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First cross race coming - Questions

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First cross race coming - Questions

Old 08-29-11, 12:43 PM
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First cross race coming - Questions

Stats:
  • 52 years old
  • Clyde
  • Beginner
  • Riding avidly since April
  • Riding about 400-450 miles per month

First races of the season start in the next week or so. I realize that I should ride in the Beginner class, I've seen too many fast and skilled Clydes and 50+ riders.

Trouble is, my mount/dismount skills are awful. I am not real flexible, and even getting my leg over the seat can be an effort if I have one foot on terrafirma.

I plan to race for fun - hoping to do most of the Portland Cross Crusade series. Am attracted to the goofy, muddy, heartpounding fun it appears to be.

Is just going out and doing "normal" street-style mounts and dismounts ok? I mean, will I just be simply hampering my standing, or will I be a danger to others (beyond the normal daily hazards I create). I realize that I am a rookie at riding in a crowd, so I plan to basically stay toward the back of the pack until it strings out - I figger I get to crash, I just don't want to invite others to the party.

Your wisdom, please?
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Old 08-29-11, 02:01 PM
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I don't know if it qualifies as wisdom per se, but dismounting, portaging, and remounting are part of the sport. You don't have to be super-graceful to put together a workable remount; you might not want to use your nicest saddle while learning, however. At least get your cowboy-style remount working.
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Old 08-29-11, 05:35 PM
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I do a flying remount. (You can see it in my little picture over there) I also have a cushy saddle. Just practice your remounts a lot at slow then faster speed on a grassy surface until you get better. Practice when you are tired, then you won't blow it late in a race.

I've seen people stop the bike, throw the leg over, then click in and start riding, in the beginner's you will be fine. Just try to avoid the dreaded double hop on the left foot. Whenever I do that I swerve left. Swerving in front of someone esle remounting or remounted...it sucks a bit. And you feel a little stupid. Trust me on this, I speak from personal experience.
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Old 08-29-11, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by mr.smith.pdx
Just try to avoid the dreaded double hop on the left foot. Whenever I do that I swerve left. Swerving in front of someone esle remounting or remounted...it sucks a bit. And you feel a little stupid. Trust me on this, I speak from personal experience.
x2. My flying remount is not appreciably faster than the stabbing foot... but to eliminate the pull left is more than worth the multitude of smooshed nutz that i underwent learning
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Old 08-29-11, 09:18 PM
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The best way to handle this is to get to a skills clinic. You might think you just can't do a mount/remount, but there's a good chance that someone experienced can help figure out a way for you to do it. There's a UEF clinic at Alpenrose on Tuesday nights. The schedule says they're going to work on mounts/dismounts next week, but you may want to contact Russell Cree at UEF to see what's really going on. They're five weeks in already, but last year there were new people showing up nearly every week so they just kept a separate newbie group.

Scott Mares is also doing clinics on Thursday nights in the Mt. Tabor area, but they aren't on the schedule. He posted something on the OBRA mailing list. See: https://obra.org/posts/obra/show/77927

If all else fails, post something to the OBRA mailing list and see if anyone is willing to join you for an impromptu practice session. I'd be surprised if someone isn't willing to give you some pointers.

There are usually at least a few people in every beginners race who struggle with dismounts/remounts and that's definitely OK in that group, but you look really cool if you can do it, and it's not as hard as it seems.
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Old 08-29-11, 11:08 PM
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Sadly, the Alpenrose clinics are just too far for me to make during the week. I suppose this weekend I may take the bike to a local park that is well-watered (meaning soft ground) and trying mounts and dismounts there. Maybe to reduce the fear of foolishness, I might just clean up after the dogs and use my back yard a bit. Now there's an idea - kid is out of town, wife working, so only the dogs can laugh....

'Course, my wife works at a hospital. Would be REALLY bad to visit her at work....
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Old 08-30-11, 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted by david58
I plan to race for fun
Then you got nothing to worry about. And chances are you will see other new racers in the same boat as you. One other tip of advice I have besides of course practice is to watch the pro race. After your race remember what spots on the course gave you the most problems and watch the pro's go through them. Watch on many different angles. Also if you really want to improve your fitness and skills do both the cat 4 race and the Masters race. If you are worried about interfering with the masters then just start off the back and let the race go. But doubling up is a great way to improve. I do the masters race as my A race then I do the cat 1/2 race just for fitness.
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Old 08-30-11, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by david58
Maybe to reduce the fear of foolishness, I might just clean up after the dogs and use my back yard a bit.
You really don't need much room to work on your remounts. And, you know, just try to get over yourself as far as embarrassment is concerned.

