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First race questions

Old 08-11-13, 01:45 PM
  #1  
rms13
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First race questions

My local CX series is kicking off the last weekend in September and I am hoping to race in the C or Master B (35+). It will be my first race of any kind and I just want to do it for fun and see if I like it.

1. I only have one cross bike, my daily rider Cross Check. I'm not so worried about messing it up because I have a second bike I can use to get to work on Monday (a fixed gear track bike). But it seems like having a pit crew with a second bike during the race is basically a requirement. If I just race with my one bike should I expect to not finish because I brake something or is it just going to slow me down compared to people with two bikes?

2. They have a preview day on Saturday. I am assuming this would be a great idea to get on the track the day before for a test ride but honestly it will be hard to convince the wife to spend 2 whole days at a CX event so I don't know how possible it is. If I skip the preview am I screwed? Or is it possible to just take the first couple of laps slow and learn the track on the fly?
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Old 08-11-13, 02:14 PM
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the podium 3 may have a team and 2 bikes , but certainly the typical Duffers dont expect to finish with the top 3.


when Portland folks had a race weekend, Out Here, they used the County Fairgrounds.
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Old 08-12-13, 10:26 AM
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Don't know about your region, but in mine the guys in the Masters categories are FAST! As a beginner, you'll have your best experience running with the other beginners.

Here in the southeast, Cat 5 racers rarely have pit bikes. If your bike breaks early, you simply DNF. If it breaks late, you just run it the last lap (or two). Unless conditions are really bad, bikes don't break down that often. A pinch flat is the most likely failure, so a spare wheelset in the pits can be handy even as a beginner.

You can usually pre-ride the track the day of the race if you get there before the first wave starts. Around here, there are usually opportunities to run a lap or two between waves as well. Assuming you're not in the first wave, you can learn a lot just by watching the races for the other categories.
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Old 08-12-13, 10:40 AM
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I rarely see back up bikes. Back up wheels, of course, but hardly ever a whole bike. It's certainly not a requirement.

My advice would be to show up early, ride a few laps before the start, do the C race and have fun.
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Old 08-12-13, 11:37 AM
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ditto on the St Louis series . . . a Cat 5/ C racer who showed up with a pit bike and crew would be on the receiving end of some major heckling! Maybe the pro/ Cat 1/ UCI guys have a pit bike with their girlfriend manning the pit. A cyclocross bike should not break during even the most difficult race; that's why they build them more sturdy than a road bike; if it does, I'd get your money back.

Pit wheelset is a good idea, however; as stated above, pinch flats will occur with clinchers, nice to salvage a race if you flat on the first lap.

Arriving a day early to preview the course is something for nationals. your regular garden variety race, you can learn the course on the first lap, and have fun getting faster and faster each lap. for us mid-pack racers, racing the course is as much fun as racing the competitors. !
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Old 08-12-13, 12:43 PM
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I agree with the rest. Go out and do the C race and don't worry about a pit bike or a pit crew. In SoCal I doubt you would need either. It's only when it's really muddy that something like comes into play and only if you are a pro. Just go out there like the rest of us weekend warriors and race what you brought.

Edit: Don't over think it for the first few races and if someone offers you a beer hand up...take it.
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Old 08-12-13, 01:49 PM
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My 2 cents -- first, I assume you're talking about the SoCal Cross series. I did some of the races 2 seasons ago and plan on doing more/most this season. As for a pit bike, seems like overkill to me. I raced in the C class and don't remember seeing anything more than extra wheels for the hard core people. I'm not one of them. As for Masters, my friend/riding buddy rode Masters last year in SoCal and got shelled every race. He's a strong road biker and former racer. In the C class the year before, he was in the top half. In Masters, he was close to DFL. Totally up to you, but for me, it's nice to have someone to race with.

As for showing up the day before, not necessary. If things are done the way they have been in the past with SoCal CX, the course is open to pre-ride on race day and you can check it out. The "don't overthing it" advice above was my mantra when I did the CX races.
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Old 08-12-13, 10:56 PM
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I agree with the Don't over think this advice. Just get there a little early on race day to pre-ride the course and to warm up. If you have a spare wheelset that would be good to throw in the pit. That way if you flat, can salvage your race.
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Old 08-13-13, 05:44 PM
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Thanks for the advice. I will just show up and do the C race and have fun.
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Old 08-13-13, 09:30 PM
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Good luck. I'm hoping to run my first race in October myself.
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Old 08-14-13, 08:09 PM
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Originally Posted by rms13 View Post
I will just show up and do the C race and have fun.
... and don't forget to come back after you race and tell us how it went.

Last edited by 1242Vintage; 08-14-13 at 08:10 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old 08-20-13, 08:06 AM
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It always good to preview a course, but you can do that on your warm up. Make sure you get an hour ride in the day before to warm up the muscles.
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Old 08-23-13, 10:25 AM
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I'll pile on. Don't over think your first race. Just go out there a bit early, ride a few laps (also serves as you warm-up!) and have fun!
If you have a spare wheelset, maybe stick them in the pit area. But don't sweat it if you don't. To quote a t-shirt from Hodala, "My pit bike is a 6 pack."

Los
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Old 08-23-13, 01:39 PM
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Forget the pit crew / bike. Only CAT 1's and pro's do that. Also, if even if you flat, by the time you ran your bike a mile or more to the pit area to change a tire (or even get on a new bike) you will miss the race. Just go for it, have fun, and if you flat, or mess up your bike where you can't ride it (very rare) - then so be it; get 'em next time.
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Old 08-23-13, 10:05 PM
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I've flatted about 1/3 of the through a lap and had to run the other 2/3 plus another 100m to reach the pit. It sucked, but I got a lot of cheering and encouragement. It's all good fun.
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Old 08-26-13, 12:11 AM
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If you're talking about the Sept 28-29 weekend for SoCal, I'm pretty sure that's a full race day each day. There is usually a short beginner clinic first thing in the morning.
If you are not already, try to join a local training group. Check out Facebook group for SoCal Cross for clinics and training groups.
If you've got spare wheels, bring 'em. If not, don't worry.
Have fun!
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