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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 09-27-11, 07:15 AM   #1
bagxlee
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Really wanting to try cyclocross

I've really been considering signing up for my first cyclocross race.

I do know I like beer. And cowbells. And getting muddy.


Any advice would be awesome.

Last edited by bagxlee; 10-18-11 at 01:01 PM.
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Old 09-27-11, 08:12 AM   #2
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Just do it. The sooner you do your first race, the sooner you'll get started figuring this stuff out. Sign up for the earliest race of the day, show up about an hour ahead of time, get a one-day license, slap on a number, grip it, and rip it. Sure, you'll make a bunch of boneheaded newbie mistakes, but that's what cat 4 is all about.

Stick around and watch the more advanced racers, and you'll learn a lot.

http://www.ovcx.com/
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Old 09-27-11, 09:14 AM   #3
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Like flargle said, sign-up, pin-up and enjoy! I must warn you CX is more addictive than road racing.
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Old 09-27-11, 09:33 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by bagxlee View Post
I've really been considering signing up for my first cyclocross race. The thing is, I don't really know where to start. I've ridden for years, but mostly solo. I think I'm pretty fast but I have no idea if I'd be fast enough to race.

I do know I like beer. And cowbells. And getting muddy. ------ (1)

Is that all I need to know? --------------------------------------(2)

Also, I've got a Cross Check. Will that do the job? --------------(3)


Any advice would be awesome. --------------------------------(4)
(1) Good start.
(2) For now.
(3) Don't know what that is. Most likely... yes.
(4) Go early, there are no stupid questions (so don't be afraid to ask), save the beer until after your race.

(5) Everything flargle said.

Few riders I know of, don't fall in love with cross after their first race. Only one way to find out if you will be one of the few; I doubt it.

Good luck!
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Old 09-27-11, 09:45 AM   #5
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I was hooked after my first race. I am considering making it my primary cycling discipline.
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Old 09-27-11, 09:49 AM   #6
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I agree with everyone above. Just try it!

My first race, I did 1.5 laps before breaking a chain. But I've been hooked every since! Just give it a shot!
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Old 09-27-11, 10:55 AM   #7
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You are so far ahead of the game, I can't even tell you. The typical CX newbie is an out-of-shape 40-year-old wondering if he can race on his 20-year old touring bike (but he does like beer).

Seriously, a lot of people jump in without being fast at all (some of us have been doing it for four years and still aren't fast). A lot of people do their first race on mountain bikes or converted road/touring bikes. Your Cross Check will be great for starting out. You might question this as you line up next to an out-of-shape 41-year old with a full carbon bike with deep section carbon rims and tubular Dugasts (the guy above one year later), but the truth is a bike like that only makes a marginal difference and isn't nearly as important as fitness and skill, both of which you can develop while riding your Cross Check. When you just miss the podium because the Cross Check wasn't crisp enough in the turns, then you can look into carbon and tubulars.

Check out the "Tips for Newbies" thread in the CX racing subforum.
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Old 09-27-11, 11:12 AM   #8
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Do it.
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Old 09-27-11, 11:43 AM   #9
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You are so far ahead of the game, I can't even tell you. The typical CX newbie is an out-of-shape 40-year-old wondering if he can race on his 20-year old touring bike (but he does like beer).
Dude are you stalking me?

I have similar qualifications to bagxlee, apart from having no illusions about thinking I'm fast. I started by doing a local clinic, but you may also be able to find a practice race series (I know there's one near Dayton, but that's not particularly close)
I can also attest to being hooked after one race; had to sit out last weekend due to being sick, and I'm counting the minutes til Sunday at 11 right now.
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Old 09-27-11, 11:52 AM   #10
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Oh man. You guys are awesome. Looks like there's a race on Oct 8th just north of Indy. I think I'll go as a spectator for that one and see what I think.

Thanks for the tips!
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Old 09-27-11, 12:56 PM   #11
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I entered my first cross race this past Sunday after watching the 2010 version from the sidelines one year ago. The weather was a perfect sunny day and the two point seven kilometer coarse had no mud or sand. Some were saying the coarse was fast. The mandatory barriers were placed on a fairly steep hill just after an uphill left-hand turn and that was the only place I had to dismount and shoulder the bike. Forty-three started in my class, four DNFed and after five laps I finished 32nd, 5' 42" back of the winner, (but on the same lap). My legs were good but I had misplaced my lungs somewhere on the coarse. Do not let anyone tell you it isn't hard because if it isn't you are not going fast enough. The people are great and very helpful in pointing out where to go and what to do. The fans cheered me on and people I have not met before congratulated me on finishing the race. Truly a great bunch of folks and now I feel like a adoptee into a new family.
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Old 09-27-11, 01:11 PM   #12
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Oh man. You guys are awesome. Looks like there's a race on Oct 8th just north of Indy. I think I'll go as a spectator for that one and see what I think.

Thanks for the tips!
Bring your bike and your kit with you, and get there early. You can see others practicing and jump in on the practice. After doing a lap or two, you'll likely just register and race.

No sense in waiting, just jump in there and do it. It's really far less intimidating than road racing, especially when you see 10 year olds who are way faster than you (like I did).
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Old 09-27-11, 01:27 PM   #13
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Bring your bike and your kit with you, and get there early. You can see others practicing and jump in on the practice. After doing a lap or two, you'll likely just register and race.
Absolutely!