Start sloooooowly, i.e., from a standstill. Then very gradually work up to a walk, then a slow jog, then a run. If you find yourself stutterstepping, go back to square 1 and start over. Prepare to bend your saddle and bruise your inner thigh; it's a rite of passage. Also, keep in mind that your arms should be supporting a fair amount of your weight during the remount, this makes it much smoother.

Last edited by flargle; 08-30-11 at 09:11 AM.
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Old 08-30-11, 09:40 AM
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CX Magazine just did a great video about remounts.

https://www.cxmagazine.com/newbie-new...mounting-video
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Old 08-30-11, 11:02 AM
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There was a guy at the Midsummer Night's CX last month who came to a full stop at the barricades, dismounted, shouldered his bike and carried over the barricades, then plunked it down and remounted at a full stop.
You're not going to finish podium with that technique, but if you're out to have fun and play in the mud without concern for where you place, then go for it (and maybe practice faster dis/remount technique in your spare time).

If the PDX Crusade has a beginner's class, do a race there first to get an idea of what to expect before jumping into the Cat-X races. I did 1 beginner's class before signing up for the MFG series as a Cat-4 35+. I know there's a lot of really fast guys in that class; a bunch of dudes who used to race Cat-2 when they were in their early 20s, took some time off for career and family, and now they've got the time to get back into it again. I'm prolly gonna get thrashed all season long, but I'll have fun doing it.
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Old 09-02-11, 11:32 AM
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David, if you're still around....I just came across this article today and thought about your post. It might be helpful.

https://www.cxmagazine.com/training-f...unts-no-injury
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Old 09-02-11, 12:56 PM
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Practice, practice, practice. Watch some vids and go at it slow in your backyard or local park or whatever.

Not to scare you, but... There are no slow classes at the crosscrusade anymore. Its gotten all very big and popular. If you can race Masters or 50+, whatever, go there. The pack is much more understanding and less stupid than Beginner class. I race Master and appreciate being with guys that have to go to work the next day. It can be rocket fast as pointed out above, but more chill.

Have Fun...

- Z
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Old 09-02-11, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by DinoShepherd
Practice, practice, practice. Watch some vids and go at it slow in your backyard or local park or whatever.

Not to scare you, but... There are no slow classes at the crosscrusade anymore. Its gotten all very big and popular. If you can race Masters or 50+, whatever, go there. The pack is much more understanding and less stupid than Beginner class. I race Master and appreciate being with guys that have to go to work the next day. It can be rocket fast as pointed out above, but more chill.

Have Fun...

- Z
Used to referee soccer, and when I did indoor I HATED the over40 division - a bunch of whiners that thought they were as good as they wish they had been when young. I hope it's different in 'cross....

I plan to do Psychocross in Eugene next Saturday to give it my first try, and will be doing some practicing. But if beginners can't tolerate racing with beginners, well they can fly it out their whatever. I plan to have fun, as a beginner and then maybe later as a Master or 50+.

And I realize my mounts and dismounts will be slow - and I will likely kick my own ass most of the time, and will never see the podium. But as long as I am not DFL (meaning I beat somebody!) and don't get hurt, it will be a success.
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Old 09-02-11, 10:45 PM
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In no particular order:

- If you finish the race, you won't be DFL.
- The whole Crusade vibe is great. Very happy and family friendly.
- The Master's class is particularly chill for racing. The front of the pack is FAST. But the talent spread is very broad. So you don't need to worry about that.
- There aren't usually many rider caused crashes, but it is much less frequent with the older classes than beginner.

Funny, you should mention over 40 soccer. The last street fight I was in... You guessed it. Had a guy take a swing at me over a slide tackle...
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Old 09-10-11, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by david58
I plan to do Psychocross in Eugene next Saturday to give it my first try...
So did you make it out to the race? How did it go?
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