less wear on the brake pads, more pedaling less coasting, and actually passed some folks even tho I had a chain drop and a HARD crash in the gravel (now I have my road rash badge ).

Only a 30 minute race, but I managed to peel 2 minutes off my lap time from Saturday and actually managed to go fast in some stretches. Boy, this CX stuff is fun!

The crash was pretty funny - the dust is so thick on the ground that when I hit everything I could see was just "tan." As the dust settled, I could start to see again, but had to laugh at the comedic picture. But I still haven't figured out how I could hit the ground that hard on my left side, and my RIGHT side is sore and bruised.

I thought I was hooked on Saturday. I am totally addicted after tonite. Still don't want the rain coming too soon so I can finish out my road riding goals, but CX Crusade in Portland is calling my name. Methinks I will be registering for Alpenrose in a few minutes, and the Psychocross series is fully blocked in on the calendar.


Now me knows you are a cross racer.

Enjoy, my joy starts in two weeks.
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