Quote:
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No sense in waiting, just jump in there and do it. It's really far less intimidating than road racing, especially when you see 10 year olds who are way faster than you (like I did).
Yeah, that can happen. A 12-year old won a beginner's race here a couple of weeks ago. His dad finished third, a minute and 10 seconds back. Later in the day the wunderkind finished 20th in the junior race (but first in his age group). A lot of these young kids are very fast.
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Old 09-27-11, 01:32 PM   #14
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Dude, just do it. The Cross-Check will be fine for the job, and it's hard not to love cyclocross. I just started this season, and was hesitant, but I really enjoyed my first race, and after my second one this past Sunday, I am probably addicted. I have another one coming up, and I cannot wait. Even if you don't like it, it's good to try out. I haven't heard of anyone try CX and not love it.
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Old 09-27-11, 02:08 PM   #15
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Don't go just to spectate. You will see out of shape people on old mtn bikes & wonder why you didn't race. Just do it.
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Old 09-27-11, 02:53 PM   #16
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go an race and then stick around to spectate. I would recommend getting there 1.5 hours ahead of the first race; 1 hour never seems to be enough
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Old 09-27-11, 03:24 PM   #17
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You are so far ahead of the game, I can't even tell you. The typical CX newbie is an out-of-shape 45-year-old wondering if he can race on his 8-year old CX/Commuter bike (but he does like beer).
Fixed that for me!
============================

First, as has been said and will surely be said again, just go enter a race and have fun. Bring a spare lung along just in case; I know I wish I had done that.

Second, good idea to go watch a race first. Hang out at the technical sections and watch how people handle barriers, run-ups, dismounts/remounts. Then find some place to practice what you saw. I surprised myself that these things were not as difficult to perform as I thought they would be, but without a little practice I am sure I would have crashed out.

Third, check your local area to see if any stores, clubs or race organizers hold clinics. I know of a couple in my area (but unfortunately work has kept me from attending).

Four, read the "tips of Newbies" that Andy_K mentioned. Also check YouTube for "how to" videos on the technical aspects.

Five, see picture below:

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Old 09-29-11, 10:56 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by flargle View Post
Just do it. The sooner you do your first race, the sooner you'll get started figuring this stuff out. Sign up for the earliest race of the day, show up about an hour ahead of time, get a one-day license, slap on a number, grip it, and rip it. Sure, you'll make a bunch of boneheaded newbie mistakes, but that's what cat 4 is all about.

Stick around and watch the more advanced racers, and you'll learn a lot.

http://www.ovcx.com/
Very good advice. And simple as that. Also realize: sicko-cross is stupidly addictive--I just started racing this season, and I NOW MUST FEED THE MONKEY. And he is a very hungry monkey, too. Just go have fun.

AND

For the love of GOD and all things psychocross, watch this video series (5 parts): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bdq2c...eature=related

Watch and pay attention to the methods of dismounting and mounting. Enjoy the music in the vids.
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Old 10-08-11, 06:39 AM   #19
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These are the things I did before my first cyclocross race ( and helped I think)
1) look up YouTube videos on how to dismount/mount and practice for an hour or so.
2) try lower air pressure in the tires, for better tranction
3) take off bottles, cages, and saddlebags, etc so that they don't get in your way during the race.
Cross check is an awesome bike as a starter.
CX is ridiculously fun (or painful, depending on the perspective), start as soon as you can.

Good luck!
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Old 10-08-11, 09:49 AM   #20
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There's a guy in our local series Beginners races who earned the nickname "Tractor" from the race announcers because he rode a Salsa Mukluk fatbike for his first two races (before opting for one of the Raleigh demo bikes in his 3rd race). Pretty sure you're gonna be OK on your Cross Check.
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Old 10-09-11, 10:55 AM   #21
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First thing I learned when I started racing cyclocross was how many people were fasting than me, lol. I decided to just go have fun and do the best I can. There are alot of people out there who wont race if they cant do well. Those people are losers.

Show up and throw up !!!
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Old 10-09-11, 04:14 PM   #22
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Just go and have fun....I raced my 1st last night and won my Category. It was sooo fun. Get there early and do a gradual workup on the course. I did a lap in my jeans and T shirt, just to get a feel, then got changed into my kit and started doing a lap. Stop for water, Clif Bar etc, do a few more laps. Then I did some hard efforts to get the heart going about 10 min prior to the start. The rest is history!!
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Old 10-09-11, 08:30 PM   #23
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I spectated a couple races before actually doing it. I wish I had just signed up and done it; I'd have 3 races under my belt instead of 1 now.

I don't know if it's possible to emphasize this enough: if all your bike riding is typically on pavement, riding on grass/mud will kick your ass. I spent lots of time practicing barrier technique (and yes I'm glad I can do a "proper" dismount/remount) but I needed to be working on cardio fitness. Do intervals. Ride as hard as you can until your lungs are screaming at you and you get tunnel vision and think you might pass out or vomit -- because that's what the race is like. I wasn't even trying to go fast, just trying to survive. I barely did.

I HATED every minute of my first race but somehow I'm disappointed I'm missing two weeks of races in a row and can't wait to try again. CX is weird like that.
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Old 10-10-11, 06:16 AM   #24
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I tried it first last month - first race I bailed early since I realized I was so stinking tired I was about to exchange the 5 crashes in the previous lap for a real live nasty one in the next lap. Had a blast. Finished 5/5 in beginners.

Following Tuesday, raced the same course - had a blast, and actually managed a bit of "race." Finished 14/15. Had a hard crash, got up laughing.

Never have done single track, mtn biking, etc. So the technical stuff is a real challenge for me. But DO IT!!! Beware, however - you will become addicted...
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Old 10-15-11, 09:36 AM   #25
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I think others have chimed in. CX is ridiculously fun and extremely additive. You will love it.

On a side note, the Cross Check was originally designed by Surly to be a Cyclocross frame to start with. So it should meet your specific needs. I would probably replace a few components, however... their stock component bikes is meant more for a wide variety of applications and not necessarily for CX. The bar end shifters, for example, is not very practical for CX applications.
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